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A new film and website produced under the aegis of the relief arm of the National Association of Evangelicals touts the pro-amnesty cause to young evangelicals. Called, Undocumented.tv, the film and website explain that their advocacy for the “undocumented,” i.e. illegal immigrants, is premised on “Caucasian evangelicals” being “especially obligated to speak for those who cannot speak.” It also explains that illegal immigration ostensibly facilitates evangelism in the U.S. and it notes that since white evangelicals “mostly sat out” the 1960’s era Civil Rights Movement, “we don’t want to make the same mistake” on what could be “the great justice issue of our time.”
But “justice” for whom? Undocumented.tv seems largely aimed at upper middle class, educated, white evangelicals who are slightly guilty about their privileges and are atoning through amnesty advocacy. All immigrants, whether legal or illegal, and no matter where they are from or why they came to the U.S., are characteristically lumped together, with their political and economic interests portrayed as interchangeable. Do legal immigrants as a whole favor mass legalization for all illegal immigrants? Does a legal immigrant Indian engineer have the same opinions as a Sudanese political refugee or an illegal laborer from Mexico? Or are these questions irrelevant in terms of what may be the ultimate goal: easy good feelings for aspiring social activists in search of a “justice” cause.
Like most Evangelical Left amnesty advocacy, Undocumented.tv largely avoids specifics, especially statistics. The U.S. accepts about 1 million legal immigrants every year. Almost 40 million Americans currently are immigrants who gained legal status. Most legal immigrants every year involve family reunification, for which there is virtually no ceiling, at least for immediate family. Only a small minority of legal immigrants annually fit professional job quotas, are refugees, or are seeking asylum. Current U.S. immigration policy, which accepts more immigrants every decade than the total population of most states, is extraordinarily generous. It is not particularly focused on attracting highly educated, easily employable immigrants who quickly benefit the U.S. economy. Instead, it prioritizes family reunification, and to a much lesser degree, refugees and asylum seekers.
Few of any of these details interest the conscience salving political advocacy of liberal evangelicals. Their amnesty advocacy would primarily privilege Latin American illegal immigrants, especially Mexico and Central America, over virtually all other immigrants. Mexico and Central America are not as wealthy as the U.S. but neither are they among the world’s poorest nations. Immigrants from those countries currently are typically not fleeing political or religious persecution. The vast majority of illegal immigrants from that region want jobs with better income, plus the social services and overall standard of living that accompany residency in the U.S., even for the “undocumented.” Their desires are humanly understandable. But a purely humanitarian immigration policy would prioritize immigration from much poorer nations, especially those dealing with famine or extreme political or religious persecution. An immigration policy purely focused on U.S. national interests might prioritize highly educated immigrants expert in highly desirable professional fields.
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