I wanted to take today to address the current Immigration issues that have been haunting us for quite some time. The news and photos you have seen over the last week have been but a symptom of a deeper problem we’ve had for years, a lack of compassion in Immigration Reform. This is a far cry from what our founders and leaders of the past have envisioned for this country. This is a far cry from the heart of God.
When I say a lack of compassion, what exactly do I mean?
Compassion takes into account the human side of this issue. It takes into account the why. Why are people coming to this country along our southern border in large numbers? They are refugees fleeing corrupt, unstable governments and the violence that has plagued those countries for years. They are fleeing the drug cartels who would rather kill you as much as look at you just for being on the same street where they live. They are fleeing corrupt police and government officials who would sell their soul and yours for money, power and favor with criminal enterprises. Do you see what I’m getting at here? They are not fleeing because they want to, they are fleeing because it’s either flee, die or worse be sold into some sort of sex or labor slavery. They are fleeing some of the most hideous evil this planet has seen in the 21st century, evil that remains unchecked and unchallenged (another issue entirely). Oh but for the grace of God America we would be in the same circumstance! I beg you to open your eyes!
Compassion requires that we see beyond just the letter of the law. The letter of the law kills in time and it kills compassion completely in favor of control. Compassion requires that we overhaul immigration reform. Our president began this process yesterday with an executive order ending the policy of separating families during in-processing, a policy that was without compassion and without honor. This policy was started under the Clinton administration and was a bad idea from the start - bad advisement to him and the Congress at the time as far as I’m concerned. Congress and the president must continue the immigration reform process, this can’t stop with one executive order. They must also look at overhauling the process of those seeking asylum; from the reasons for asylum to the judges granting the asylum. Judges who will be fair must be in place to hear what these desperate people have to say. Asylum seekers must be afforded the opportunity to become citizens and their financial status taken into account to do so. Let me say here, I am not asking for no standards to be in place nor for us to grant asylum to gang members and criminals – it is fairly evident when you are dealing with them. I am asking for opportunity for families and those seeking a better life and better work to have the opportunity to have that in America because they can’t have it in their own country. That is their reality.
This government and administration must also overhaul how they house and care for these families while they are in government custody until hearings take place. As it stands now, government officials can’t interact with upset family members and children. Children can’t be comforted nor can other family members. Ladies and gentlemen, this is not compassionate care – this is hands off care, making it easier to see these people as less important than you or I. Hearings must be fast tracked so that the holding of families can be as brief as possible which would save the American tax payer a lot of money. Fast-tracking hearings would also allow our government to identify potential criminal elements and deal with them in a much more efficient way. We can have compassionate immigration reform, keep our country safe from criminals and save money, it is all possible.
God loves our southern neighbors. That is a fact none of us can change. God has given America an opportunity to shine His light to these people who have endured so much just to get here. We will have to look past our petty politics and our differences to see what we must see, that they too are made in His image and in his likeness, just as Pastor Jentezen Franklin said on CNN the other day. I want to thank pastors like Jentezen Franklin, Franklin Graham, our former First Ladies Laura Bush, Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama and many others for speaking out against the policy of separating asylum-seeking children and families. Our voices were heard! Let us continue to be the voice of compassion Church! My prayer is that our government will see and hear the voice of the people and lend its ear to the voice of Jesus when he said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
With much love and hope for our neighbors,