There are times in life when my ideology conflicts with my ethics leaving me quite a conundrum. Illegal immigration is one of those issues for me, specifically, the children of illegal immigrants. It all made perfect sense until I had to deal with the issue first hand, until I met a man who was brought here at a young age by his parents illegally. He has been in the USA for most of his life: he graduated from an American high school, he works for an American company, he speaks perfect English, he has married an American woman and has an American child.
This man is no more Mexican than I am. Except for the color of his skin, he is a complete stranger to Mexico. He doesn’t know their laws. He doesn’t know their customs. He is culturally an American.
Now this problem certainly can be fixed by reducing illegal immigration in the first place. I’m not arguing that we should not control our borders in some way. However once immigrants are permitted to raise their families here, we create a true ethical dilemma. Is it right to deport the children of illegal immigrants who broke no laws, who are culturally American, who are law abiding citizens, who are integrated into our society, and who desire to make a healthy contribution to our country?
Ideology works overtime to make issues black and white, but rarely is real life so cut and dried. The man I met has a path to citizenship because he is married to an American citizen, but what about all those people who are not married? They are forced to lie on job applications. They must pay extra to attend our colleges and universities. They live in fear of the government and police. They can apply for citizenship once they are eighteen, but that process may actually get them deported.
People of God must not act unjustly to people because their parents broke the law. People of God must not blindly follow ideology despite the Christian ethic. People of God must not put policy before people in matters of government. The problem of illegal immigration is very complicated and simple answers simply won’t do for those of us who profess to follow Jesus.