Roy Beck's picture


  by  Roy Beck

Well, of course, if religious leaders were to support car thieves keeping the cars, we would all know those clergy were no longer fit to provide moral guidance.

But the headline's logic is essentially their argument when it comes to immigration. What nearly all religious leaders speaking out on immigration say is that: Illegal aliens who steal jobs should be allowed to keep them as long as they pay $1,000 and take English classes

Please tell me how the recent flood of pronouncements from national religious leaders on "earned legalization" is any different from the headline on this blog.

I'm picking on the evangelical Christian leaders because they have been the loudest voices lately in congressional hearings, Brookings Institute seminars, blogs, NPR and lots of newspaper interviews. And now a giant article in the New York Times tells us that evangelical leaders may be able to save "comprehensive immigration reform" from its otherwise obvious death this year.

The evangelical and Baptist leaders have simply joined a 25-year effort by Catholic, United Methodist, Episcopal, Lutheran and Presbyterian leaders to flood our middle-class and lower-class occupations with more foreign workers.

This was the opening paragraph of the Times story:

At a time when the prospects for immigration overhaul seem most dim, supporters have unleashed a secret weapon: a group of influential evangelical Christian leaders.

-- "Obama Gains Evangelical Allies on Immigration," by Laurie Goodstein, New York Times, July 18, 2010

We know from polling that most evangelicals and Baptists disagree with the evangelical and Baptist leaders who have been pronouncing it immoral to deport illegal aliens and who say that the moral imperative is to give illegal aliens permanent access to jobs and U.S. citizenship.

But I'm unaware of more than a couple of major evangelical or Baptist voices that state the immorality of letting millions of foreign citizens steal jobs from vulnerable Americans, leaving them and their families unemployed and approaching financial ruin.

One exception is this piece in the national evangelical magazine, Christianity Today, which has an editorial policy for supporting "comprehensive immigration reform." I have to hand it to them for at least allowing this very thoughtful anti-amnesty article to be published:

And I also have to hand it to the Times that it found one evangelical leader who thinks like most evangelicals (and like most mainline Protestants and Catholics):

Bryan Fischer, director of issue analysis for the American Family Association, a national conservative Christian organization in Tupelo, Miss., said, “What my evangelical friends are arguing is that illegal aliens should essentially be rewarded for breaking the law.

“I think it’s extremely problematic from a Judeo-Christian standpoint to grant citizenship to people whose first act on American soil was to break an American law,” said Mr. Fischer, who hosts a daily radio show on which immigration is a frequent topic.

Evangelical and Baptist witnesses before Congress last week testified that they hate amnesty and would never support an amnesty.

But then they played word games by defining amnesty as only when a person's law-breaking is completely forgiven without imposing any penalty.

And what should that penalty be?

The religious leaders indicated a proper penalty for stealing a job from an American family should be something like $1,000 and having to attend English classes.


So, I ask you to consider car thieves.

You catch the thief in a brand new Lexus.  You make the thief pay a thousand dollar fine and study the owner's manual so he can take better care of the car and then let him drive away in the Lexus.

How do you think the owner of the Lexus would feel?


OK, now imagine that you are a dry waller, or a roofer, or you work in hospitality or custodial or health care or landscaping.

Imagine watching as millions of foreign workers move into your occupation and gradually take it over as the pay and benefits steadily decline. 

Imagine what it would be like to be scraping together part-time jobs when you can get them and you are struggling to keep from defaulting on your mortgage.

How does it make you feel to have national religious leaders -- maybe your own pastor -- say that the illegal aliens who stole your job, who stole your livelihood, who stole your family's security, who stole your very way of life . . . .

How does it feel for the religious leaders to say that these illegal aliens should be able to keep your job and that everything is fair and balanced as long as they pay a $1,000 fine and attend an English class?

And how does it feel to have your religious leaders say that you are selfish and unchristian to want your job back and to oppose letting the illegal alien keep your job?

Frankly, I don't see any difference in that situation and the injustice done to the Lexus owner -- except that the victims of illegal immigration are almost always a lot poorer (and more likely to be Black, Indian or Hispanic American, which is an interesting point since the major religious voices say Americans wanting their jobs back from illegal aliens may be guilty of bigotry).

Right now, though, the millions of Americans who are unemployed because millions of illegal aliens are allowed to keep their jobs unofficially have very few religious voices speaking up for them.

The "car thieves" are now the priority of our national religious leaders and, increasingly, our local clergy.

ROY BECK is Founder & CEO of NumbersUSA 

religious leaders

Updated: Mon, May 15th 2017 @ 4:29pm EDT

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