Flunking Sainthood

Flunking Sainthood


Is the Bible Pro-Immigrant?: A Q&A with Ben Daniel about “Neighbor”

posted by Jana Riess

ben_small.jpgThis month, Westminster John Knox is pleased to publish the new book Neighbor: Christian Encounters with “Illegal” Immigration. Author Ben Daniel sits down with Flunking Sainthood to discuss his book, the role of immigration in the Bible, and the new anti-immigration measures that recently took effect in Arizona.

Ben, why did you decide to write a book for Christians about immigration? What drew you to this topic?

In many ways, this book is a tribute to my neighborhood, which is a predominantly Hispanic, mostly immigrant community in San Jose, California. It is a great place to live. The people are friendly, most of the businesses have survived the recession, there’s a great sense of place, there is a lot of artistic expression, and the food is terrific. My biracial, tri-national family has felt welcomed. I’m happy to be raising my kids here.

When I hear people expressing fears around immigration, often I find that people are afraid that the rest of America will look something like my neighborhood–culturally more like Mexico and Central America than northern Europe or New England. I wanted to write a book that would help American Christians understand that if the future of America looks like east San Jose, then we have nothing to fear.

As it turned out, the book ended up being about much more than my neighborhood (in fact I think I only mention my neighborhood in a few places), but that was my starting point.

What do you want to convey by the title Neighbor?


Neighbor cover art.jpg

In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus teaches his disciples that the neighbor–the person who blesses us and enriches our lives–is the Samaritan, an object of prejudice and scorn among Jesus’ followers. For many Americans today, undocumented migrants are like the Samaritans of Jesus’ time; I believe God calls us to think of undocumented migrants not with scorn, but with kindness, hospitality, and even gratitude. With the title I wanted to convey the spiritual truth that those we call “illegal immigrants” should be treated as God calls us to treat our neighbors. In my case, some of my physical neighbors are undocumented immigrants, but for all of us, in a spiritual sense, undocumented immigrants are the people who can bless and enrich us. Our lives interact with undocumented migrants every day; they harvest most of our food, more often than not they tend our gardens, bus our tables, and work all sorts of jobs that make the lives of middle-class Americans easier and cheaper.

You make the controversial assertion in the book that immigrants are not a drain on our nation’s economy; in fact, they contribute more to the bottom line than they take away. Can you explain that in more detail?

Undocumented immigrants contribute to our economy in several ways. To begin with, without undocumented labor our food would be a lot more expensive because something like 70% of American agricultural workers are undocumented laborers, working at or below minimum wage. Thanks to undocumented labor, Americans pay less for food, per capita, than anyone else in the developed world. If those workers were deported, it would cause a food crisis in America, and the cost of eating would skyrocket.

Also, many undocumented workers find employment using false or stolen social security numbers. Employers then deduct payroll taxes from the undocumented persons’ paychecks, which means that the federal government garners income tax and social security withholdings from these workers. According to the New York Times, undocumented workers paid something like seven billion dollars into the social security program. They will never collect this money; instead, it will subsidize the retirement earnings of citizens and legal immigrants.

Finally, undocumented immigrants spend money in America. They patronize businesses, supporting local economies, and, in most states, the purchases they make also generate sales tax. Without undocumented immigrants, the economies of many neighborhoods throughout the United States would dry up; losing undocumented immigrants’ sales tax would pound the final nail into the economic coffin of California and maybe other states as well.

What does the Bible have to say about immigration?

A lot. In fact, I would say that immigration is one of the Bible’s unifying themes. In the Bible, the people of God almost always are on the move, and, in the Bible, God always is on the side of the immigrant over and against local, established populations. This is true from the time that God accepts the sacrifice of Abel, the nomadic herdsman, and rejects the sacrifice of Cain, the settled farmer and builder of cities, until the day when all of the human family lives together as immigrants in the New Jerusalem.

I know your book is primarily about people, not policies, but what do you think about the Arizona immigration law that just took effect?

Arizona’s law is based upon fears and not facts. Supporters of SB 1070 are quick to say that the statute was passed as a way of addressing skyrocketing crime in Arizona and around the country, but in Arizona as in the rest of the United States, over the last fifteen years, crime has gone down as immigration has risen.

Proponents of Arizona’s law say that something had to be done by the states because the federal government hadn’t been doing its job, yet today there are more border patrol agents along the border than ever before. The fence along America’s southwest flank is now seven hundred miles long. It stretches from San Diego to El Paso through extremely rough terrain. The border never has been more secure.

The simple and uncomfortable truth is that Arizona’s lawmakers passed SB 1070 without availing themselves of the best information available to them, and that is a shame.

Why do you think that many people are so afraid of immigrants today, especially considering America’s history as a nation of immigrants?

We are a nation of immigrants with a history of anti-immigrant bigotry. It’s a paradox. The disquieting reality is that Americans who are descended from immigrants always have been afraid of immigrants, especially non-white and non-Protestant immigrants. Our earliest immigration laws were overt attempts to keep Asian people out of America. Later laws were passed in order to keep America ethnically and culturally northern European and Protestant. Now we fear an influx of immigrants from Latin America. It is evidence that when it comes to attitudes toward immigration we still have a long way to go.

What are the most important things that Christians in America can do to support immigrants?

Christians should make friends with immigrants. We should do more to include immigrants in their churches. Christians need to remember that immigrants–both legal and illegal–are neighbors and members of the community. The most fun way to do this is to go into immigrant neighborhoods in search of food. The best food from Mexico and Central America is in immigrant neighborhoods. Eat tacos. Eat pupusas. Have nopales with eggs, gallina en mole, chile verde, or carne asada. In the fullness of time we’ll all be eating manna together in heaven; there’s no reason the eternal feast cannot begin now with a few tortillas.



