“To deport or not to deport – that is the question.” Many Americans have applauded Arizona for taking the lead in the growing crisis of illegal immigration. Others have argued that the SB 1070 is unconstitutional and a federal responsibility. Some think that illegals are a drain on the economy and welfare; others contend that they take jobs no one wants for cheap labor, which keeps costs low for the rest of us. There are those who feel that it was about time the government stepped in to protect American jobs; others are afraid that check points are the first steps to a police state and more government control of our lives. Some point out that unlawful entry is a threat to national security; others believe that the law will tear families apart. The issue is too complicated for me to resolve here. Instead, here is my advice to my fellow immigrants.

  1. Try to see it from the other side: It is true that the majority of illegal immigrants come because of desperation to feed their children and loved ones. At the same time our nation cannot ignore the fact that as many as 12 million people are living unlawfully within our borders and hundreds are trying to break the law across the border every day. As Benjamin Rush (one of the founding fathers) wrote “(W)here there is no law, there is no liberty; and nothing deserves the name of law but that which is certain and universal in its operation upon all the members of the community.” We need a solution that will uphold the law without tearing families apart. I agree with Richard Land (President of Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Southern Baptist Convention) that “the Arizona law is a symptom, not a solution.”
  2. It’s time to fly the American flag: It is true that many immigrants are more grateful to be here than those born and raised in America. One of the greatest moments in my life was when I took the oath to become the citizen of this great nation. We have many service men and women in our armed forces that are of immigrant background. We chose this nation over our birth nation. As Dinesh D’Souza remarks “For what is the immigrant doing but voting with his feet – in the most dramatic way possible – against his culture and in favor of a new culture?” Nevertheless, there are those who complain and criticize everything about America. If it was so good back there, why did you come here? As Teddy Roosevelt wrote in a letter: There can be no divided allegiance here. . . We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language, for we intend to see that the crucible turns our people out as Americans, of American nationality, and not as dwellers in a polyglot boarding-house; and we have room for but one soul loyalty, and that is loyalty to the American people.” America has a great culture and heritage. It’s time to join in.

My prayer is first and foremost that our leaders will remain strong in upholding the law and defending its citizens against foreign threat. Second, we will always remember Deuteronomy 10:19 “Therefore love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” As Tony Blair, former British prime minister, once said, “For all their faults and all nations have them, the US are a force for good . . . I sometimes think it is a good rule of thumb to ask of a country: are people trying to get into it or out of it? It’s not a bad guide to what sort of country it is.”

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