Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Arguments For Immigration

I stumbled upon a website, ldsliberty.com, that does a decent job discussing important political issues in light of the restored Gospel.  Some of their ideas are a bit radical, most are fundamentally libertarian (as far as I understand libertarianism), and I'm finding I'm agreeing more than disagreeing on a lot of issues.  Up until listening to their arguments against anti-immigration laws, I resolutely followed the conservative mindset that we need to ship all the "illegals" back and lock down our borders.  I think I'm starting to lean the opposite way now.  I'll present their arguments as best I can, but you may make more sense of it all if you listen to the 30 min. podcast.
  1. Borders exist for legal and sovereign purposes, the border between the US and Mexico should be as easy  and inviting to cross as the border between Utah and Nevada.  God is the sovereign of our country and it is ultimately he that has a say as to who stays and who doesn't (as evidenced with the Jaredites and Nephites).  When we take it upon us to eject people looking for a better life (you'll get criminals crossing either way you set the laws) we are acting more Nationalistic and less Christian.  This constitutional republic was established for the building up of Zion, not for the benefit of a limited group of people.
  2. What about immigrants coming over and stealing our jobs, working for lower rates than we would work? LDSLiberty.com said that this is the wrong question to be asked.  The fact that we label people who enter our country without the proper papers as "illegals" is the problem.  This label berates our brothers and sisters in other countries as lower class people, creating a type of class warfare.  We want productive people in this country, and the majority of those who cross come here to work.  Why put restrictions on businesses being able to hire whoever will work for them at a competitive rate?
  3. The immigrants are draining our resources, they're filling up our emergency rooms, overrunning our educational institutions, etc.!  Why not just encourage them to contribute more to society in order to take advantage of the benefits of living here?  Who's worse: those who enslave an uneducated people coming here for a better life or those actually put on the dole?  Isn't it more evil for us to be offering the dole in the first place?  Are we actually defending our socialistic programs in wanting to stop immigration?  Americans are as guilty or more guilty of living of the government dole.  Socialism seems to be the main reason we don't want immigrants here.
  4. Constitutional Article 4.4 states that we have the right to protect ourselves from invasion.  The only reason to consider immigrants invaders is that we label them as "illegals." 
  5. Helaman 6:8-9 Both the Nephites and Lamanites benefited from "free intercourse", they were able to enrich each others cultures/lives
  6. But they're trespassing!  Again, this is Nationalism, us vs. them.  We are just stewards over this land, it all really belongs to God.  Are we setting our country up as a light to the world by espousing Nationalism?  Patriotism is a good thing, Nationalism is a twisted offshoot of Patriotism and is wrong.
  7. But so many thousands/millions are entering each year!  Does the U.S. have a max # of people it can hold?  What would happen if we were to approach that "limit" on our own?  Would we have to put a cap on child bearing?
  8. Immigrants add to our economy too, they purchase products here, there is not a finite amount of resources.  The Lord declares that if we take care of the earth there will be "enough and to spare."
  9. Immigrants contribute to our culture and we contribute to theirs.  By pushing them out to the edge of society, labeling them "illegals", we force them to band together against us and retain their culture.  Our cultures could be enriched by theirs if we were more allowing of them.  Otherwise we create a culture of fear, separation, us vs. them.
  10. Some people in the church criticize the fact that the church does nothing to inquire about immigration status, and we'll even baptize them and accept them into our community.  This is particularly dangerous in that we are putting Nationalism above our Christianity.  The purpose of this life is to return to Heavenly Father, not defend a country that is temporary in nature.
Just to be clear, I don't support fully each of these ideas (at the time of this writing), I just found them interesting and very persuasive.  I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on the topic.

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