  • http://memorialchurch.ning.com/ Starr Luteri

    After enjoying that Mexican food, invite your neighbors to church! Multi-cultural, bilingual worship is wonderful. Todos somos pueblo de Dios!

  • Brittanicus

    If you want to stop the corruption germinating in Washington and state assemblies, throw out all–INCUMBENTS–that have a bad history. (Get rid of the politician-attorney’s as there the worst.) Before you vote in the midterm elections probe their policy records on the Internet. All those who are pro-amnesty need to be retired from office or pro-illegal immigration as they will bankrupt the taxpayer and promote overpopulation growth. Just go outside and look at our crumbling roads, bridges, tunnels and the quality of our drinking water and failing sewer system. Look to all those incumbents that have made millions on so called free trade and dump them as well. There is–NO FREE TRADE–as we are subjected to tariffs and taxes when we export goods to foreign countries; they can import their cheap imports, that why half our manufacturers have closed doors and thousands of industrial properties remain vacant.
    Throw out all politicians who are assisting with the outsourcing of jobs and bringing in medium skilled labor that lowers our workers’ wages. Build the–REAL–double fence at the border and place 6000 permanent troops to detain illegal aliens or shoot anybody bringing drugs into America. If we protect our borders like Israel, we wouldn’t need our military in foreign land. GET INVOLVED AND READ ABOUT THE UNPARALLELED CORRUPTION AMONGST THE RANKS OF DEMOCRAT-LIBERALS AND REPUBLICANS AT EVERY LEVEL OF GOVERNMENT. THEY GET ALL THE PERKS AND IT WOULDN’T BE NICE TO SAY “WHAT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE GET WHO PAY THERE SALARIES?” Something is very sick when (FAIRS) report says there are 8.5 million illegal aliens working, but 9.5 million of American workers are jobless.
    While citizens-residents are being intimidated by the IRS, to pay the support of illegal instant- citizen babies, while your family breadwinner has the house foreclosed on, his car repossessed and now standing at a food bank. Become more aware of what’s happening around you, as the fat cats in Washington extort your taxes. You DON’T SEE THE LAWMAKERS GOING WITHOUT, DO YOU? Fight back this November and throw all the outlaw politicians out. http://www.judicialwatch.org is inherent in Promoting Integrity, Transparency and Accountability in Government, Politics and the Law. Observe copies of FOIA (Government) documents about secret meetings and other outrageous discussions that have a bearing on your future. http://www.numbersusa.com is your internet informer on the immigration records of current politicians, the expenditures and politics of the illegal immigration and the annexation of our lands. In conclusion demand that those in power to do their duty by calling the Washington switchboard at 202-224-3121 .
    Without your help–NOTHINGS GOING TO CHANGE.? Don’t vote for them again, or your taxes will be either squandered on pork, go in their pockets or vanish like the billions sent to Afghanistan or Iraq that went AWOL.

  • http://mattmillerspoliticalblog@blogspot.com Matthew Miller

    Of course the problem isn’t racism. We do need to secure our borders. It isn’t so much about illegals getting entitlements, but it is more of a security issue. The drug gangs are crossing the border and are killing more American citizens than all who died in all the Islamic terrorist attacks combined. There are counties in Texas along the border which have no sheriff. No one wants to take the job because they know that they will end up getting killed. We do need more border security, we need to make easier for people to immigrate legally (both permanently and for temporary work), but there should be no amnesty. Illegals should have to go to the back of the line and we should allow law abiding folks to have first consideration.

  • Scott

    Abel? Really? Is this book about immigration or Illegal Immigration? I’m not sure when it became so popular to use God’s Word out of context to push an agenda, but the Bible says that God chose to accept Abel’s sacrifice and reject Cain’s. It doesn’t say anything about illegal immigration… at all. Other than that Christians should obey the law whenever possible. I’m not sure that enforcing immigration laws is in direct violation of God’s laws.
    There seems to be some sort of disconnect with the concept of requiring legality equaling xenophobia. While I can’t speak for everyone, I can honestly say that I have no problem whatsoever with immigrants. I think variety is wonderful. I DO have a problem with Illegal Immigration. Not because of the immigration part, but because of the illegal aspect of it all. My position isn’t an un-biblical, ungodly, or unloving one. Quite the opposite, in fact. I love my country. I love my neighbors. I love immigrants and that’s why it’s important that they obey the law and do the right thing.

  • http://html Rita

    I do not believe that any person in the United States of America would begrudge any one who wishes to come to America to live. But they should know that to do so they would have to do it by the book. The ones sneaking into America should be found and sent back until they can do it the right way. I think they have cheated enough of the ones who were ready to come over legally and then the ones who are nothing but druggies and wanting to sell filth like that should really not ever be let into America as they will be carring more dope than food. Those need to spend the rest of their lives in prison no matter their age. they do have to be taught but they do not seem to care much for going to school to learn how to live if they wish to keep on living. There are too many who want the freedom to sell drugs of filth and they also sell ones that are laced with poisons or so they tell us. America once almost had to pay thousands of dollars to the dumbhead that shot his-self in the behind and blamed it on to the ones who were guarding the borders. But they did not have sense enough to check all of this out. Thank God someone finally told them it was not the guards, and even that was not did right. wo innocent people who had to spen years in prison for something they did not do.

  • chris

    Here’s all I’ll add. Work is a true principle. Anyone that attempts to deny another a right to work by the sweat of their brow for their own bread is denying them the opportunity to fulfill God’s commandment.
    You can say they aren’t entitled to, but why? If someone wants to hire them fairly, they should be hired.
    Both parties are going off the deep end on this and are clinging to a scrap of true principles, while quickly racing to hell with it.
    Yes, let’s secure and enforce the border. Yes, let’s insure people who are here are good people. Yes, let’s prevent entitlement-hording problems.
    But preventing someone from work is denying them the opportunity to provide for themselves. Telling them to go back to their own country may feel good, but doesn’t help. A handful will, most will go somewhere else, go underground etc.
    We should help the salt of the earth to build a better life. The problem is our system of government is geared so much against it. And this is not a rant against the Republicans, because the Dems screw up just as much if not more in the opposite direction.

