End Evangelical-Supported Immigration Callousness

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So many Trump administration atrocities, so little time.

As I pondered my next post for On the Fence Voters, I was torn between three possibilities, each equally disturbing. Ultimately I chose to address White House Senior Adviser Stephen Miller’s announcement of the likely second-term Trump administration immigration policy—should the nation’s foremost bigot gain a second chance at ripping the nation asunder.

More specifically, I want to consider white evangelicals’ contributions to such a policy, and why their current Trumpist views are at odds with the Bible, with the nation’s best interests—and particularly their own best interests. (I hope to address the other two topics soon.) But first, a quick summary of each of the key elements of Stephen Miller’s ideas.

Miller’s Dreadful Designs

In an October 29 interview with NBC News, “[Stephen] Miller outlined four major [immigration] priorities: limiting asylum grants, punishing and outlawing so-called sanctuary cities, expanding the so-called travel ban with tougher screening for visa applicants and slapping new limits on work visas.” In other words, more of the same xenophobic policies, with an emphasis on more.

Regarding an immigration freeze, “…the administration has sought to amend the Flores agreement, which says children can’t be held over 20 days in Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention. If it succeeds, immigrant families could be detained indefinitely as they await their day in immigration court.”

Regarding asylum, “On Trump’s watch, asylum grants have plummeted. Miller wants to keep it that way.”

Regarding sanctuary cities, “Miller said, Trump would push for legislation filed by Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., which would punish jurisdictions that refuse to turn over arrested people who are in the U.S. illegally to ICE for deportation. Second, Trump would go a step further with a law to ‘outlaw the practice,’ thereby making it mandatory for authorities to turn those migrants over to the feds.”

Regarding an extended travel ban, “ Miller said another priority would be ‘building on and expanding the framework that we’ve created with the travel ban, in terms of raising the standard for screening and vetting for admission to the United States.’”

Regarding work visas, “Miller said a second-term Trump administration would finalize efforts to curtail use of guest-worker programs like H-1B visas, including by eliminating the lottery system used in the process when applications exceed the annual quota and by giving priority to those being offered the highest wages.”

White evangelical protestants are the most likely to show no empathy for refugees.

According to a Pew poll conducted in 2018 and published in 2019, “By more than two-to-one (68% to 25%), white evangelical Protestants say the U.S. does not have a responsibility to accept refugees.” That figure—68 percent—is the highest of any surveyed demographic. White evangelical protestants are the most likely to show no empathy for refugees. As I mentioned above, white evangelicals’ views are at odds with the Bible they claim to follow and with their own best interests. Meanwhile, here are…

Four Reasons Why America’s Evangelicals Should Welcome More Central American Immigrants

1.      To mitigate the effects of our nation’s fertility rates. The significant reduction in fertility in the U.S., if not offset by enhanced immigration or greater worker productivity, puts Social Security and Medicare at risk. But productivity growth has often lagged behind the improvements seen in previous recoveries, and the prospects for increasing immigration seem dim. 

a. By U.S. standards, American evangelicals are not wealthy. Most are in lower-to middle-income brackets. They depend on the solvency of Social Security and Medicare to see them through their final decades. If not for immigrants paying into those social programs they likely will become insolvent. So evangelicals should favor increased immigration for selfish reasons.

b. Interestingly, prior to the 2016 elections, many conservative news outlets—such as NewsMax, Daily Signal, and Focus on the Family—where I worked for many years—were making this argument.

2.      To increase the conservative voting bloc. Central Americans tend to be socially conservative. Most value strong families. Most have a strong work ethic. The one issue that keeps many Latinos away from the Republican Party is its harsh policies on immigration.

3.      To simplify evangelism. Evangelicals are famous for declaring the importance of Jesus’ Great Commission quoted in Matthew 28:19-20, which says, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” If the unevangelized come here, the going part of that command is much simpler and less expensive. Go across town or across the street rather than to an entirely different country to make disciples.

4.      To obey the Bible, which calls believers to welcome foreigners and reach out to the poor and oppressed. (See Leviticus 19:33-34; Exodus 23:9; Deuteronomy 10:19; Malachi 3:5; Psalm 146:9; Philippians 2:4; Galatians 2:10; Galatians 6:2; Galatians 6:10; Romans 12:10; Proverbs 21:13; James 1:27; Proverbs 19:17; 1 John 3:17-18; Proverbs 28:27; Galatians 5:14, and many more.)

Yet, despite the advantages listed above—which I’ve suggested to my fellow evangelicals—most refuse to budge on their call for strict immigration measures. And that seems to indicate that most white evangelicals are more interested in preserving a white majority than in following logic or in obeying the Bible they claim to follow.

Once again, the only explanation I can find for such a frustratingly cruel, stubborn, and self-defeating stance is that my people—white evangelicals—have given themselves over to a mind-numbing, heartless cult, a cult that must be defeated through the election a few days from now. Vote!

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