Immigration Two-Step

While Arizona burns, Congress fiddles.

OK, maybe that’s a bit harsh, but I can’t get over the political games being played with a vitally important issue: how do we deal with illegal immigration?

The state of Arizona, tired of the federal government’s lackadaisical approach to border control, enacted its own, admittedly tough, immigration enforcement law.

The Justice Department has sued, saying the state is stepping on sacred Federal ground.

And Democratic governors are furious at the Administration. And what are they angry about? That the Administration is suing the state? No. They agree with the administration. They’re angry that the Administration is suing now…just months before the crucial midterm elections. As one governor told the New York Times, the issue is “toxic” for Democrats.

Now, think about it for a minute. They think Arizona’s law is unjust. But, it seems, they value their political careers more than their political principles.

And don’t think I’m picking on Democrats. The Republican Congress had its chance to pass meaningful immigration reform during the Bush Administration, but they stood up to their own President and made passage impossible.

Could it be that both sides find the issue more beneficial to their political aspirations than a solution to the problem?

This should not be. Both sides agree that the current system isn’t working—and that the consequences are serious. Illegal aliens (lacking a path to legal immigration) are flooding across the border, creating a humanitarian and security nightmare, overloading social services, hospitals, schools, you name it.

In recent testimony before Congress, Tuscon bishop Gerald Kicanas urged Congress to break the “partisan paralysis” and get serious about “comprehensive immigration reform.”

He’s right. But take any major issue facing the country today: Immigration, cap and trade, stimulus packages. The response is driven more by the political calendar than it is by a desire to serve the common good. And that, my friends, is what’s poisoning our national politics.

Make no mistake, many members of Congress feel conflicted. Running for office is an extraordinarily expensive proposition these days. So along come the special interests who provide campaign funds in return for favorable votes. And that doesn’t matter whether they are pro- or anti-immigration groups or business interests that find illegal aliens a cheap source of labor. They provide the money.

Nonetheless, if the alternatives are, one, “serve the common good and place your political career on the line” or two, “delay justice until after the next election, or the one after that,” the choice is clear.

Now, that raises the question of how to best serve the common good when it comes to immigration reform. So I want you to go to today and watch my “Two Minute Warning.” I talk about the biblical principles that should guide the immigration debate—and I want you to read a superb article on that topic written by theologian T. M. Moore. Again, that’s at

For the sake of the nation, our leaders must quit dancing around the issue of illegal immigration. Figure it out. Get it done.

For those of us who are Christians, the Bible gives us great wisdom.

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