Written February 19, 2008     

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Do those who oppose illegal immigration lack Christian compassion?

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© 2016 Bob Lonsberry


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When you counsel someone to be compassionate, you make an assumption.

It is an assumption of moral superiority. You presume that they are, in fact, not already compassionate. You presume that their position is inherently one that lacks caring and human concern but that your position, on the other hand, is somehow morally superior and enlightened.

And that's a pretty arrogant thing to do.

Because in presuming that others disagree with you because of some lack of intellect, understanding or humanity on their part, you run the very large risk of doing exactly what you accuse them of doing. You end up condemning people whose motives you fail to understand.

I'm talking about illegal immigration.

Specifically, I'm talking about the assertion that those who oppose illegal immigration somehow lack compassion, that they fail to see the human element of the issue, that they lose sight of the fact that illegal aliens are children of God, that if they only knew an illegal alien and his family their view on the issue would change.

I think that viewpoint represents both arrogance and ignorance. Specifically, it represents a failure to understand the people who oppose illegal immigration.

So let me explain.

People who oppose illegal immigration don't hate illegal aliens, they love America. And they understand America and its reliance on constitutional order and the rule of law. They know that liberty is rooted in and protected by law. They know that it is the moral duty of all Americans to uphold the law. In fact, they join with Abraham Lincoln in declaring obedience to law our “national religion.”

People who oppose illegal immigration have no objection to immigration, but they can never accept “illegal” as a way of doing things in this country. The Lord said that his house is a “house of order,” and so must the affairs of this nation be. Unchallenged illegality – of any nature – is a threat to our Constitution and – consequently – to our country.

When the laws do not matter, then the Congress that passed them does not matter and the executive who supposedly enforces them does not matter and the courts that interpret them do not matter and our entire Republic does not matter. When the laws do not matter, our Constitution twists in the wind, dangling by a thread.

It is the duty of Americans to defend the Constitution.

It is the duty of Americans to defend the law.

It is the duty of Americans to demand the enforcement of law.

It is traitorous of Americans to countenance, encourage, facilitate, induce or ignore the breaking of law.

People who oppose illegal immigration are not being bad Christians, they are being good Americans.

The law may change, we have a system for that, and the people through their representatives may choose new laws. But until that time, there is no excuse for ignoring, disobeying or skirting current law. Abraham Lincoln, again, in discussing the cursed Dred Scott decision said that though it was a noxious piece of case law, which he would never quit working to overturn, he was duty bound to obey it until it was changed.

That is the duty of any American.

Further, it is a false principle to assert that compassion is done through government action. Compassion is an individual virtue, chooseable and expressable by individuals. A society can only be compassionate as the consequence of individual choices in the aggregate. Governments cannot have compassion, they can only exercise compulsion.

Compassion is the choice of one person to feel and give credence to the feelings of another. It is an act of moral agency. Governments – which regulate such things as illegal immigration – cannot have compassion. They can engage in generosity, or pass laws favorable to a group of people, but they can only do so by compelling that “generosity” from others.

To extend a benefit to illegal aliens, for example – like in-state tuition or free health care – the government must use compulsion to tax its citizens in order to pay for those benefits. And that's not compassion, that's socialism. Individuals do not use their agency to benefit illegal aliens, the government uses its power to take from one group the money it proposes to give to another group. That concept has been attacked for two hundred years by defenders of our Constitution.

It is also a false premise to assert that giving benefits to illegal aliens is compassionate. It is, rather, broadly hurtful. There are some 12 million illegal aliens in this country. There are almost 300 million citizens and legal visitors or immigrants. That means roughly 4 percent of our population is here illegally.

Is it compassionate, then, to damage the interests of 96 percent of the people in order to facilitate the interests of 4 percent of the people?

Is endangering the institutions, law, governmental stability and prosperity of 96 percent truly compassionate? Isn't it actually hurtful? Doesn't continuing to ignore illegal immigration – and rejecting efforts to curtail it – show a stunning lack of compassion for the interests of some 300 million people?

It is not compassion to take food from your children's mouth and give it to your neighbors, it is betrayal of your children.

And finally, accommodating illegal aliens in this country shows a lack of compassion to their compatriots in their home countries. When soft-hearted politicians give more benefits to illegal aliens, they provide an incentive for illegal immigration – they make the choice to come here all the more tempting for people in other countries.

And that draws people into the decidedly dangerous and exploitative process that smuggles people into this country and houses them in our communities. When a state's generous treatment of illegal aliens convinces a family to come north across the desert, and that family faces tragedy at the hands of either the weather or of an unscrupulous smuggler, that compassion has actually been a curse. It has not helped these people, it has hurt them.

If you give a panhandler money, you are not showing him compassion, you are causing him and society problems.

The duty of an American is clear, it has been explained by every true leader since George Washington. If you don't like a law, you work to change the law – you don't encourage the ignoring of it.

That is a true principle.

That is a foundation of our Republic.

A man who encourages the ignoring of our law is not a friend to us, our freedom or our country. A man who encourages the violation of law in the name of compassion understands neither law nor compassion.

Yes, illegal aliens are children of God. Yes, we are to love our neighbor as ourselves. But defense of our country, our home, our families, our liberty and our law is also a divine principle and commandment.

All we ask of immigrants is that they do what we do: Obey the law.

All we say to those who condemn us for lacking compassion is: You don't know us or what this country is about.

We are Americans. We defend the Constitution and we uphold the rule of law. We welcome all who come here legally.

And we will not silently suffer those who do otherwise.

Many of us once swore an oath of enlistment or commissioning that obligated us for the rest of our lives to “uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

We intend to keep that oath.

Even if the domestic enemies we face point the self-righteous finger of condemnation at us.

- by Bob Lonsberry © 2008

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