On this Christmas Eve -- a week after Hanukkah and a week before New Year's -- feelings about our bonds with all of humankind are at a peak.
We who favor reduced U.S. immigration levels tend to agree with most of the great philosophical and religious traditions for thousands of years that people's responsibilities to the vulnerable are greatest within their own communities, including national communtiies. But I know that many of us also try to do something for people in other nations.
Often, those promoting open-borders policies seek to portray all of us as selfish and parochial for trying to protect the people, the animals and the eco-systems of our own country from massive immigration-forced population growth. I'm sure that is not true of many of you whom I know personally.
Because we believe that the greatest good for the greatest number of vulnerable people in other nations comes not from immigration but from helping people "bloom where they are planted," let's encourage each other -- and enlighten the public's view of us -- by sharing where we invest our international charity.
In the COMMENTS section below this blog, please say a few words:
- Describe a specific place or program outside of the United States that has earned your trust so that you donate money, time or other resources to humanitarian efforts there.
- Provide a website address where others can both learn more and make their own contributions.
- If you care to say more, why do you find this particular relief, development or charity effort compelling?
Some of you prefer to make a difference through faith-based organizations, others through civic clubs and others through secular international non-governmental groups of all kinds.
Some of you support efforts that are based on a decidedly liberal philsophy while others are very conservative in their nature. All, though, are intended to make a real difference in the lives of people who are suffering or denied the ability to live up anywhere near their potential.
Some of you donate primarily to emergency programs while others focus mainly on long-term development of self-reliance and sustainability.
I'm interested in every kind and ask that as you read each other's submissions that you respect that all of you will be seeing the world through different lenses and you may find that what somebody else finds to be a great benefit you may believe to be a harm. My hope, though, is that as you look over what may be an incredibly diverse assortment of charities you will see new ones that may fit your own philosophy of giving.
LEADERS DO FAR MORE BACK HOME THAN AS IMMIGRANTS IN U.S.
I'm particularly moved this season by an example in my own local church here in Arlington.
Like many churches, mine always has a special Advent offering that generally is divided among helping people right here in Northern Virginia, somewhere else in the U.S. and somewhere in the rest of the world.
One of the international recipients this year is a couple of schools for girls and for boys in Sierra Leone, generally ranked by the United Nations as one of the 10 most impoverished countries of the world. A key leader in this education is a woman who served as an assistant pastor in my congregation about a decade ago.
I remember when she was first announced as joining our staff. She was a refugee from the war-torn Sierra Leone and was finishing her seminary work in this area. It appeared -- at least to me -- that she was preparing for a career in the ministry in the United States. I certainly couldn't begrudge her desire for safety, and comfort, but I always was thinking about how much more her education and skills were needed back home. I figured that like most refugees and foreign students who are allowed to sink some roots here, her talents would be forever lost to the suffering people back in her home country.
But I never took the time -- or the risk -- of talking with her about my feelings. After she left here for another church, I lost track of her. So, it was to my great surprise and joy to hear in the service a couple of Sundays ago that this woman has long been back in her home country and providing tremendous contributions to tackling the huge educational deficit there.
I eagerly wrote my check to support her efforts in those schools.
If you have seen my "Gumballs Video" (the above link), you know that this is an illustration of my argument that immigration not only fails to provide real international humanitarian benefits while it harms our own most vulnerable, but it often actually harms the poor countries by siphoning off their most talented and motivated citizens.
As we begin the 12 Days of Christmas -- whether your monetary compassion is limited to your own communities or is apportioned around the world -- I thank you for caring enough to choose not only charities but immigration policies that are truly humanitarian to the greatest number and in thoughtful priorities.
-- ROY BECK is Founder & CEO of NumbersUSA