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The current crisis at the border due to the influx of thousands of young people and some children has tugged at our heartstrings, and rightfully so.
The U.S. is a welcoming country. We grant permanent legal status to a million applicants a year and temporary visas to countless others as tourists, students or the much abused H-1B program where businesses import workers claiming they can’t find qualified U.S. citizens to fill their job requirements. In addition, we admit thousands more as refugees fleeing persecution based on religion, race, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group.
Despite what you may have heard, the illegals crossing our southern border do not fall into the refugee category. Most are from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. The problems in these countries are nothing new. All of these governments receive aid from the U.S. but they are inept and fraught with corruption.
Most of the young people who are showing up at our southern border are there because of the unwillingness of this administration to enforce our immigration laws and the mixed messages being sent on amnesty, particularly for the young.
In August 2013, the administration issued an order through Immigration and Customs Enforcement called the Parental Interest Directive. It essentially prevents agents from detaining anyone who is the caretaker of a child. As a result, many innocent children are being exploited, brought here as a way to bypass the system and, worse, used as human shields by those who want to harm us.
This has to stop!
Some are misusing the Christian faith, taking passages from the Bible out of context in an effort to support the recent influx of lawbreakers. As Christians, we are commanded to help the poor. However, the Bible also tells us that the poor will always be with us.
Compared to our southern neighbors, the U.S. is a rich country, even though we are in debt (which is not biblical) up to our eyeballs, much of it to communist China. We simply cannot absorb all the poor people in Central America. So the question becomes how can I best help the poor in these and other poorer Third World countries?
One thing is sure. We cannot help the poor in other countries by destroying our own.
According to the Bible, our first responsibility is to take care of the poor within our own family. It doesn’t matter why they are poor. Our responsibility is to help them get back on their feet and many times that involves education and some discipline. Then, the Bible instructs us to care for the poor among us. This does not include lawbreakers.
We are a country of laws. Without laws, we have anarchy. Paul, the primary author of the New Testament, was a Roman citizen. In Romans 13 he writes, “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities.” And in I Timothy, he writes that the law is for the “lawless and disobedient.”
Our policy and the lack of enforcement are subjecting young Central American children to kidnapping, harm and even death. We know these people are here illegally. We don’t need the judicial system to make that determination.
The Bible says that if anyone allows a child to stumble, “better a millstone be hung around his neck and be thrown into the sea.”
The most humane thing we can do for the children on our southern border is to set up processing centers in their countries of origin and safely return them to their relatives along with instructions on how to legally apply to become a U.S. resident.
The Bible also says, “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.”
If we allow these children to stay, we are teaching them that it pays to break the law.
Want to help children in Third World countries? Educate them in their home countries. Then, they will have the will and the means to change their governments. This is possible through many worthwhile Christian organizations. I work through Childcare Worldwide.
No, you cannot solve the problems of every poor child but you as an individual can help one or more so “don’t grow weary of well-doing” (Galatians 6:9).
Unfortunately, governments often use their power to do wrong. In a republic, we the people are, in effect, Caesar. We are responsible for the actions of our president and our elected representatives. They are our employees. As citizens, we have a responsibility to give them direction and, when they do wrong, we have a responsibility to remove them.
Media wishing to interview Jane Chastain, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.