Kevin’s Conversations: Why A Wall?

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38 Responses

  1. Michael says:

    Well done, Kevin.
    The wall is a symbol…and for some, the symbolism is worth whatever it costs.
    In all the coverage of this, no one is paying attention to the trial of El Chapo…where once again it has been testified that the corruption in Mexico goes right to the top.

    https://news.vice.com/en_us/article/439k4n/el-chapo-witness-claims-mexicos-former-president-took-a-dollar100-million-bribe

    Anyone who’s read any material on this is not surprised…Bowden and others documented these claims years ago.

    We pretend that the corruption has left our side of the border untainted…

  2. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Decriminalize all drugs – that will take care of one border issue.

  3. Duane Arnold says:

    Kevin

    Very good and very helpful. I would only take issue with one point – “There is no question that the United States has an illegal immigration problem.” I would say we simply have an immigration problem. I’ve helped friends from Europe through the labyrinth of regulations on “immigrant status”, “non-immigrant status”, etc. These are people with higher degrees, specialized skills, etc. I have seen it take years in some cases. I’ve often thought, if these people have problems like this, what of those who are poor and escaping desperate situations? It seems the system is badly broken…

  4. Kevin H says:

    Thank you Michael & Duane.

  5. Kevin H says:

    MLD,

    Decriminalizing drugs is worth considering. It would bring with it many ramifications, but yes, it would potentially improve border issues.

  6. Kevin H says:

    Duane,

    I would agree with you about the “immigration” problem. I chose to use the word “illegal” in my description because I was meaning more than what is thought of as the typical “illegal immigration” problem. I was considering things like our convoluted and ever changing rules and regulations that make some people “illegal” even when they weren’t intending to be. And also how our restrictions and choices as to who we currently let into our country give encouragement and impetus to many to enter “illegally”. All of these things considered were what I was thinking as being part of our “illegal immigration” problem. I probably could have been more clear about this.

  7. Duane Arnold says:

    Kevin

    Not a criticism, in the least. I just find so many people who think that if you’re a well educated West European, then “legal” immigration is no problem. That is simply not the case. The whole system is broken.

  8. Em says:

    I don’t see how our Christian faith can overlay the world or even the United States dynamic… We should live it, yes, but can we impose God’s will on a world that gravitates to evil naturally?
    It has been said here, more than once i think, that the world demographic is shifting. It is shifting away from national sovereignty at present or so it seems to me.
    However, Scripture indicates that there will be “kings of the earth” right up to the end. And historically, haven’t nations always had border crossing rules?
    So?
    So it seems to me that we may worry/focus on a dynamic that really isn’t Church business. I used to think that taking church kids on mission junkets tended to create in them feelings of superiority as much as it did provide acts of charity. Now i think that it has also created in the recipients a sense of entitlement to the same benefits that their U.S. Christian brothers and sisters go home to. It seems that most here agree with their conclusion…
    And so? So i guess that does make us a Christian nation. Are we? 🙋
    However, i do agree with Dr. Duane that the system is broke…

  9. Kevin H says:

    Em, certainly we can’t impose God’s will on the world. But I do believe any action we take in trying to influence the world or our government or in likelihood in most cases, just our peers, we should be doing through a filter of considering the things of God first before anything else.

  10. Em says:

    Thank you, Kevin… much to think on includling that filter… 😔

  11. Jean says:

    Christians, who are born from above, are renewed and are being renewed, with the will of God, through the Word of God by the power of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, a Christian, insofar as he or she is renewed, walks (i.e., lives) in the will of God, as His image bearer in and for the world.

    Let’s not devise a neo-Manichaean Christianity.

  12. Em says:

    Okay. What’s a “neo-Manichaean?”. 🙆

  13. Jean says:

    Another way of looking at temporal issues is through the incarnation. God coming down to man, uniting Himself to flesh and blood in order to redeem and renew both man and all of creation. Do people here see the first day of new creation in the incarnation?

  14. Jean says:

    Kevin,

    Thank you for your article and being vulnerable on a hot button issue.

    If you opt to write further on the issue, please consider adding your thoughts on what our country might invest in to improve conditions in the home countries of these immigrants and why we might have a responsibility in that regard.

  15. Ray says:

    The question was: Why a Wall?

    The answer is obvious: Because they work…very effectively and efficiently in the long run. In the case of the 2000 mile U.S. southern border in 2019, a wall is the only thing that will truly work…if your goal is to stop illegal crossings.

    Of course, many people don’t really want to stop the illegal crossings. That’s where the system is broke.

    A country is not a country without border control and it’s enforcement. I know it’s becoming out of fashion to some…but I like the idea of countries myself. I sort of think God does too (see Genesis 11)

    The world consists of what…6 billion people or more? I would guess that possibly 3 billion or more of them are economically or politically distressed and would like to live in the U.S.

