Tag Archives: xenophobia

Rightly Ordered Loves, Part 4: Love and Immigration: Hospitality and Security are Possible

The immigration history of the USA includes much prejudice and xenophobia, punctuated by moments of hope and inclusion. During the height of Ellis Island’s embrace of millions (1880s-1910s), Chinese immigrants in California were imprisoned, oppressed, and subject to severe restrictions if they did manage legal status. Heartening narratives of religious and social freedom are unfortunately concomitant with nativism and racism. Maryland was founded in the mid-17th century as a Roman Catholic refuge. By the 1840s, there were anti-Catholic riots in response to the influx of Irish survivors of the potato famine in their homeland. The open doors of the late 19th and early 20th century became the sealed gates of the 1920s to 1940s, with Jewish emigres severely restricted at the height of the Nazi genocide.

Legislation in the 1960s opened the floodgates, with a confusing array of regulations that allowed an influx of students, workers (temporary and permanent), and refugees. At present, some have to wait years for a pathway to citizenship while “undocumented” residents, DACA recipients and others are the recipients of much favor and financial support. The US-Mexico border and adjacent facilities are overwhelmed with people. On the political front, both parties want a steady stream of new arrivals for their economic and political purposes. A large majority of American citizens want reasonable regulation joined with compassion. When the President details the lawbreaking and subversive activities of some at the border, he and his supporters are vilified in the name of compassion. The deep concerns of many concerning racism and oppression of the poor must not be dismissed. Neither party has placed legislation before the White House that ensures hospitable and secure pathways.

Leaving aside the extremes of racial nativism and complete open borders, there are ways forward involving principled compromise…if love is understood properly. Open borders in the name of compassion may involve a loving attitude, but agape love looks at the long-term and will foster equal justice for all. Borders and citizenship are positive principles for a society built on personal virtue and the rule of law. Reasonable security is not the absence of love and regulating the influx of new residents is not the opposite of compassion, but stewardship of resources and institutions.

Agape love can transform the current debate by unmasking the motives and methods of current policies. Families should be kept together and given reasonable time to be heard. But thorough vetting will protect the nation from criminal elements. Agape love is sometimes “tough love” that avoids creating generations of welfare dependents and residents that refuse any assimilation into the values and vision of a pluralistic society. Agape love considers all facets of social flourishing and fosters structures of inclusion and wisdom. Agape love also helps people make friends across cultural divides and offers uniting virtues that help citizenship be unity-in-diversity.

Immigration reform is not an unsolvable problem, if unselfish love guides policy. Alas, greed and power often overtake true love. Future generations deserve better, as we welcome people from every corner of our world to help our nation flourish.

“Solving” Immigration

USA immigration history is full of draconian and hospitable seasons. Our Statue of Liberty represents the best in our history as Ellis Island welcomed millions willing to brave the journey, go through the vetting and find a new home in a new nation. We have also had horrific seasons of xenophobia and racial injustice, from the suffering of the Irish in the 1840s to the anti-Chinese laws on the West Coast in the 1890s to the anti-Semitism of the 1920s -1940s. Dark chapters indeed. With huge borders with Canada and Mexico and relative economic prosperity from the end of WWII to the 1970s, comprehensive policies were not needed, and many found their way to flourishing.

With the open-door policies initiated in the 1960s and never refined since, we have crises of capacity and compassion, economics and social cohesion. People from nations other than Mexico or who are not officially refugees and follow the rules sacrifice much as they wade through the red tape and often pay thousands of dollars to get legal residency and eventually citizenship. Meanwhile, millions of “undocumented” pour over the border, use our services and find work. Billions of dollars are sent back over the border. Most folks are hard-working and want a better future. Some are felons and need permanent deportation. A few use our porous border to infiltrate as terrorists.

The solution comes in three steps: First, real reform that solves the genuine hardship issues of DACA and refugees, while allowing for screening out terrorists. Pathways for temporary work and long-term residency and citizenship need clear guidelines, fair application and a hospitable spirit. Reform must also not favor foreign students for college dollars and the undocumented for entry-level labor. Second, border security and ICE enforcement must be unimpeded by the misguided and sometimes hostile sanctuary movement. Third, current undocumented and temporary residents who are repeated violent felons should be deported and security personnel alerted to any attempts at reentry.

The above can be done in a matter of weeks with courage and wisdom; however, Democrats must stop vying for cheap votes and Republicans for cheap labor. Both parties are responsible for the mess and it will take people of conscience and intelligence in both parties for reform to work. Security on our borders and screening some from a handful of countries is not racism and xenophobia. Favoring the productive is good common sense and national policy.

Finally, a word to the compassionate: reasonable guidelines and enforcement of the law is not a violation of either the Bible of human pathos. If one feel certain laws are unjust – change the laws! Extreme positions of groups like La Raza must be rejected in favor of inclusion with integrity and a refusal to exchange one form of racism for another.

“Dear Mr. President” A Response to Terrorism in Paris November 2015

Dear Mr. President,
We are afraid and angry, wounded by Paris and trying to deal with evil.
We need non-partisan, statesman like reassurance rooted in moral and political strength, not contemptuous dismissal of political opponents or declarations that concerned citizens are without compassion.

Sir,
We need to see genuine empathy for suffering Buddhists, Christians, Jews, Yazidis and other non-Jihadi dissidents. Please open our doors to these populations and use your office to demand Iranian release of prisoners and an end to Islamist persecution.

When tragedy occurs we need responsive action, not annoyance and deflection. 
I want to believe that you mean well, but your actions in the past days are cause for grave concern. 
A few drone strikes, changing language from “contained” to “on the run” and vilifying opponents is unhelpful. Strong action in concert with allies is the order of the day. Reasonable security screening and a call for Muslim states to receive refugees are reasonable ideas, not xenophobia.

Finally, Mr. President, I have historical news for you: life does not conform to ideological narratives. You and your advisors are so enamored with your anti-West, post-colonial, globalist visions that you refuse to confront the evils of radical Islam. These terrorists are not victims of the West and “frustrated” by “economic injustice.” These are followers of demonic extremism that enjoy engendering fear and they will not stop until their totalitarian vision is realized or sufficient moral and military force brings defeat.

By the way, in your “evolution” on marriage, please note that there is only one Middle East location where LGBTQIA folks are safe: Tel Aviv. 
There are enough people of conscience of all faiths or none that will unite to secure the liberties we enjoy.

So what must be done?

First, you must declare that freedom of conscience and religion is the first freedom and the foundation for all others. Your must unequivocally repudiate any attempts to impose Islamicist rule in pluralistic societies with concomitantly challenging all Muslim nations top demonstrate compassion and greater liberty for minority populations. Ironically, Gadhafi and Assad were (and are) dictators, but they allowed greater religious liberty than many of our “allies.”

Second, you must partner with European and Middle Eastern allies and even Russia to seek and destroy all IS locations and those of their allies. Yes, concern for civilians must be paramount, but not paralyzing.

Third, you must use all your power to protect non-Islamic religious communities and help them defend themselves and if needed, come to the USA. It is criminal to deport Christians and welcome a flood of infiltrated Muslims.

Fourth, use your final year in office to build broad consensus instead of fighting more ideological/political battles in the name of your legacy. History will be much kinder to you join with all political factions and build coalitions for domestic and international compassion and justice.

I hope and pray you listen to the best voices of conscience and humbly receive these and similar words of wisdom. Millions pray for you, whether they agree with your policies of principles. Will you thank us by listening?

Time to lead.