This week, at a refurbished camp for oil and gas workers, the Department of Homeland Security officially opened a new detention center for women and children who cross the southern U.S. border. In DHS director Jeh Johnson’s view, this is a move to prevent people from crossing the border at all. He wants to stem the tide of “illegal migration,” and he believes that detention is one means to do so. “Frankly, we want to send a message that our border is not open to illegal migration, and if you come here, you should not expect to simply be released,” said Johnson. Let’s look at the positive side for a moment.
When the ICE agents left, Francisco Aguirre’s supporters called Augustana Lutheran. The church had been preparing for years to take the call.
On election day, the Republicans will keep the House, the Democrats may lose the Senate, and 1,000 more immigrants will be deported.
The Catholics and the Southern Baptists have joined others in calling for a compassionate response to the unaccompanied minors from Central America. Russell Moore of the SBC has even signed a letter (pdf) explicitly opposing changes to the 2008 law that currently prevents such children from being summarily deported. Most Americans agree, including majorities of both Republicans and white evangelicals. Yet Congress went on recess without doing anything about this.
Instead of seeking the ability to deport Central American children faster, Obama should treat this situation as the refugee crisis it is.
"I went to college," the man said. "I got one more year, then I go over there and start working."
Taking in refugees, giving asylum—these are things that generous people from a better place do for helpless people from a worse place. But we aren’t actually better.
Last week, evangelical congregations across America began screening a documentary called The Stranger: Immigration, Scripture and the American Dream, produced by a group called the Evangelical Immigration Table. Among EIT's advocates are a host of uncommon bedfellows: Mathew Staver of the Liberty University School of Law and Jim Wallis of Sojourners, Leith Anderson of the National Association of Evangelicals and Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, and popular pastors Max Lucado and Wilfredo de Jesús. Immigration reform has attracted such a spectrum of advocates that it shows how it is a fortuitous issue for American Protestants.
In our political climate, security enjoys a peculiar status: it’s an absolute priority, subject to little scrutiny or cost-benefit analysis.