    Should they all be let into the U.S.?

    If not, why not, if the acceptable criteria is economic and political distress?

    If not 3 billion, then how many? And why is that number appropriate or fair?

    Is it fair that Latin Americans have a far greater advantage than say Africans just because of their proximity to the vast open areas of the American border?

    Of course not. The only truly fair way for everyone is an orderly LEGAL immigration system, perhaps based on merit. For we must also be fair to the American taxpayers (yes, they deserve fairness too) and have immigrants coming in that will be able to support themselves and succeed in their new country.

    Just trying to be fair to everyone as is possible.

  16. Babylon's Dread says:

    I miss Ronald Reagan

  17. Michael says:

    Ray,
    The effectiveness of walls is open to debate.
    After two decades of research on this matter I’ve encountered very few people who were in favor of open borders and unlimited immigration.
    Very few…fewer than I can count on on one hand.
    So far, I’ve encountered none opposed to nations at all.

    No one is advocating that 6 billion people relocate here.
    Some of us are advocating that we look at the reasons for migrations, assess our responsibility for them in this hemisphere and act with wisdom.

  18. Michael says:

    Jean,

    Who here was expressing neo-Manichaean theology and what the hell does the doctrine of new creation starting at the Incarnation have to do with this conversation?

  19. Em says:

    @ 2:59
    Sometimes Michael makes me smile. 😇

  20. Michael says:

    Bowden, 2008:

    “There are three things that must be faced on the line. The federal agents are being corrupted by the money of drug smuggling and people smuggling. The flow of people is far greater than acknowledged (there is a village just across the wire from the Buenos Aires that handles between 600,000 and 800,000 migrants a year—and it is one little dot on the map of a border almost 2,000 miles long). And finally, this is not a bunch of workers simply coming north to toil a few months; this is an exodus of men, women, and children from nations that cannot feed them or clothe them or educate them.This is the true face of the global economy, and it is killing the land all along the border, ground already savaged by a change in the weather as global warming proceeds.

    Think of a giant ecological shift. Streams of one species, Homo sapiens, are moving into the
    United States in order to survive. The land they cross is pulverized, just as once the great herds of bison thundered across the plains and left trampled earth in their wake. Nothing can alter these facts so long as jobs exist in the United States.
    No level of terror—not the agents, nor the rapes, the murders, the painful deaths from thirst in the desert—nothing will deter a person who has no future in his homeland and can hear a fine future whispering to him just across the wire. Any serious effort to make migrants unemployable and to deport them will result in a meltdown in Mexico.

    What we are witnessing is the most successful antipoverty program in the world—past or present.
    What we are witnessing is a movement as relentless as the migration of plants and animals as they flee the new infernos of global warming.
    What we are witnessing is a response by governments that is as dishonest and pointless as
    the fabled campaign to contain African bees.

    We are witnessing the future, and for all living things, the future is the only place to go. Others
    will talk of worker permits or growing the economy or securing our borders. They are not part
    of the future. Nor are they honest about the present. The poor crossing right around me have a solid sense of reality, and this reality is hurling them into our nation and our land.
    They are not terrorists, and they are not political. They are desperate. I spent last summer on the line, in a house 200 yards from a Border Patrol highway checkpoint.
    Helicopters would swoop low along the creek almost every day. Mexicans would come up for food
    and water after their trek into El Norte.
    One day, I handed out a bunch of canned goods to some hungry migrants. When I apologized
    for not having a can opener, one man in the party told me not to worry.
    “How will you open the can?” I asked. He smiled as he leaned down, grabbed a stone, and with a
    swinging motion showed me that the future cannot be denied. Then they marched off into the desert for another thirty miles of their journey.”

  21. Kevin H says:

    Jean,

    Thank you for your words to me. As to our country helping to create some of the conditions in these countries that then causes immigrants to want to flee and come here, I do agree they exist and I imagine there could be things we could do differently to help improve them. At this moment, I don’t think I’m knowledgeable enough to write in-depth on the subject, but it certainly is another aspect of this whole issue.

  22. Kevin H says:

    Ray,

    Michael has already responded to you mostly what I would have said.

    One thing I often find from those who are in favor of the wall are the arguments that it’s obvious or a no-brainer that walls work and also the tired argument of, “We just can’t let them all in.” These are both incorrect and/or dishonest arguments.

    To repeat some of the things Michael already said, the truth is that it is not so obvious that border walls work. Ask any honest historian who studies such things and they will tell you that throughout history, border walls have been a mixed bag of effectiveness, both functionally and economically.

    Additionally, very few people are making the argument that we should just let in anybody who wants to come in. I’m certainly not. This is just a dishonest argument unless you’re speaking to someone who is actually advocating for totally open borders.

