Within chapter five Jackson and Perkins address the issue of immigration. This chapter contains the legal issues of immigration in addition to the biblical views of immigration. Once the limits of the issue are set Jackson and Perkins discuss seven principles within this issue they believe need to be addressed. Seven topics within immigration are: Enforcing security at the borders, help in assimilation to American life, reward counties attempting economic reform, attempting to keep families intact, minimize chain migration, guest workers programs, places illegal’s in a country while they are applying for legal papers. Some of these principles are in the center of the discussion in the government while others are not discussed. This chapter attempts to address the issue of immigration in a very limited amount of space.
This chapter begins with several stories of which are explaining the Harry Jackson’s life experiences with immigration. Examples are very effective when attempting to obtain the authors state of mind. The examples given are people who had been deported due to paperwork problems, a man who was qualified to be a church elder but was not given the position due to his immigration status, a young women who had seen her family killed and cam seeking asylum but was put in prison. All of the examples were because of problems in the immigration laws. “Part of the problem with immigration policy today is that we have not had a consistent, coherent philosophy of immigration in the past.”
Chapter five then continues into listing fifteen different laws dealing with immigration between 1882 and 2003. Several of these laws would be nice if the book gave a bit more of an explanation. Several of these laws provide advantages to citizens of some countries while placing restrictions on others; see the Johnson-Reed Act of 1924. The result of the poor legislation is “This unclear, back-and-forth government policy has created national disunity, a shadow economy, and broken families.” While “Many Americans feel that our country is being overrun by illegal immigrants and that our government is standing idly by.”
The biblical view on immigration is defined after the legal issues are addressed in the chapter. Jackson and Perkins list seven bible verses regarding to the immigration issue. All verses used are in the Old Testament, the majority of the verses are referring to the Israelites in Egypt. “The scriptures that speak of the plight of immigrants often address how the domestic poor should be treated as well implying that both groups often lack the means to defend themselves from exploitation.” Most often the immigrants “are desperate or see no other options to better their lives.” So the church needs to reach out to the legal immigrants and elect people who wish to reform the immigration process.
When it comes to border security Jackson and Perkins address the issue of security at the nation’s borders. They acknowledge the issue needs to be addressed but they are torn by the legality of the issue and the plight of the immigrants. “Our nation has provisions for those who are fleeing persecution and for immigration by people who follow legitimate processes. But there is no legal way to justify the brazen, dangerous act of violating our country’s borders.” They also propose attacking this issue from a different approach, “We need to take away one of the major reasons for illegal immigration—the ability to send large sums of money back home to family and loved ones.” Border security has not yet been attacked in this manner it is worth the effort of the government.
America has been referred to as a giant melting pot because in the past immigrants have accepted American culture and contributed to the culture. In modern America, there are little different racial areas of towns. Immigrants, “They must become part of the American family, and to do that they must actively assimilate.” This means they must follow the laws of America and become a “part in the fabric of the American family.”
Jackson and Perkins also propose the Government should be given to a “favored nation”; this nation would be based on economic reform occurring in the country. “These reforms would include fiscal policy and entrepreneurial incentives that seek to remedy poverty, the root cause of illegal immigration to the United States.”
Many families are broken up when a parent comes to the United States to gain a larger income. There are many pregnant mothers who attempt to cross the border when nearing their due date because the child will be an American citizen and she is eligible for residency when the child becomes 21 years old. The authors have a different opinion “Babies born to people here illegally should not automatically be citizens.” Chain migration is also a way in which families are broken up.
Chain migration “means by which aliens are permitted to immigrate because previous adult immigrants who now have gained citizenship send for their adult relatives.” These people are generally elderly adults who will need medical attention sometime in the near future, who lack medical insurance. Resulting in a heavier load on the emergency medical services; and the tax payers who pay for the emergency health care.
Guest worker visas are something in which both the current President and both authors support. There should be limitations placed on such a program according to Jackson and Perkins. “However, such guest-worker programs should be nonrenewable and nonadjustable, confined to a period of two years.”
Third-country resettlement is the last topic, this topic the writers do not seem to be pro or con. This issue does not seem plausible because of the same questions the authors ask, “What country is willing to take illegal aliens from the United States?”
This chapter overall did a good job addressing the issue of immigration and the biblical view on immigration. Out of the seven topics Jackson and Perkins picked from within the immigration issues very few solutions were proposed to the problems. In conclusion, when voting the religious right needs to take into consideration the candidate’s opinions on immigration policy. The point was also made of how much of an opportunity it is for Christians to witness to the diversity of cultures within the United States.