  • Jackie

    I have no problem with immigrants, what I do have a problem with is the “slight of hand” by calling “illegal immigrants” “undocumented”
    by using this term it makes it easier to defend these persons and make the ones who do not want them here to appear to be unkind and cruel. The basic facts are: if you do not come into the country legally, why should you (or your children) benefit from our schools, our health care system, etc.etc. Sorry, but if you break the law, you must pay the consequences, just as anyone else. I have heard all about people come here to make a better life, that is great, but do it legally, and DO NOT, demonstrate against this great nation, that can and will give you the best she has, but only if you do things according to the law.

  • David Perry

    One Thing You Keep Forgetting Jesus Also Said To Obey The Laws Of The Land!!! And That Is All I Want Is For Every One To Come Here The Right Way!!! Do It Legally!!! And No Problems!!!
    Thank You and GOD Bless You All!!!
    David

  • Tommy

    What a bunch of bologna the author, Ben Daniel, has written. Did he not realize that Federal law is being broken when the ILLEGALS cross into our Country “Illegally!” When “touchy feel-good liberals” like the author try to push their agendy with books they always seem to omit major facts that don’t support them. Facts such as the murdering of American citizens on the border ranches, the armed assaults on our law enforcement personnel, the blatant disregard for the rights of American property owners to keep their familys and property safe and secure, the fact that the influx of Illegal Aliens is an extreme financial burden on our hospitals, schools, jails and prisons support my own view of on the subject. Adding to that the fact of taxes not being paid by illegal workers, illegal use of legal citizen’s social security numbers to get employment and benefits, and the blatant local offenses such as DUI’s, operating vehicles without insurance, and driving unlicensed vehicles. If those aren’t enough reason to send the Illegal back to their home countries I don’t know what is. Hopefully few people will waste their money on Mr. Daniel’s book because he has tried to use the Bible to support his illogical beliefs.

  • Jay

    Thank you for posting this. My belief is that I’m not one to judge the decisions others have to make in order to survive. If I can help a brother or sister out, I will do it because that’s what any good Christian would do. It’s up to God to judge anyone’s actions and to close the doors of heaven to those who come here with bad intentions. Trying to feed a family is hardly a bad intention.
    I completely agree that the border is a problem, but I also think that it’s our fault that our government has turned its shoulder on illegal immigration when it was needed. Now that times are hard people are trying to find anyone to blame, and we are blaming those who can’t defend themselves. It’s sad because illegal immigration has existed for a long time, but only NOW people are noticing and saying that illegal immigrants take advantage of resources. When the economy was booming, no one cared or even noticed. What does that say about our society? Stop blaming these people for our economic problems and look at the wars we are pouring millions and trillions of dollars into. THAT’S where most of our money is going, not towards unpaid medical bills. Please get a grip on reality.
    I’ve met both legal and illegal immigrants and I’ve always observed that it’s those who come here legally that use and abuse many of the programs offered here. I know refugees who come from African countries with 6-7 kids and are on welfare for many years. Then, they use other social programs up until the kids are old enough to get their college education paid for. I also know of people who come here legally to have babies and then move back to their countries. When the babies are 18 they come here and take advantage of things like free tuition in college. That is very unfortunate. On the other hand, there are illegal immigrants who honestly want to be part of our society and live the American dream. Those people need to have a chance to make it here. Unfortunately for those who are poor and unskilled there is NO WAY to immigrate here legally. Most of those who have come here have been able to do so through marriage and jobs that required a lot of skills. Is that fair? NO. I’ve met many people who have married Americans only for papers. That says our system does not work.
    As much as our system doesn’t work, though, we are blaming the wrong people. It’s very saddening.

  • Timothy Palmer

    I find this analysis rather myopic, incomplete, and self-serving…
    1) What about the illegal immigrants that are breaking other laws as well, such as drug enforcement, and worse?
    2) Will the author critisize the government of Mexico for the bad policies that is leading to a mass exodus of their people?
    3) Will the author address the reasonable expectation of the American citizen for lack of government services and protection due to illegal immigration?
    4) Why has the author not mentioned the God-granted right of a sovereign nation to secure its borders?
    5) Does the author realize that many Americans do not worry about immigrants that are legally here?
    6) Where does the author get the impression that Abel’s sacrifice was accepted because he was a wanderer while Cain’s was not because he was a farmer? Most interpret this scripture as a judgment of attitude regarding sacrifice, not of “immigration status.”
    I would certainly agree that all people should treated in a Christian fashion, especially the poor; I would expect that we would have to address the unexpected and distasteful aspects of a mismanaged problem. It is folly to misquote scripture, violate citizen’s rights, and deny government sovereignity to advocate blanket acceptance without further, rational, study.

  • Charles Gray

    It is easy to talk “love thy neighbor” but the immigrants are bringing drugs into our country and killing Americans that happen to get in their way. Now it is dangerous to live on a ranch within 70 miles of the southern Arizona border. The trash they leave in the desert is almost unbelievable. I feel sorry for the innocent immagrants that are exploited by the Coyotes but if you want to help them, do so in their own country. About 70% of the Arizona jail inmates are illegal aliens and they are not there because they are illegal. They are there because they committed crimes, theft, robbery, drug dealing, and on and on.
    My son was driving in south Phoenix when his car was hit by a hispanic driver. The driver had no licence, no insurance, no vehicle registration, and he probably ran back to Mexico to avoid having to pay for the damage he did. Jesus told us to pay our taxes and obey the law of the land.