  23. Kevin H says:

    BD,

    Speaking of Reagan, the rhetoric of this current Republican president and much of the party has deviated greatly from the rhetoric of Reagan and the party at that time on illegal immigration.

  24. Jean says:

    Michael,

    I was responding to a comment above: “So it seems to me that we may worry/focus on a dynamic that really isn’t Church business.”

    In my reading of the NT, Jesus went around healing the sick and diseased, feeding the hungry, creating wine for a wedding feast, raising the dead, and preaching good news to the poor. His incarnation demonstrates God’s commitment to his creation and Jesus’ ministry was not just spiritual, but physical and down to earth.

    I don’t agree with the idea that there are aspects of life that are non of the Church’s business. That to me represents dualism. We can disagree on policy, and some will disagree on what the mind of Christ is (or how many minds he has 🙂 ), but to me His mind is as clear as crystal that the things Kevin objected to in his article regarding de-humanizing immigrants or treating them as political pawns in a political game is shameful, and IMO Christians should unite around those atrocities and if we are to err, the Christian thing to do IMO is to err on the side of mercy.

  25. Em says:

    Jean, my comment that you took exception to was misinterpreted somewhat…
    I was referencing the building of border barricades …
    You used that as a springboard to t he mind of God? Of course humanity is a prime concern in His design – as is Christian charity

    Did Jesus sit with and counsel Caesar? Herod? Pilate? Did they ask his advice? “What is truth?” Was rhetorical, i believe. 😏

    Yes, the Church has a mission, but it is not reformation of today’s world systems…

    no matter, the more clarity the better, God keep

  26. Michael says:

    Jean,

    While I might agree with you on this, I’m also well aware that most of the evangelical church does not.
    Why they do not is as mysterious to me as any spiritual paradox.
    Were it not for the young ones I love, I would shut up and let the inevitable result happen…

  27. Jean says:

    The church has a mission, which seeds society with Christians, who bear His image. His image leavens society in a positive way, which benefits the whole, when Christians conduct their lives faithfully in any and all lawful vocations to which they’re called.

  28. Jean says:

    Thank you, Michael.

  29. Em says:

    I think that most here do not see a thousand year reign of Christ as the correct interpretation of prophesy. Does this color the view that contemporary world systems of government and power are part of the Church’s ministerial duty?

  30. Michael says:

    Em,

    I think Christ is ruling and reigning now, but not to the full degree that he will upon His return.
    We are to be representatives of another kingdom, an echo of a world to come.
    Thus, we speak the heart and ways of God to every person and institution.

    I know that every one of these articles will cost me and that hatred of the stranger will only increase…but I have to be faithful to my calling and my God.

  31. Michael says:

    Em,

    My guess is that a majority of our readers share your eschatology, but don’t want to fight about it with those who don’t.
    I think my view of the kingdom and our function in it still applies.

  32. Em says:

    Well, His kingdom isn’t of this worlf, but He does rule it and, no matter your interpretation of the wind up of history, He will, in the end, be the only One, Who rules….

  33. Em says:

    Michael, yes,, i do see in prophesy the logic of a removal of the Church before a specific period of God’s wrath on the earth (some days it feels like we’re very close to that event) and a reign of Christ over the mortal earth following this making sense. While the idea that i was first taught that we go along as we are now and, suddenky, God destroys the world as we know it doesn’t fit the view that i have developed over the years of God’s character, i am aware that His ways and thots are beyond my frame of reference. So? So one side or the other will be surprised one day. … We need Romans ch. 3 in the marrow of our bones… the rest will … rest 😉 as best we can grasp it all or so it seems to me….

  34. ClockworkAngel says:

    Well balanced post, on the whole, but one nit-picky thing: Jobs Americans won’t do? There have been jobs I’ve wanted to do because I was poor, but wasn’t allowed to do because I wouldn’t work under the table. I once got let go of one for demanding my W4 form. I feel that this is a terrible excuse bandied about for the current conditions.

    I come from a largely blue collar family, pro-union. Some vote Democrat, some Republican. Some are Christian, some aren’t. But what they all have in common is that employers don’t want to pay their payroll taxes anymore, and as such are shoving out the citizens from jobs in favor of immigrants who work under the table. It’s all about cost cutting. We can’t realistically talk about immigration without talking about employers’ motives. Some members of my family have lost their jobs repeatedly to immigrants over this, and have even gone homeless for a time. They had to flee their right-to-work state to get to a union state to find work. Even then, it’s only a matter of time before that state changes, too. In my own state, the influx of immigrants into the unions themselves has caused an oversupply of workers, such that the unions do not have negotiation power to get higher wages. Such a skewed supply-demand of workers to jobs creates situations where safety laws are ignored and workers end up being abused–including citizen workers, who have to put up with it if they want a job at all. After all, there are 1000s of illegal immigrants who can replace them at the drop of a hat, or so they’re employers will tell them.

