(Getting ready to preach April 15 I sent this to the Goshen News, they published it, now I’m waiting for some replies. I like sermon prep:)
I’m surprised that in discussions about our broken immigration system some Christians say the law of the land should always be obeyed. If they have Isaiah 10 in their Bibles, that would make it clear that the law can be wrong, unjust, immoral, oppressive . . . And I hope they are in church April 15 when the lectionary reading includes Peter and the other apostles breaking the law, then breaking the law again, then explaining simply, “We must obey God rather than any human authority.”
I’m trying to remember if any of the disciples and apostles DIDN’T break the law. Give me that old-time religion … Paul and Silas did their jail time. Keep your eye on the prize . . . Oh, yes, of course, the civil rights movement, and I guess even the signing of the Declaration of Independence, those broke the law, too. On the other hand, everything Hitler did was legal.
When the law is immoral, breaking the law is the right thing to do; our current immigration laws are immoral. Our immigration law discriminates on the basis of race and wealth, no one denies that. The problem with illegal immigration is not immigrants wanting to break the law, it is a law that doesn’t allow a legal option for too many people in desperate poverty. We don’t need amnesty for the immigrants so much as we need repentance for our own lack of compassion.
It’s wrong to say “they should come legally” when we whites (immigrants ourselves) have invaded, colonized, drawn the border and changed the laws to make legal immigration for the poor of Mexico and Central America all but impossible. Laws aren’t fixed, they change all the time, and what is illegal today may be legal tomorrow. It’s time for us to be changing the law so that they can come legally, and get drivers’ licenses and car insurance and jobs legally. Registering and legalizing migrants would cost far less and be more humane and Christian than our current harassment approach, and would be better for the economy – allowing undocumented immigrants to register and become citizens would be in our national interest.