Immigration reform is a contentious issue in today’s political arena. To discuss Christians’ role and views on comprehensive reform, a panel of Evangelical experts weighed in on the subject during Thursday evening’s episode of the Glenn Beck Program.
For his part, Richard Land, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberties Commission, said he is all in favor for comprehensive immigration reform but does not support amnesty. Learning to speak English, passing a background check, waiting at least 13 to 17 years.
“That may be many things, but amnesty it is not,” Land said of the 11 million illegal immigrants currently residing in the U.S. While some tell Land that it is “wrong to break the law” his response is that it is equally wrong to “not enforce the law” for all of these years.
Yuri Mantilla of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference said, as human beings “created in God’s image,” the issue of immigration should transcend borders. However, due to the sinful nature of people, Mantilla maintains that it is important to secure the border and build fences while at the same time giving opportunities to those 11 million here in the U.S.
Providing a counterbalance was Rick Scarborough, president of Vision American. His view is that America must be a country of laws and believes that amnesty (his view of immigration reform), the “essence of what America is a bit is eroded to a degree.”
The country, Scarborough maintained, was founded by Christians who struggled about how to build the best government possible — which in turn meant “less government.”
“I find it disappointing that we are turning to government for a solution to this.”
Jim Robb, vice president of operations for NumbersUSA, believes immigration reform is an “ill-considered” idea.
“Unfortunately, all the 11 millions who are not felons will be legalized in six months. It’s irrevocable unless they are felons…it’s not called a green card yet but its a provisional legalization that, according to the law…cannot be revoked.”
Beck said his position is informed by his faith, which states that people deserve a chance, and even help from the faith community, but must go through proper legal channels.
The panel then went on to debate the ins and outs of comprehensive immigration reform, from work permits to self-deportation: