New Evangelical Left Film for Amnesty

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Somewhat illogically, Undocumented.tv, like its patron, the National Association of Evangelicals, mostly wants to ratify the status quo, legalizing ever larger numbers of unskilled Latin American immigrants, heedless of the consequences.  This initiative, focused as it is on emotional appeal rather than facts, emphasizes the evangelistic opportunity of large-scale immigration to the U.S.  But Christianity, especially its evangelical variant, is dramatically growing in Latin America and virtually everywhere around the world, except for Europe and oppressive Muslim countries.  Christian evangelism hardly depends on unlimited immigration to the U.S.   When Undocumented.tv does try to assert facts supportive for its political cause, its claims are suspect.  Its website asserts immigrants, in a typical lifetime, pay $80,000 more in taxes than they cost in government services.  First, the website does not distinguish between legal and illegal immigrants, nor between skilled and unskilled immigrants.  Secondly, it seemingly contradicts other data.  A 2007 Heritage Foundation report showed that low-skilled immigrant households, of whom 40 percent were illegal, each cost nearly $20,000 in government services more than in all taxes paid.

Undocumented.tv celebrates that immigrants, including the “undocumented,” present a “beautiful, missional opportunity for the Church.”  Undoubtedly they do.  It rightly asserts that immigrant churches in the U.S. are among the fastest growing.  Many evangelical groups, the vast majority of whom are not political, commendably extend their ministry to immigrants, whatever their status.    But does Christian ministry automatically equal political demands for automatic mass legalization?   What would the unintended consequences of such a policy be, for our nation as a whole, for legal immigrants, for native-born unskilled workers and the unemployed, or for aspiring immigrants from around the world?   Undocumented.tv avoids these questions. It also does not explain HOW MANY illegal immigrants must be legalized, or how much higher legal immigration must be increased, because full social justice is purportedly secured.

Should America’s current annual rate of 1 million legal immigrants be doubled, tripled, or quadrupled?  Or should there be no cap at all?  Does it matter who the immigrants are, what their skills are, or where they come from?  Should all the benefits and social services due to U.S. citizens be automatically extended to all immigrants, immediately?  Who will pay for that?  Might the economic and political consequences ultimately backfire in ways that hurt everyone, including immigrants?

A spokesman for Undocumented.tv, in a recent commentary for Jim Wallis’s Sojourners approvingly cited  a New York Times declaration  that evangelicals are the “secret weapon” for liberalizing immigration policies.  Overwhelmingly conservative U.S. evangelicals, with their proclivity for common sense and upholding the law, are mostly resistant to mass legalization.  Projects like Undocumented.tv are supposed to corrode that resistance.  However polished, Undocumented.tv and similar political advocacy seem unlikely to fulfill the high hopes of The New York Times.

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  • davarino

    Why dont all the "religious" organizations pool together to help these ailing nations come out of third world status by reforming their governments and economies. No, they dont want to do that hard work, they want someone else, like me, to just give them a handout and let them in the country without doing the right thing.

    Thanks for your caring at my expense.

  • Maya

    Religious fanatics like these people are destroying this country. Many Americans and legal immigrants suffer because of their evil work. The quote in the article that “Caucasian evangelicals” are “especially obligated to speak for those who cannot speak.” is laughable! The main stream media can't stop putting out sob stories for ILLEGALS. Our government taxes pay to support racists groups like ACORN and La Raza. These mixed up evangelists are destroying our beautiful nation by assisting in the invasion from south of the border! Despicable people all!

    • Stephen_Brady

      You may consider these people to be "religious fanatics", and you are entitled to your opinion. But you need to understand that there are more than one kind of evangelical.

      The article speaks primarily about the Left evangelicals, who would be very happy in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) …. a church which ordains homosexuals, or the American Baptist Association (ABA), to which Bill Moyers belongs. These "evangelicals" are spreading the gospel, this is true, but it is a gospel of fellow-travellers and Marists.

      I am an evangelical, and I am ABSOLUTELY opposed to amnesty. Don't allow your religious biases to paint all evangelicals as "fanatics".

  • Questions

    I have found that evangelicals, with few exceptions, have a fatal sentimentality that renders them incapable of looking at power struggles, domestic or global, through a prism of realism. Even the ones on the Right, with their instaiable desire to foster conversions among backward Third World heathen, simply cannot imagine a world where biological, cultural and linguistic strangers come to the U.S. with the intent of doing us harm.

    The whole idea of the nation-state is predicated on the idea that humans, unencumbered, can and will do fatal harm to each other — and that enforceable borders ("good fences") can minimize that risk. Christian radicals on the Right and Left alike are worse than useless on the immigration debate; they are anti-American, even as they proclaim the best of intentions to fulfill America's promise.

  • JohnRalph

    I also don't agree with amnesty.

    Signers of the Declaration of Independence were Anglicans (Episcopalians) over half, Congregationalist, Presbyterian, Quaker, Unitarian, Lutheran and Catholic. None of which adhered to "adult" baptism. Also, the reason the issue of separation of church and state even exits is because of Jefferson's letter to the "Baptist" at Danbury, Conn. Assuring them that what many churches believed was their heretical form would be protected.

    To all Fundamentalist or Pentecostal so called Evangelicals, Jesus was about six feet tall half black American and half white American with straggly blonde hair and weighed over 400 pounds, just like most of them. The Four Gospels are not Mathew, Mark, Luke and John but rather football, pro wrestling, NASCAR racing, country and rap music.

    • Jon Alan

      JohnRalph, I feel vey sorry for you as you must lead a miserable existance. I am a fundamentalIst evangelical Christ follower of many decades and I can assure you I dop not fit into your descriptipn of "all fundamentalists". Not only have you missed the target you are firing off your miserablness in entirelty the opposite direction.

  • cynthia curran

    Well a good member of rigth wingers like RIchard Land singed with Jim Wallis on legalizing of illegal immigrants. Personality, right wing politicians have also with their brethren on the left help the caused of legalizing illegal immigrants, both the left and right are at fault. Wall Street journal as bad as Sojourers.