    When the Republican party acts all pro-immigrant, it’s not because they’re compassionate to their plight. It’s because they represent the businesses who want cheap labor, who are dodging their payroll taxes and ignoring safety laws. It’s for these the same reasons these employers relocate overseas, so they can prey on desperate people who will do anything for a job. Is it any wonder that Foxconn was reported some years ago to have suicide nets outside their buildings, to catch the despairing employees who got tired of the long hours and not having much of a life? (I’m referring to the company that assembles things for Apple and Samsung.)

    We need to address moral responsibilities for businesses, both at home and abroad. They are in exploitation mode right now. They do not care for the citizens, nor for the illegal immigrants. I also don’t feel it needs to be a zero-sum game when it comes to citizens vs. immigrants. Wouldn’t it be better if the immigrants didn’t have to flee such poverty in the first place? Why not use the USA’s trade leverage to pressure nations such as Mexico and Honduras to treat their citizens better?

    Just some thoughts, from someone who sees things from the blue collar perspective–a perspective oddly missed by our media, as it was the blue collar demographic that really put in Trump out of sheer desperation. One would think people would listen to us if they don’t want another Trump.

  35. Kevin H says:

    CWA,

    You bring up a good and valid point as to how employers are contributing to our immigration problems by paying low wages under the table. This is something that needs to be rectified. I would be of the mind that we should first reform our immigration laws to make them less confusing and easier to understand and follow, to be more compassionate to many of those already here, and to allow greater opportunity to come legally. After this is done, then I think we should become more consistent in enforcing our laws, and that would include clamping down on employers who would continue to try to pay undocumented immigrants low wages under the table.

    One point of clarification from my article. I had stated that many of the undocumented immigrants do jobs that “most” Americans won’t do. Certainly there are cases where they are taking jobs that some Americans would be willing to do. But I think there has been more than enough documented data and evidence that shows that in many instances employers rely on undocumented immigrants because they can’t find enough of an American work force to do the job. Yes, sometimes the lack of a American work force may have to do with the employers only offering low wages under the table, but many other times employers have ended up going this direction because of an inability to find enough workers the “legal” way. In many other cases, the undocumented immigrants are even hired “above the table” (by means of them using a fake Social Security number) and are fully paying taxes and Social Security. And they are able to get these jobs because of a lack of Americans applying for them.

  36. ClockworkAngel says:

    > And they are able to get these jobs because of a lack of Americans applying for them.

    Ah, but is the reason Americans are not applying for these jobs because employers refuse to negotiate wages based on supply/demand? I posit that wages would go up for these jobs Americans don’t want if employers had to try to be more persuasive as to why Americans should want to work there. That’s proper capitalism, in action. Employers want to cheat capitalism (or whatever you want to call it) by skewing the supply/demand ratio of jobs to workers. I don’t mind legal, seasonal workers for farm work and such to a degree, but I often suspect employers’ motives when they haven’t even tried terribly hard. Certainly not where I live. Incidentally, I once knew a young lady who needed a job badly and wanted to pick lettuce. She could not get work for it, except from a racist bigot who hated all brown-skinned people (legally here or not). How sad that she had to work for a racist before she could get a job picking lettuce!

    As to using an SSN and still paying taxes, yes that sometimes happens. But sometimes the IDs used are from perfectly alive, existing people who then end up with terrible headaches. And, in many cases, they are using the IDs to collect government benefits. Rather awkward when you to apply and supposedly you’re already collecting. Having your ID stolen is no fun. Speaking of which, I once had a coworker whose wife’s ID was stolen and used to take out a mortgage on a house. They were living in an apartment all the while, daydreaming of the day they could get their own house. I can only imagine what that did to ability to get a mortgage. (And no, the police would not do anything about it, even though they knew where the woman lived. “Not our jurisdiction,” they said.) My goodness, what if that woman with the mortgage took off and left my coworker’s wife to deal with it? I could imagine that wrecking her credit score, for starts.

    I do agree that our immigration laws are a tangled mess. I’d like to reform those, and likewise start cracking down on employers, as well as the various government aid/welfare offices that hand out the bennies. My Mom has MS, and has watched in the office while waiting her turn to apply for state disability (state level) undocumented immigrants get things handed to them with only a single page form to fill out (if that), while she was grilled mercilessly with a much larger form. Huge double standard! I suppose I’ve digressed a bit, but I have loads of stories from my family and those we’ve known.

    Thanks for listening! This is a wonderful, and very irenic discussion!

  37. Em says:

    Clockwork, many honest people can tell stories such as you relate… Do we blame those who are coached (they are) on how to game system or do we blame those in charge of all these, supposed, benefits for needy folk? I think the latter, myself…

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