Land: Moral solution needed for immigration

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by gb93433, Mar 30, 2007.

  1. gb93433

    gb93433
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    http://www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=25293

    Land: Moral solution needed for immigration
    By Tom Strode
    Mar 30, 2007

    WASHINGTON (BP)--Southern Baptist ethics leader Richard Land called March 29 for Congress to approve comprehensive reform legislation that addresses the immigration problem in a "moral way."

    Land joined Hispanic evangelical Christian leaders and members of Congress in a Capitol Hill news conference calling for a law that secures America's borders and outlines a firm process for illegal immigrants to earn citizenship.

    The Senate and House of Representatives both passed bills in the last Congress to address the illegal immigration problem. The differences in the two measures were stark, leaving both dead and the question of how to deal with an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States unresolved when the congressional session concluded

    ", consistent with national sovereignty and with our security, to find a way to resolve this moral problem in a moral way consistent with the ideals of our nation," said Land, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. "This is a profoundly moral issue, and it goes to the core of who we are as Americans."

    During the news conference, Land read most of the SBC's 2006 resolution on illegal immigration. That measure, approved by an overwhelming majority of the messengers, urged increased border security and enforcement of the laws, while encouraging Christian outreach to immigrants regardless of their legal status.

    For a year, Land has promoted an approach that includes controlling the borders, enforcing immigration laws inside the country and no amnesty for law breakers. He also has said reform should consist of a "guest-worker" program that calls for illegal immigrants to undergo a criminal background check, pay a fine, agree to pay back taxes, learn English and apply for permanent residence behind legal immigrants after a probationary period of years.

    He told reporters after the March 29 news conference he is "not supporting any particular legislation. The legislation that will pass is still out there waiting to be written." He also told Baptist Press the bill that evangelicals will support has yet to be written.

    Critics of comprehensive legislation have said the proposals amount to amnesty for illegal immigrants. Land rejected that label.

    To call proposals that would require a person "to learn to read and write and speak English and ... go through a series of processes to earn your way off sort of a probationary period to earn legal status and citizenship" amnesty is "to do violence to the English language," Land said at the news conference.

    Samuel Rodriguez, head of the country's leading Hispanic evangelical Christian association, said at the news conference the network of churches and leaders does not support amnesty.

    "We support an earned pathway to citizenship," said Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference. "We support a pathway that will include demonstrations of proficiency in the English vernacular, civic classes, paying penalties and fines for breaking the law."

    Such a process could take "10, 12, 13, 14 years possibly," he said.

    Land also said at the news conference, "We don't want to have the World Series where you have to have the national anthem sung in Spanish and English, the way it is in French and English in Canada. That's why it's important that people learn to read and write and speak English as part of the process of becoming part of the permanent fabric of this nation."

    He said Southern Baptist churches can make a major difference on the problem by initiating English classes. Last year's SBC resolution encouraged churches to begin such classes "on a massive scale."

    Of the problem, Sen. Edward Kennedy, D.-Mass., said at the news conference, "In Boston at the present time, you have to wait three years to be able to get into a class to learn English. It's 15 months in Phoenix, 14 months in Dallas."

    Land predicted a majority of Southern Baptists and other evangelicals will support reform that is truly comprehensive. "They will not embrace reform that is not to securing the borders," Land told reporters after the news conference. "But if the government they are serious about securing the borders, they will embrace comprehensive reform."

    Kennedy, the leader on immigration reform in the Senate, has yet to introduce a version this year. He said at the news conference negotiations are still going on among Senate Democrats and Republicans, as well as the White House. "e have every intention" of considering comprehensive reform on the Senate floor, "hopefully in the next short period," he said.

    Reps. Luis Gutierrez, D.-Ill., and Jeff Flake, R.-Ariz., also spoke at the news conference, one week after they introduced the latest version of comprehensive immigration reform in the House.

