Amnesty is not immigration reform

As appeared in the Sept. 9, 2013 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Everyone should favor reforming our nation’s broken immigration policies. It all depends on how you define “reform.”
Some religious leaders including Atlanta’s Roman Catholic Archbishop Wilton Gregory define it as granting amnesty— immediate legal status and a path to citizenship— to 12 million-plus illegal immigrants. Roman Catholics are being told by their bishops that it is somehow a moral imperative to bestow amnesty and citizenship, despite the inherent immorality of denying scarce jobs to poor or unemployed Americans and opening them up to invasive foreigners. Some religious open border proponents even cite God’s command to the ancient Israelites to treat “strangers’ as natives and to love them as themselves.
Remember, though, that approximately 22 million Americans are unemployed. The Senate bill that the archbishop favors allows a whopping 30 million illegals to attain legal status in the next decade, which will result in increased unemployment and the lowering of wages. The teenage unemployment rate, for example, is already at an all-time high thanks to illegals stealing their jobs. Catholic elites are woefully out of touch when they overlook that amnesty harms vulnerable Americans. (Catholic parishioners, on the other hand, prefer traditional national sovereignty; according to a 2009 Zogby poll 64 percent preferred enforcement over amnesty.)
The archbishop admits that U.S. bishops “have advocated for comprehensive immigration reform (their code word for amnesty) for the past two decades.” That means they supported the one-time 1986 congressional amnesty but now want more! Could it be because the bishops know that drawing more Latin American illegals here will fill pews and collection plates? They are new recruits. Yet rewarding lawbreakers with a path to citizenship is still an immoral slap at those immigrants who came here legally to become permanent residents, learned English, assimilated into our mainstream culture and ultimately became citizens.
Those advocating amnesty as ordained by their Gospel of St. Trendy conveniently ignore that, throughout the Old Testament, it was God’s plan for ancient Israel to maintain its national integrity. When the Israelites went against this design by diluting her character with that of surrounding nations, God’s wrath came down on her. Is there really a parallel between the “strangers” of ancient times and those in this country who have snuck across our borders, used fake identification, cheated on taxes, used public services intended for citizens, taken jobs Americans wanted and committed violent crimes? To suggest we welcome such people and give them citizenship on the basis of vague biblical “morality” or “justice” is to ignore the balance of obligations in Old Testament law. There is no suggestion in the Bible that people didn’t deserve punishment when they broke laws.
Real “reform” means enhanced border and internal enforcement, fixing the exit-entry visa system so we know who enters and leaves (to assist in thwarting terrorists like the Boston bombers) and streamlining our guest worker programs so that, if no American is displaced, a temporary foreign employee can fill the job.
Christians are taught to pray for wisdom and discernment, which consists of determining what works best in life. Another mass amnesty coupled with no appropriated money for systemic reform or enforcement, which is the heart of the flawed Senate bill, is not wise reform. Furthermore, we should not expect foreigners to respect our laws if we don’t respect them ourselves.