  • Charles Gray

    I forgot about the pro-immigrant statement. Jews were told by God to kill the non-jews when they defeated a city. This doesn’t sound very pro-immigrant to me. Thankfully we live in the age of grace and are not instructed to kill unbelievers like some religions teach.

  • .camile

    I am a Christian. My husband is a missionary. I am not in agreement. W/ illegal. Aliens. Being. Here. Too much la taxation mentality. I live in the east. SF bay area. Its not right nor fair. It had changed our whole way of life. Our jails are full of Mexicans. Our hospitals. Are tapped out. I don’t want to eat tomales or nopales. The author lives in San Jose. Its already Mexican. Might ad well enjoy it. Its not going away. O have noticed our clothes have changed ( like at Ross) for example. They are Mexican colors& tacky. I want my old country. Back. Mexicans go home! I understand. They want to be here. Its no differentvthan Muslims in France. Our culture. Is forever changed. I hate it. I’m Christian, but this author is making bucks on the obvious. Its not gonna change now ever. Might as well make some $ on a book that he claims had Biblical principals. While another baby I’d born in a border town and bacomes a instant citizen. Have another taco! I miss my world I grew up in. If I wanted to be Mexican, I would go hang out there. This sucks!! His concept is so lame. Ho have another’s baby & pay for it. Oh and let them tell us they are The Race! And use ourvtax dollars to raise a bunchvof kids. Oh and don’t bother learning. English. Like what for???? I’m so sick of this kind of rectoric.

  • Content

    Timothy, European Americans were the first immigrants. We tend to forget that America was stolen from the Native Americans and then shipped them off west with lovely diseases. America’s motto is basically, “If it is white, it is alright.” When there is an influx of others who are not white and protestant i.e. Africans,Asians, Haitians, Jews, etc., we tend to find the wrongs of a few of these immmigrants and make it applicable to all immigrants. Euro- Americans numerically have more people on social assistance and not all are doing it the right way-but no one will talk about that.
    Wouldn’t you want to come to a place that seemed to be flowing with milk and honey if what you have is not sufficient?

  • Gracie

    This is to .camile. I believe you also need to learn English,how to spell and proper grammar. You might want to listen to your husband more. These statements,from what I gather from your illiterate typing, are NOT based on Christian principles.
    Big thumbs down.

  • CeCi

    I think if all the illegals move to Ben Daniels neighborhood….I could accept them. Otherwise, let them come here the legal way, leaving their drugs and guns behind.

  • Hallie

    ILLEGAL immigrants are a burden on this society. If they were being persecuted, it would be different. No one has said that to come here legally is wrong. That’s all we ask. Our ancestors came here legally, to Ellis island, and had to go through rigorous interrogation, even strip searches, and if any one even had a cough, they were refused citizenship,and sent back, fearing contagious illness. I’m afraid that the illegals want to take billions out of this country without paying taxes; many being paid “under the table”. Too many of our own citizens are going without food, decent housing, and clothing. They are our main responsibilty,

  • Michael

    Ben buys into the misleading terminology of pro-illegal immigration. He writes of “undocumented” immigrants. The intruders have legal documents on themselves in their home countries, where they belong. Ben should organize an illegal migration of his fellow “open borders” prople into Mexico and see what happens. How about a Beliefnet interview with Roy Beck of Numbers USA?

  • Pam

    We are a nation that is PRO immigrant.
    It it the illegal or undocumented immigrants that are at issue. Why can some ignore laws and others be held far above the standards?

  • David

    What Ben seems to forget is that we are a nation of laws with a government that is supposed to enforce laws. Government is an instituiton that was created by God and we are to obey the laws so long as they don’t violate Gos’s laws/ways. Illegal immigration is just that “illegal”. I don’t think God expects us to support illegal immigration, but “legal” immigration. Mexicao’s government should be trying to help it’s own citizens rather than have them come here illegally and be a large draw on our country’s resources ahead of our own country’s needs. I personally think that we need to stop all immigration until we can get a handle on the problems we have here already. We can however pray for everyone!

  • Chuck

    Thank you Ben for addressing this important topic. Economics and laws aside, we are all God’s children and I do not envision Jesus telling anyone to leave his presence because they are “illegal”.

  • John

    The author lists incorrect facts
    as well as
    assumptions about peoples motives that he has no comprehension of.
    To imply that my Christianity is incomplete because I prefer for people to obey our laws is offensive.
    To suggest that I am bigotted because I disagree with his opinion is a typical liberal tactic .
    This has nothing to do with Jesus , and I seriously question the authors credentials .

  • Christine

    Ben needs to check his facts, he is not credible on this topic at all. Disappointed to see an article like this on this site.

  • Claudia

    Thank you, Ben! I am so tired of hearing the hate that is spewed through the blogs and the news. It is hard to believe that a lot of it is coming from “Christians”. The bible, is what we “Christians” should follow and be true to above all other laws. Read the book of Daniel. The bible also talks about the binding of our tongues. Fear, hate, bigotry and disdain for someone who is not like you does not come from God. My God tells me that I should love my neighbor, He didn’t specify any borders. My God tells me that I should take care of my fellow man, feed the poor, give drink to those that have thrirst, clothe those that are cold. In other words do what is right and do unto others as you would have done onto you! Immigrants, legal and illegal alike, do give back to our communities. There is a group that feeds between 200-300 people every week in Atlanta. Where the establishment has turned their backs on Americans, Vets, mentally disabled, etc., these poor people(I say that because they are struggling themselves) largely immigrants feed the poor in America. They do this faithfully every week. Quite a concept! Because this is what our God tells them to do. The large majority of immigrants are not do not have guns or do drugs. They are hard working people trying to put food on the table. Getting paid 40 cents a pound of picked blueberries that we pay more than $6 for. Backbreaking work that most americans find demeaming. Not many people want to stand on a roof working on a hot roof when it’s over 100 degrees. A lot of America has been built on their backs from the trains tracks over a 100 yrs ago, to the houses that we live in today, to the food that we put on our tables. Be thankful they are here. Take the time to truly get to know these people that a lot of you are calling the dregs of our society. Choose to become informed. People, I ask that you choose to be Christians in all sense of the word. Don’t pick and choose what you want from the Bible. Live your lives the way Christ would want you to live it. That if He came today, as one of the immigrants, that you would have had the sense to treat Him well. Be well and I will pray for all of you as well!

