Thursday, May 25, 2006

What Do I Really Think About Immigration?

Dustin asks this question in the comments to the post below. The answer is a bit longer than will fit in the comments section, so I created a separate post.

1. Immigration is economically good for the country, other things being equal. The problems with immigration (and all increases in population) are generally related to defects in law enforcement or attempts at socialism. Both of these are made worse by a failing moral order. People that are basically law-abiding and productive are of mutual benefit to each other.

2. I also think that the spiritual value of immigration is often underestimated. We are a country that has historically loved liberty tempered by religious restraint. Inviting people into the country from places that don't have those values is good for them (of course) but also good practice for us. The Old Testament is full of exhortations to treat the foreigner as an equal, provided he will obey the law and serve the Lord. But, as with the economic factors mentioned above, this requires that we actually teach these values, both to the immigrants and to our native citizens. But this of course is the job of the church (or religious organizations if you don't think, as I do, that this should be a Christian country.) As with the economic situation above, this is not being done and that causes problems. But in this case, the government is doing too much (i.e. trying to run the school system) rather than too little.

These two factors are inter-related. I believe very strongly in the separation of church and state, but we currently have the situation where the state is trying to take on both roles and the church is making itself irrelevant. But it is only in a society that has a properly functioning civil law and moral precepts that man is not a curse to man. The extent to which we are losing that proper functioning is the extent to which things like immigration and over-crowding will become problems. But a good government focuses on the causes rather than the symptoms, which is why I don't buy the current Republican policy line on immigration.

1 comment:

sonia said...

Immigration is a complex issue. Essentially, it all comes down to this: ECONOMIC SELF-INTEREST vs CULTURAL INTEGRITY.

Simply put, immigration (legal or illegal) is good for economy and bad for cultural integrity. When the Pilgrims came over in 1620, America was dirt poor, but it was dominated by Native Indian cultures. Millions and millions of immigrants later, it is rich, but the Native culture is all but gone.

Same thing today. If they allow all immigrants to come, US will be even richer and more powerful than it already is. But its official language might be Spanish...