Watch this series of short videos about the Evangelical Immigration Table project:
Read this short booklet “Thinking Biblically about Immigrants and Immigration Reform.”
Finally, watch the forty-minute documentary about the issue of illegal immigration in the United States, found here:
You are a legislative staffer working on Capitol Hill for a prominent Evangelical congresswoman. She is well known for her thoughtful religious views and her rational, reasoned approach to leading her party on divisive and controversial issues.
You open your in-box to find the following note from her:
Dear (insert your name here):
I’m thinking about advancing some new legislation in Congress in regard to the immigration crisis. I’m having trouble, however, figuring out what I think is the best approach – particularly from a Christian perspective. I know that as a Christian I should have compassion for the immigrant and the stranger, yet at the same time, I know that many immigrants are in fact breaking US laws.
Please write me a policy memo.
here is some useful guidance on what I’m looking for: https://educationalequity.org/sites/default/files/documents/best_practices_-_policy_memo.pdf)
Draft a 2500-word memo using the following headings, which addresses these issues:
1 – SUMMARY – summarize the issues raised here in as concise a manner as possible (150 words max!)
2 – CITIZENSHIP: Here, I want you to tell me —
How should our heavenly citizenship dictate the way we view and treat immigrants in our churches? How about in our schools and communities? (I seem to remember something about Thomas Aquinas and the City of God and the City of Man but I’m not really sure how it relates to immigration. Perhaps you can clarify this for me.)
3 – STEWARDSHIP:
I’m having trouble sorting out what I owe my law abiding, tax paying constituents and what I owe people who may live in my district as undocumented citizens. Can you help me to understand these issues:
How does Jesus respond when he is asked, “Who is my neighbor?”
How does his response inform how we view immigrants?
Is Nationalism a Biblical Concept?
Where does it come from, and come one support being a nation and also support border security? What do you think?
Is border security a Biblical Concept?
How does military force and security relate to the Bible anyway?
4 – ECONOMICS:
Are there any BENEFITS to crafting a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants – to our nation, to my constituents, to those who wish to come to the US?
Should I care about these economic issues as a Christian congress person? Why or why not?
5 – RULE OF LAW:
I know that many of these immigrants have broken US laws (and I think there are some specific examples of this in the documentary). Describe some of the legal issues which immigrants may face which may result in their overstaying their visas?
What is rule of law and why is it important?
Is there any Scriptural or religious precedent for thinking about when it’s OK to violate a state’s laws? I seem to remember having read something about Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Martin Luther King, and even William Wilberforce. I find myself wondering what these authors might think about how we as a nation and we as individuals should respond to the challenge of illegal immigration? Would they recommend violating US laws? What do you think?
William Wilberforce and illegal immigration –
State of Religious Liberty
Is there any Scriptural or religious precedent for thinking about when it’s OK to violate a state’s laws?
Martin Luther King and how we as a nation and we as individuals should respond to the challenge of illegal immigration? Would he recommend violating US laws? Immigration Act of 1965
6 – EXPLORING CURRENT POLICY PERSPECTIVES:
Would Jesus Build a Wall? some possible immigration policies that have come up on Capitol Hill –
Can you evaluate one of these policy proposals for me? Summarize it and then evaluate it using the five criteria which the Evangelical Immigration Table has put forth. Does the proposal being evaluated fit in with the EIT criteria? Be as specific as possible.
Should I support an existing policy proposal, or modify one, or draft my own?
What are the three most important facts that I should bear in mind, as a Christian leader, as I think about immigration?
(Note specific scriptures here if you can).
Please give me as much specific guidance here as you can!