  • ED

    I THINK BEN NEEDS TO LOOK AT HIS BIBLE AGAIN. DOES HE THINK GOD WANTS US TO BE LAW BREAKERS,I THINK NOT FOR EVEN JESUS SAID TO CAESAR WHICH IS CAERSAR’S. NEIGHORS ARE NEIGHORS AND DO NOT MOVE BOUNDARY MARKERS. DO IT LEGALLY OR NOT AT ALL.

  • Lucy

    To be against illegal immigration does not mean a person does not support legal immigration. I absolutely support LEGAL immigration, but abhor illegal immigration.
    I actually believe to be against illegal immigration is MORE compassionate. I have compassion for the peoples in foreign countries who have waited for many years in line to come to this country legally. I have compassion for laborers who want a fair wage to support family, but cannot do so because undocumented workers get paid far less and in cash.
    Where in the scripture does the Lord encourage and support the breaking of laws of a country other than not worshipping other Gods in a foreign country, I remember none.

  • Sunshine

    Excellent article!! I am going to get the book and recommend it to our church book club. It is so encouraging to know that someone is reading the Bible and gleaning that Jesus wants us to love our neighbors as ourselves. That is ALL of man(woman) kind, not just those that live next door or in our little safe communities. I think the issue is that we have a nation that does not know how to love or what real love is. We live in constant fear that someone is going to take something away from us when all they are doing is trying to make a better life. Noone is saying that breaking the law is right. However, my Bible tells me that it was those that were so intent on the LAW (Sadducees and Pharisees)that Jesus detested. No we don’t want a country of lawbreakers, but we do want to be inclusive. What I believe is being said is that as CHRISTIANS we need to find a loving way to include all people instead of being demeaning and “better than someone”. As so many have already stated, if it were not for some of those illegal immigrants, our economy would be in a worse shape than it is now. God continues to give us opportunities to prove we are HIS children and to come back to HIS ways and we are falling away daily. God have mercy on us!!

  • Rosemary

    It amazes me that anyone who says anything about immigrants coming into the country “illegally” are labeled with the prejudice/bigot stamp. My ancestors came into this country legally. They worked hard and passed the tests they had to pass to become legal citizens. It saddens me to see how lax our government has become for the sake of the almightly dollar. My ancestors learned the language and the law and love this country for what it has brought them. I would love to see all immigrants come to America and make a better life for themselves and their families. I know many families who have done so legally and who resent those who don’t feel they have to. I pray the law of the land starts to treat everyone equal. That’s what this country is all about after all.

  • Dan Talbot

    Shame on the author. The bible does not advocate lies. First of all, he keeps referring to ILLEGAL immigrants as merely IMIGRANTS, or UNDOCUMENTED immigrants. This is soft-soaping and whitewashing. Second, he lies about the economic benefit of illegal aliens, when it can be shown with numbers that they are draining emergency room costs to taxpayers, they constitute criminal activity beyond their mere ilegality of being here in the first place, and third, they pollute the culture by insisting on speaking their native tongue, and fourth, their anchor babies are huge future tax burdens. Sorry, but on a cost/benefit ratio analysis, they lose. On a law-breaking basis they lose, after al what is it about the word “illegal” that has bleeding heart fake Chrsitians like this article’s author freaking out? I think the bible says something about obeying the rules and laws.

  • Tom

    I believe love thy neighbor also. But I also read “the alien is among you”….to I’m not a race hater. Illegals steal people identifcation and kill Americans every day. Americans lost thier jobs and jobs move to other countries. Like Mexico. Americans already gave alot to illegals in this world. Like free taxs, free schooling, and free healthcare. Because Americans owes billion of dollars in taxs and go into the trillions. That’s why….Califoria is broke and other states as well. Plus, getting worst and worst. I believe in legal immigrants and I welcome them. Plus most legal immigrants wants live in the normal country and live in peace. Which our goverment is not normal and they can careless about Americans today. It’s a fact.

  • Taco lover

    The author, much like our elite media, skews the truth to support his position. I have an hispanic grandson; they left AZ because of no jobs and high crime. The author ought to visit the border or Tucson; or reality. The cost of Breaking The Law is outrageous whether in dollars or lives.

  • Little j

    “Tts 3:1 Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient” NIV Loving thy neighbor does not mean that you tolerate them breaking the law of the land. Haven’t you heard of tough love? How sad that this author has twisted the bible to his liberal agenda. I am thankful to see so many people supporting LEGAL immigration. My daughter-in-law and my sister-in-law are both legal immigrants and had to jump through a lot of hoops to get here. Why should others be allowed amnesty? They should not.

  • Ree530

    The Bible also states that we must obey civil law. In this country there are imigration laws and I welcome, with open arms, all who adhere to these laws.

  • Rockcyn

    ? Allowing ILLEGAL immigration is good, because it keeps our food prices down? What kind of justification is that, for disrespecting the laws of our nation? In this situation the workers are kept at very low wages and poor working conditions. If every immigrant were legally documented, maybe there would be some way of improving their lot, using valid statistics. Americans want to welcome all immigrants who do not scoff at our laws as a means of entering our, and possibly their future country. Immigration has made the USA the unique, wonderful country it is today! Why do so many people have such difficulty understanding the plain, simple meaning of the word ILLEGAL? ?

  • mpbalbuena

    I think the author is right. I know for a fact that there are taxes and Social Security taken out on illegal aliens and it is free money for the Government. At one time, my husband was an illegal alien with a false ID. Ok, we both worked at the same place and they took out more taxes on him than they did on me. Also, after my husband became legal, we had problems sometimes and he told me no matter how bad things get, I won’t eat food stamps or use the Government for money. He just din’t believe in it. He worked constantly. Also, its true about the food crisis that would happen. Most Americans are soft. You won’t find them out before daybreak in the fields and working until after dark. Then where is the food going to come from? These people do all sorts of menial jobs that Americans won’t do. If they are gone, who will do these jobs? Your sons and daughters? People had better wake up and think, these people are a benefit to us. And when you talk about your crime rate, think how many Americans are in the news daily for perpetrating vicious crimes, especially with the job market as it is now. Most of these people are not criminals. They are people just like you, who love their families and want a better way of life. Looks like we all have been raised up on America the Land of
    Opportunity. And don’t forget, even Jesus was an immigrant. When Herod was killing all the newborn sons and the angel told Joseph to take him into Egypt and save him. They sure didn’t have time to go through legal channels.

  • mpbalbuena

    I would like to make an answer to Camile. If you are going to complain about people not bothering to learn English, consider learning it yourself. That mess you write is practically unreadable. and the word is rhetoric.

  • Claudia

    I am so glad that we are allowed to practice our faith here. Because of what I read here, some would be practicing something else if the laws said that you could not worship our Lord and Savior. Jesus said the most important thing to do is to love others. If they make it a law to persecute Christians are you jumping on that boat too? Would I have to fear you being my neighbor. He gave us 10 simple rules to follow. New testament repeats over and over. We must love one another. Some of these comments would be better placed in an Arian nation forum. People, follow the Law of God and love every one regardless. If they lie, or break laws, let them make amends with their maker. God said if we judge others he would judge us in the same manner. Take care of the problems within your own home and make sure that you won’t be the first to throw the first stone. Go out into the world and behave the way that the only perfect being that came into this world would behave. Take the time to treat people well. Bind your tongues so that you don’t say things you will be judged on later. Jesus could have been born in a palace, yet God chose to choose those that were less fortunate to bring up His Son.
    I will continue to strive to fulfill what he puts in my heart. I just want to remind you that it is not enough to go to church, to be God fearing Christians. You must do what he tells you, also. We follow the law of the land, unless it breaks the law of the Most Holy. His Commandments!

  • Mike

    What about the drug cartels coming across the border? The Arizona border has become a literal war-zone. Phoenix has become the kidnapping capitol of the world. This is not “fear mongering” – it is a well documented fact that the author chooses to gloss over and ignore (along with the main-stream media). Whether or not the author’s neighbors are peaceable is not the issue here. The issue is allowing people to cross our borders with impunity and kill American citizens. Show me the country in history – ANY country – that allowed invading hordes armed with machine guns to cross their borders, invade their land, and kill their citizens. David and the nation of Israel NEVER allowed that – nor did God. I frankly don’t care what color the United States becomes – I do care, however, if my family is threatened by thugs who come over here and kill our citizens. This is happening EVERYDAY people. Why do you think Obama put up signs warning people not to travel that stretch of land? Now you can sit with you’re head in the sand and tell yourself that it’s not happening and this whole debate is race fulled – but you’re only fooling yourself and ignoring reality. The Arizona law only required people to show proof of residency…something I have to do EVERY time I’m pulled over. This whole debate is ridiculous.

  • Mike R.

    Another wishy washy person, doesn’t know the Bible. Why are these people asked to even write here?

  • Mike R.

    Another wishy washy person. Doesn’t know the Bible as many who made comments. Why are these people (the author) asked to write on here anyway? This site is off base Biblically in many ways.

  • Bamagirl

    I am all for illegal immigrants. The government should legalize immigration from Mexico. The majority of them just want to work and make a better living. They don’t mind working their butts off at minimal wage jobs. There are plenty of people in the U.S. who don’t work for nothing. They rather have their welfare checks and the government take care of them. Mike you must not have learn much American history, but we all come from immigrants. We also stole this land from the Native Americans. They were here in the first. We kept pushing them west where now the majority live on small Indian resorvation. Now about the drugs coming in, all illegal immigrants should be checked, but the inisant ones should be allow to stay and the drug smugglars sent back to Mexico. Also Phoenix, Arizona is not the only major city with drug problems, all cities and small towns also have problems with drugs. Meth is a big problem in rural places in the south east. So I guess we just got to live with it.
    Also about them learning English, I agree, but I think we should learn Spanish. All develop countries learn English. What does that say about us Americans? It says we are too lazy. It should be a requirement in school.
    BEIN VENIDO LOS AMIGOS EN LOS ESTADOS UNIDOS DE AMERICA.

  • Bradford Rosenquist, D. D.

    Immigration is a matter of government responsibility.
    It factually involves: national sovernignty, constitutional protection of citizenry against threats both in and out of USA,
    Obeying the law of the land (not a matter of conjecture or debate)
    and being a responsible citizen (as to illegal drugs and people
    smuggling)
    As for Christians, Jesus himself clearly admonished the Pharisees and
    leaders of the Judean community at the time…”whose image is on this
    coin (Caesar’s)…”render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and
    to God the things that are God’s”
    Paul admonished on three major occasions in his writings to obey the
    governing authorities. Speeding, failure to stop at a signed intersection, cheating on taxes and encouraging anyone to be here illegally is all in the same basket of disobeying the law.
    The Christian, follower of Jesus, is to be the model of good citizenship…except where teaching the gospel is being muffled, and
    then, and only then, the apostles said they must obey God rather than
    men.