    Also speaking were Sens. Lindsey Graham, R.-S.C.; Robert Menendez, D.-N.J., and Ken Salazar, D.-Colo., as well as Gilbert Velez, senior pastor of Mercy Church in Laredo, Texas.

    The Senate approved in May a bill intended to secure the border with Mexico but also with provisions that would establish a guest-worker program and enable most illegal immigrants to enter a process to become citizens. Some House Republicans and other conservatives charged it would provide amnesty to those who are in this country illegally.

    The House version, which was passed in December 2005, focused on border security and enforcement against illegal immigrants and those who aid them. Hispanic leaders and Senate Democrats sharply criticized it as lacking in compassion.

    Last summer, the Senate appeared to move toward the House position to some extent. For instance, senators voted 94-3 to fund the construction of 370 miles of fencing and 461 miles of vehicle barriers on the United States-Mexico border.

    The standoff on the issue, Rodriguez said at the news conference, has resulted in "polarizing communities, separating families and provoking 12 million people to hide deeper in the shadows of our society, and jeopardizing our heritage as a nation of laws and a Judeo-Christian ethos. We need to protect our borders, and we need to stop illegal immigration. Yet there is also something that is not tangible that we must similarly protect: our values and our faith narrative."
     
  2. GLL

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    I find it baffling that our lawmakers keep emphasizing the word reform. Just what is wrong with our current immigration laws? Any immigrant in America will tell you the current laws are tuff but fair and takes a period of 5 years before you can even apply for citizenship. And in that time you must have aquired a poficiency in English, learned the history of our country, and denounce your citizenship of the country you came from and take an oath of patriotism to America. It also includes a background check. It is no free ride. I think the real message here is clear. Apparently the old laws have been suspended for our fine Mexican neighbors but apply to everyone else. We cant even leave the country without a passport anymore. The irony here is I now have to have a passport to enter into Mexico and Canada where I never needed one before. I don't blame the mexicans for wanting to come here. I've been to Mexico. The conditions there are deplorable. If I was a Mexican faced with the same choice I'd make a run for the border too as long as they were letting us in. Forget about reform. Enforce the laws we had.
     
  3. preachinjesus

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    It doesn't take a genius to realize our immigration and naturalization policies are really messed up right now. There has been little to no modification to the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1978 and there certainly needs to be...I don't dispute that at all.

    While our country, and many of our churches, was built on the labors and sweat of immigrants most of them were legal immigrants. The current state of illegal immigration very troubling.

    That said...

    Dr. Land is going way too far in attaching political thought behind his religious convictions.

    He doesn't speak for me and, frankly, most Southern Baptists. The linking of SBC life with the Republican agenda is a pox on our fine convention and he is, imho, perpetrating an assault against the Church by doing this. The worse thing to happen to Christianity, historically, is when the line between (legitimate) separation of church and state has been blurred and nationalism has been blended with Christianity.

    Dr. Land is wrong to make these statements from his position. The Church should be going out of their way to help and nuture any person that comes their way, this does not do that. Rather it flies in the face of care and concern. Christians aren't called to be police or judge and jurry of a nation (Romans 13 clearly abdicates that authority) nor are we to refuse assistance to someone based on the legality of their residence. We are to love, not shun. Dr. Land is leading churches to shun.
     
  4. gb93433

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    It is not the laws which are the problem. It is the folks in Washington. Why do you think they are allowing such capitalistic ventures today? It is all about making huge amounts of money. You could not go to another civilized country and see the things we are experiencing in America.

    Another point is that there are cities which employ the illegals which would be severely impacted by the loss of them. There are cities where over ½ of the population work for American companies doing manual labor. If the illegals were deported the local economy would leave the towns with nothing. The large companies employing those workers would be forced to leave. Several months ago it was reported on the news that this was the case in cities in Nebraska and Iowa.

    The problem is not recent but about 40 years old.
     
    #4 gb93433, Mar 30, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 30, 2007

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