- I believe in secure borders and that every nation has the right and responsibility to secure its own borders. I have traveled all over the world and if I don’t have the proper passport/visa, then I fully expect to be detained and jailed if I am trying to enter a country illegally. I am not debating that.
- The current immigration situation and political debate is important, but it is not the main thing right now when it comes to these children. Why have they come? What is President Obama’s responsibility? What happens if they stay? All of these questions are secondary. In some of my training on development work, I have learned that you have to differentiate between disaster response and development work. Disaster response is what you do when the hurricane or earthquake has hit. You help everyone you can and provide aid, food, shelter, and comfort. You don’t ask questions. You just help. Development work is what you do when there is an ongoing problem. You look for long-term solutions and you are careful not to create dependency. There is a completely different metric at work. The situation with the children at the border is “disaster” not “development.” The long term immigration problem is “development.” So, different problems lead to different solutions.
- We have to differentiate between the political debate in Washington over immigration and the actual children in need right now. News erupted today in Alabama that immigrant children were headed to Maxwell AFB in my city of Montgomery. The report proved to be premature, but response from many in Alabama was that we do not want them here. Our own Congresswoman Martha Roby released a statement saying that the children were not wanted under any circumstances at Maxwell. The question that I have for Congresswoman Roby is, “does caring for children in need temporarily pose a national security threat to America? Does it make our nation weaker or stronger?” She is representing the view of many of her constituents in Alabama who have made their voice heard today saying, “Send the children away! They are not our problem!”
- I am not suggesting that the children should stay in America or that they should never be sent home. Rep. Roby says that we should “send them home with care.” What does that mean? If Lackland AFB in Texas, where many of the children are, is overwhelmed (as are other facilities), then is it not caring for the children to put them in good environments for a time until we can figure out what to do with them? I do not think that they should just be unleashed upon America with no families or support structure, but should they not be compassionately cared for now, until we can find permanent solutions?
What would Jesus say about our attitude toward children in need? That is what matters.