  • http://www.bendaniel.org Ben Daniel

    Friends,
    I’m glad this interview has started a good conversation. I wish I could respond to everything that was said here, but alas, I’ve entered the thread too late. But I will say this: I find it odd that those who suggest that migrants must follow the law (the law being more important than, say, the well-being of their children) quote the writings of St. Paul and the teachings of Jesus, both of whom were killed because they refused to follow the law of the land when the law of the land asked them of abandon faithfulness to God.
    Also, a significant number of responders decried by use of “undocumented” rather than “illegal” to talk about those who have migrated north without permission. There are two reasons for this: first, a significant number of so-called “illegals” are folks who came to the United States as dependent children. As such they committed no crime when they entered the united states, and their ongoing presence here is, technically, a civil infraction (like speeding in your car) and not a crime. So really it is incorrect to call every undocumented person a criminal.
    Second, undocumented migration affects two countries, Mexico and the United States, and it’s not a crime in Mexico when a person crosses the US border in search of work. So because in my book I write about migration as it affects Mexico as well as the United States, I prefer to talk about undocumented migration rather than illegal immigration.
    Finally, I have to respond to something that CeCi said above: “I think if all the illegals move to Ben Daniels neighborhood….I could accept them.” Well, CeCi, start accepting. I live in a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood in San Jose, CA. Many of my neighbors are undocumented. In fact, my neighborhood looks like what many people fear America will become: non-white, non-English speaking, more tacos than hamburgers. And guess what? It’s great! If the future of America looks like my neighborhood, we’re all OK.
    Keep Talking!
    Ben

  • Dan Talbot

    Ben (the author) wrote: ”
    Many of my neighbors are undocumented. In fact, my neighborhood looks like what many people fear America will become: non-white, non-English speaking, more tacos than hamburgers. And guess what? It’s great! If the future of America looks like my neighborhood, we’re all OK.
    Keep Talking!
    Ben
    WRONG, BEN. I don’t happen to like tacos, I am a gourmet diner and like French cuisine. If you had said having French illegal aliens in my neighborhood would be great, I might agree, except that they would still be illegal, but nicer, because they have no counterpart to gangs and LaRaza and emergency-room burdeners. They also don’t demand free translators from French to English at my expense.
    So, Ben, keep your stupid conclusions to yourself. I don’t consider it a good thing to be surrounded by aliens, much less illegal ones. I don’t wear panchos either, nor live with ten other families in the same house. Call me an elitist I guess, so what? Am I not allowed some comfort?

  • Ou

    Do you say:
    WE HAVE RIGHT TO BE ILLEGAL?
    Where do you get that kind of logic? Why there should be a border or boundary btw the nations, btw the states, even btw me and my next door neighbor? Why do we talk about security at all?
    Problem with illegal immigrants has nothing to do with being a Christian. Everyone should be civil and be a citizen who should give due regard to the laws and the governing powers. Our government has failed miserably. And for an effort by a state trying solve its own problem, take are trying to prove it illegal. Even commies and Nazis did not use such gobbledygook rhetoric.
    Please don’t read your idea into the Bible. Does it ever say that you have to give away whatever in your possession to someone who wants to rob you? Is it so-called love for your neighbors? Please, don’t trumpet to tell we Christians are naive. The whole of your logic is non-biblical and false-Christian.

  • carmen

    Hi everybody I hope that the persons that are talking bad about the illegal alliens is not a Christian. God said to love thy neighbor so we must love tham all. White, black or brown this country does not belong to us it belongs to the Indians and it was taken from them. so not just read your bible but read your history books. this country was Mexico and the indians so please do not judge people. We are not terrorist and let me tell you something else I am an Illegal in this country because I am not of this world I live in this world but this is not my home at all. And please stop talking about the mexican food, because every race loves latino food. Love thy neighbor as yourself so before you love others love yourself first, and when you do that you will love your neighbors and first of all Jesus came for the worse people in the world. so remember were you came from. please stop takling about my people and I am glad that someone wrote a book about the truth and the truth will set you free. think about going to a strange country, how would you like if they treated you like a criminal. i know that drugs come to this country and we accept them here, and dont blame the drug dealers blame the parents that didnt teach thier children the way to say no. So dont blame my country that they bring drugs to this country. Its allowed and the police like it to so please stop saying things In China they have the worst drug and they bring it here to and no one says anything about the drug and even the president stays quite. so think before you speak
    Carmen

  • http://flipperthedolphin Phillip Smith

    It’s interesting, and quite poignant, that this article has been raised, as, as you may or may not have read in your papers, in the minimal coverage that Australia DOES get in the American press, that we have many REFUGEES, coming to our shores. I obviously highlighted the word refugees, because there is sadly much opposition to and predjudice, from much of the population, including our so-called “Christian” Federal Opposition Leader, tagging them as “queue(the Australian slang word for a line), jumpers”. Admittedly, I used to think along those lines, but since working with a former refugee(whom I’ll keep anonymous out of respect for him), I’ve long since had a vastly different view. In fact, he’s one of the nicest guys one could ever hope to meet. I don’t know what the reason is for the majority of legitmate Mexicans coming into the U.S, but the main reason for those coming by boat to Australia, and I guess it’s sort of the same in the U.S with the Mexicans, is to escape persecution. The Bible makes about 99 references to caring for the stranger in the land, and I believe that we need adopt that in our Christian life, to be compassionate towards coming for a better life in our respective lands. Thanks

  • Bradford Rosenquist, Part 2

    Dear Carmen and the others who truly believe that the only thing that
    matters is “love one another.” Actually to be biblically correct the
    only thing that matters is: “…the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.” Jesus
    made it clear that God’s Kingdom is what is to be sought after first and foremost in everything. That is why we cannot truly love God and
    one another, unless we give priority to seeking the Kingdom of God.
    That kingdom is in those who have been born again by the Spirit of
    God as described in John 3 and Romans 10 and Acts 3. When one is
    born again (or from above) then, as Paul stated throughout his writings to Christians, we will do what our authorities ask. Obey
    the laws of the land…thus modeling Godly behavior for those who
    are here illegally, and if they are obedient to God’s word they will understand that as a follower of Christ they too need to obey the
    civil authorities. It is never about how one feels about things, it
    is about what God says about things. Our citizenship as born again
    believers may no longer be of this world, but we do not intentionally ignore our duty to our nation…a nation of laws, including respecting our right to be protected. Entering the United States illegally, is a criminal act…it is illegal…it is not Christian
    discipleship to conduct oneself disobediently to authority…all
    authority is given by God for our general welfare.
    Speaking to the issue of first come first serve…true, the Indians
    (politically correct euphonism “native American” [please note the
    confusion on that designation, that being, that Amerigo Vespucci,
    the map maker from which the Americas get their popular name never
    knew of his fame])were here before the Spanish and the other European
    groups, but there were people here before the migration across the
    Bering Strait where the Indians came from, that obviously were
    eliminated, pushed aside, conquered, etc. by the Indians.
    Look at the People of God (Israel) of the Old Testament, coming into
    the “promised land” and wiping out all the indigenous people there
    as they conquered it. When you win, you gain and conquer. Whether
    sin in our lives or ancient people of Palestine.
    Until Christ returns, we are to submit to the governing authorities
    as proof of our faithfulness to the Kingdom of God.

  • Fantasia

    I don’t know what the bible says about immigration but I do know it teaches us to obey the law of the land and as a person living in arizona my experience with immigrants is different from the experience he had in california and it’s definately a problem here…

  • Fantasia

    To “Bradford Rosenquist, Part 2″ that was one of the most enlighten comment I have read in regards to immigration and life itself thank you!

  • Daniel in CO

    Illegal immigrants don’t pay as much taxes from coast to coast as it is alleged they pay in California. Our public school our state budget is going heavily in debt paying for education for illgals, because their parents don’t as much taxes into the system as they take out for welfare and other services. Illegal immigrants also brought Dengue Fever,German Measles, and other diseases back to our country, diseases not seen in this country in over 50 years. Our prison popolation is now 25% illgal aliens, and growing.

  • L Chavez

    All of you so called Christians should be ashamed of yourselves.”Problem with illegal immigrants has nothing to do with being a Christian.” are you serious? Christians are supposed to live their lives in a Christ-like manner-WWJD.There is always a right way to handle any problem and by totally disrespecting and insulting people is not the way.Since when was it proof that all illegal immigrants are Mexicans.Read all these bigoted comments about half of them refer to immigrants or illegal immigration as having to do with Mexicans or Mexico.And then you all sit their on your Christian High horse and try to act so much better than everyone else.Everyone keeps saying this is not a racial thing. Well then can anyone tell me why no one is complaining about the illegal Germans, Russians, Irish, Canadian,mid easterners etc..that are also here illegally?Can anyone say this is strictly based on the laws of our land? Give me a break! If you are going to be racist at least be open about it and stop being Sunday Christians.Even though the KKK,The Aryan Brotherhoods, and The Nazis are repulsive to me at least I know where they stand and I can speak to that.But don’t you dare use the name of my Lord Jesus Christ in any conversation that includes such biased thinking. Jesus would be ashamed of you all for acting the way you are.And I’m quite sure one day he will tell you so to your face.

  • kae

    I do not agree with any more ILLEGAL immigrant pity!! They have a country to call their own–right next to ours . They need to get off their butts and create a life for their families there! We have children here that suffer because our foundation is being destroyed and over-run due to excess by people not from the U.S.A….If they can’t make it where they are from then it’s time they rebel THERE!NOT HERE!!!!I am getting sickened by the fact that there protective rights seem to outweigh mine–My family ties,in the USA, go back almost 300 years…Can you say”I AM LEGAL”……? My entire family can- :{

  • kae

    OMG!! Take a look around CHAVEZ…It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to notice an onslought of enormous change in our country—- of mexicans! As a worker in the 2000 Census I can tell you they made up the majority of newer citizens! And that was the largest increase of foreignors to our country since the end of the last century(1899).It wasn’t bad then,but mix with that the increase of ILLEGALS and this is where the ill thoughts start. Too much or too many will (and it already has) begin to ruin a good thing. What, do they want to turn our good ole USA into Mexico-#2 ? Personally, it’s getting bad like it. And I don’t want that.Another thing, we have the right as citizens (for a very very long time) to speak with OUR lord ..You can’t make us all think the way you want. My religion is my religion…You are not my GOD!!!!CHAVEZ!

  • http://www.mattmillerspoliticalblog@blogspot.com Matthew Miller

    Just in case someone didn’t believe me about the Mexican drug gangs, watch this video:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QpukG6bCSmE
    Again, its not about being against Mexicans in general, but there is a security issue here that needs to be addressed to stop the few bad apples who are taking advantage of our bad policy.

  • Gale Dominick

    I noticed that every time I go to the doctors and hospitals there are more foreigners there that have great jobs and foreigners can start a small business and pay no taxes, that is quite unfair, we should all be equal and have a chance to better ourselves!

  • John Corteo

    Alittle one sided on the economic analysis, these folks are piped in to quite a few freebis and low cost services because of their “status”, this has been fairly well documented and proved out over the last couple years. The American populace isn’t exactly getting something for nothing here. On the social front, many of them are very insular and are not assimilating well into ‘our’ culture.
    The onus is on them to adapt to our country not vice versa. Chavez you are quite defensive. As far as the other ethnicities, now that you mention them, the same applies(much smaller numbers though, less of an urgent situation).

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