The first few verses of Chapter 20 of Exodus provide for us what is know as the Ten Commandments. Many places in our country have argued, sued, and protested about whether these ten commonsense rules should be displayed in the public arena. Many folks really believe that these ten rules are the basis of their idea of essence of our country. But just like those who pounce upon verse 22 of the 18th Chapter of Leviticus to forbid homosexual activity, ignoring the other 29 verses that deal with all sorts of other sexual activity that is prohibited, few people recognize that these first 10 rules are only part of what Exodus 20 has to say about moral conduct. Folks ought to read Chapters 21 - 23 as well to get the full effect of the rules for life provided by the LORD God to the Israelites at Mount Sinai.
I find it interesting, if not amusing, that folks who clamor for the posting of the Ten Commandments are the most vocal about our current situation of immigration in the country. The point that I'm trying to make is that Exodus 20-23 provide a whole lot of rules from the LORD God about how to conduct ones life, individually and in society, and actually touch upon this issue of immigration. Here are a few select verses from Exodus that relate to this topic:
20You shall not oppress or afflict a resident alien, for you were once aliens residing in the land of Egypt.
9You shall not oppress a resident alien; you well know how it feels to be an alien, since you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt.
As one reads all of these four chapters, one gets a better understanding of the purpose of these Commandments. One readily can see that relationships and concern for the less fortunate are extremely important part of this new Covenant with the Israelites. It suggests to us that if we believe that the first 17 verses of Chapter 20 are so important, the remainder really should carry the same weight, simply because all four Chapters are included in the instruction provided to the tribes of Israel for their betterment.
How we apply this to our current situation as Christians is really a simple matter. The first emotion should be mercy. Many folks are distraught about how these immigrants take away American jobs. Part of the problem is that we blame the wrong people. These needy folks wouldn't get the jobs if they weren't hired in the first place. So, the problem is not the folks looking for work, it's the people hiring them in the first place and the rest of us demanding very low costs for our food, housecleaning, construction, and a whole host of items.
It seems that everyone wants to look the other way about these employers who actually are violating US employment laws. So, the solution begins with shutting down the supply of jobs in the first place. Do you really think that folks would flock here if there were no jobs for them and no governmental assistance as a result?
But, more importantly, the Commandments cautions us to "not oppress" the immigrant. We must provide a sane policy for people to immigrate to our country and with a compassion and mercy that to this point has been ignored - especially all those whom we have allowed to come here to take those "illegal" jobs.
What are you going to do - send back 11 million people to their countries? I don't think that anyone in their right mind can think that this government will pay for such a reverse migration. Besides, unless we deal with the source of the jobs, it won't do any good.
Let's be fair to all of those people: they are not illegal people, the jobs they have are illegal - and we have allowed, even encouraged, this to happen. We must find a compassionate and merciful way to allow those folks to incorporate themselves into this society.
Now, for those "cheap" jobs. So, if "they" are taking those jobs, then our society has to figure out how to stop it.
- First, those jobs need to made legal by at least conforming to the employment laws of the states and nation.
- Then, we would need to provide some means for relocating those citizens on welfare to those jobs or find some other way to get the millions without work and the available jobs together.
I suppose that we could implement a "Great Depression" style migration policy. But part of the reason for many of our governmental program was because of the disaster that befell so many people in the 30's. But some compassionate means of getting the two together must be managed.
And let's face it, some people really ARE disabled and can't work. Jawing on about their unwillingness isn't going to change the status of a paraplegic or a stroke victim. Remember - mercy and compassion!!!
Not a comprehensive plan, but a recognition that WE (the entire US society) have caused the problem ourselves and the folks who are here are not at fault for doing what we do every day: try to improve our economic future for ourselves and our children.