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					Welcoming the Stranger:
Justice, Compassion, & Truth in the Immigration Debate
                        Welcoming the Stranger:
                        Justice, Compassion, & Truth in the Immigration Debate




Four Fundamental Questions
• Do I know any immigrants?
• Am I thinking about this issue as a Christian?
• Do I have my facts right?
• How should I respond?
                  Welcoming the Stranger:
                  Do I Know Any Immigrants?




Do I Know Any Immigrants?
• Liuan’s Story
                              Welcoming the Stranger:
                              Am I Thinking about This Issue as A Christian?




Am I Thinking about This Issue As a Christian?
Three Reasons that Christ-Followers Need to Care
1.   It is a Biblical Issue
2.   It is a Church Issue
3.   It is a Missional Issue
                        Welcoming the Stranger:
                        Am I Thinking about This Issue as A Christian?




A Biblical Issue
Many of the Characters in the Biblical Narrative Were Immigrants
        Abraham                  Immigrant
        Rebekah                  Family-Based Immigrant

        Jacob                    Refugee

        Joseph                   Victim of Human Trafficking

        Ruth                     Family-Based Immigrant

        David                    Refugee

        Jesus                    Refugee / Celestial Immigrant

        Paul                     Employment-Based Immigrant
                       Welcoming the Stranger:
                       Am I Thinking about This Issue as A Christian?




A Biblical Issue
God has a Special Concern for the Immigrant
•   Ger, the Hebrew word in closest to ―immigrant‖ in English,
    appears 92 times in the Old Testament
•   Immigrants are afforded equal treatment in God’s Law
    ―The same law applies to the native-born and to the alien [ger]
    living among you.‖ (Exodus 12:49)
•   God’s Law for the Israelites mandated that the native-born and
    the immigrant be treated equally, with the same rights and
    responsibilities
                            Welcoming the Stranger:
                            Am I Thinking about This Issue as A Christian?




A Biblical Issue
God Commands the Israelites to Remember Their Own History
•   ―When an alien lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him. The alien
    living among you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as
    yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt. I am the Lord.‖ (Leviticus 19:33-34)
•   ―Do not oppress an alien; you yourselves know how it feels to be aliens,
    because you were aliens in Egypt.‖ (Exodus 23:9)
•   As American Christians, we do well to remember our histories
    as well—both as spiritual ancestors of the Israelites and as
    children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren of immigrants
    to the United States
                              Welcoming the Stranger:
                              Am I Thinking about This Issue as A Christian?




A Biblical Issue
God Recognizes the Immigrant as Particularly Vulnerable, Along
    with Orphans and Widows
•   ―He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien,
    giving him food and clothing.‖ (Deuteronomy 10:18)
•   ―The LORD watches over the alien and sustains the fatherless and the
    widow.‖ (Psalm 146:9)
•   ―Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor.‖
    (Zechariah 7:10)
•   ―I will be quick to testify against… those who defraud laborers of their
    wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive aliens of
    justice.‖ (Malachi 3:5)
                             Welcoming the Stranger:
                             Am I Thinking about This Issue as A Christian?




A Biblical Issue
God Not Only Loves Immigrants, He Legislated Rules to Ensure that
Their Needs Were Met
•―When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back
to get it. Leave it for the alien, the fatherless and the widow, so that the LORD your
God may bless you in all the work of your hands. When you beat the olives from
your trees, do not go over the branches a second time. Leave what remains for the
alien, the fatherless and the widow. When you harvest the grapes in your vineyard,
do not go over the vines again. Leave what remains for the alien, the fatherless
and the widow.‖ (Deuteronomy 24:19-21)
                        Welcoming the Stranger:
                        Am I Thinking about This Issue as A Christian?




A Biblical Issue
Immigrants Are Our Neighbors
•   The second great command is to ―love your neighbor as
    yourself.‖ (Luke 10:27)
•   A legal scholar asks Jesus, ―Who is my neighbor?‖
•   Jesus responds with the story of a man who cares for a
    traveling stranger, of a different ethnic group, in need
•   Whatever our approach to immigration policy, we are
    commanded to view immigrants themselves as our
    neighbors—with love
                               Welcoming the Stranger:
                               Am I Thinking about This Issue as A Christian?




A Biblical Issue
Christians are Called to Hospitality
•―I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me
something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and
you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came
to visit me… I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these
brothers of mine, you did for me.‖ (Matthew 25:35-36, 40)
•―Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have
entertained angels without knowing it.‖ (Hebrews 13:2)
•Scripture challenges us to think that immigrants—rather than aliens to be feared—
might actually be a blessing
                              Welcoming the Stranger:
                              Am I Thinking about This Issue as A Christian?




A Biblical Issue
Christians are Called to Submit to the Law
•―Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no
authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have
been established by God.‖ (Romans 13:1)
•For the US citizen, there is no conflict between welcoming immigrants and
following the law (at least in most states)
•Scripture makes clear that there are certain instances where ―we must obey God
rather than men.‖ (Acts 5:29)
                             Welcoming the Stranger:
                             Am I Thinking about This Issue as A Christian?




A Biblical Issue
Christians are Called to Submit to the Law
•Undocumented brothers and sisters need to wrestle before God with their situation
    •Many came out of desperation, seeking to provide for their families, and
    Scripture tells us that ―if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and
    especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than
    an unbeliever.‖ (1 Timothy 5:8)
    •Most undocumented immigrants within the Church are eager to get right with
    the law, but current law does not allow for this reconciliation
    •Our current immigration system—where laws are selectively ignored—mocks
    the ideal of the rule of law; we can all advocate for a more functional system
                              Welcoming the Stranger:
                              Am I Thinking about This Issue as A Christian?




An Issue for the Church
How Many Churches Are There in This City?

• Biblically, there is one Church— ―one Body, one Spirit, one faith, one baptism, one
God and Father of all.‖ (Ephesians 4:4-6)
• Each part of the Body is interdependent on each other part, so no part can say to
another part that it is unneeded (1 Corinthian 12:14-25)
• Whether we see it or not in our own local church, immigrants are a large and ever-
growing element of evangelical churches in the United States
• In fact, research by Dr. Todd Johnson at Gordon-Conwell Seminary suggests that
immigrant congregations are the fastest growing segment of evangelical churches
in the U.S.
• ―If one part [of the Church] suffers, every part suffers with it.‖ (1 Corinthians 12:26)
                            Welcoming the Stranger:
                            Am I Thinking about This Issue as A Christian?




A Missional Opportunity
•Jesus commands us to ―make disciples of every nation‖ (Matthew 28:19)
•With immigration, the nations arrive at our doorstep, representing an enormous
missional opportunity
•The movements of peoples are part of God’s sovereign plan to draw people to
Himself
    •―From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the
    whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places
    where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps
    reach out for him and find him.‖ (Acts 17:26-27)
                            Welcoming the Stranger:
                            Am I Thinking about This Issue as A Christian?




A Missional Opportunity
•Missiologists have found that immigrants are among the most receptive groups of
people to the gospel
•But, unfortunately, research by the Billy Graham Center suggests that fewer than
1 in 10 immigrants is welcomed by an American, to say nothing of a Christian
•Our attitude toward incoming immigrants—whether a posture of welcome or of
scorn—will determine how they hear the gospel that we proclaim
                             Welcoming the Stranger:
                             Do I Have My Facts Right?




Who Are These People?
•Immigrants are anyone born in one country but now living in another
•There are about 37 million immigrants currently living in the U.S., representing
about 12% of the total US population
•Of those, approximately
    •35% are naturalized citizens
    •33% are Lawful Permanent Residents
    •2% are in temporary legal status
    •31% are present unlawfully
                          Welcoming the Stranger:
                          Do I Have My Facts Right?




Who Are These People?
•Major reasons immigrants come (legally or illegally):
  •Economic Opportunities
  •Family Reunification
  •Freedom from Persecution or Danger
                              Welcoming the Stranger:
                              Do I Have My Facts Right?




Who Are Undocumented Immigrants?
•According to Department of Homeland
Security statistics, there were 10.8 million
undocumented immigrants living in the US
as of January 2010
•Between 40% and 50% of undocumented
immigrants entered lawfully, with a non-
immigrant visa, but then overstayed; the rest
crossed a border illegally
                          Welcoming the Stranger:
                          Do I Have My Facts Right?




Who Are Undocumented Immigrants?
•Most come from Latin America, but there are also millions of
undocumented Asians, Europeans, and Canadians
   •1 in 5 Korean Immigrants is Undocumented
   •1 in 6 Filipino Immigrants is Undocumented
   •1 in 8 Asian Indian Immigrants is Undocumented




                           Graphic courtesy of the Pew Hispanic Forum, 2006
                                     Welcoming the Stranger:
                                     Do I Have My Facts Right?




   What Are Some Common Myths and
   Misunderstandings about Immigration?
•Myth: Immigrants today are different than those of past generations who
came the legal way
•Fact: Our federal immigration laws have changed dramatically, such that there is
presently no line to get into to migrate legally for many would-be immigrants
    • Prior to 1882, there was no illegal immigration because there was no federal immigration law
    • Even through Ellis Island—from 1892 to 1924—98% of immigrants were admitted and there
    was no requirement of a visa
    •Now, lawful immigration is tightly limited by law and usually possible only for:
        •Close relatives of US citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents (sometimes with long backlogs)
        •Limited numbers of highly-educated employer-sponsored immigrants (but only 5,000 employer-
        sponsored visas annually can possibly go to those not ―highly-skilled‖)
        •A fraction of one percent of the world’s refugees, fleeing persecution (not fleeing poverty)
        •Winners of an online lottery (odds about 1 in 300), but only for certain countries
                                Welcoming the Stranger:
                                Do I Have My Facts Right?




What Are Some Common Myths and
Misunderstandings about Immigration?
•Myth: Undocumented Immigrants do not pay taxes
•Fact: The Social Security Administration estimates that 3 out of 4 undocumented
immigrants have payroll, Social Security, and Medicare taxes deducted from their
paychecks
•The Social Security Administration has received as much as $12 billion per year in
recent years in withholdings that do not match a valid Social Security number,
mostly from undocumented immigrants
•Many undocumented immigrants file taxes each year using an ―Individual Taxpayer
Identification Number‖ (ITIN)
•But they are ineligible to benefit from Social Security or Medicare, and from almost
all federal public benefits (food stamps, welfare, subsidized housing, etc.)
                              Welcoming the Stranger:
                              Do I Have My Facts Right?




What Are Some Common Myths and
Misunderstandings about Immigration?
• Myth: Immigrants are a drain on our economy
• Fact: Almost all economists—44 out of 46 surveyed by the Wall Street Journal—
agree that immigration (and particularly illegal immigration) has benefitted the U.S.
economy
• Immigrants generally fill holes in our labor market—at both the high- and low-ends
of the educational spectrum—complementing the work that US citizens do
• Immigrants also contribute as taxpayers, consumers & entrepreneurs
• Immigrants do bring costs (public education, emergency healthcare, public benefits
for US citizen kids), but they are outweighed by the economic & fiscal benefits
    •The Cato Institute found that, over the course of a lifetime, the average immigrant
    will pay in $80,000 more in taxes than he or she takes out in benefits & services
                              Welcoming the Stranger:
                              Do I Have My Facts Right?




What Are Some Common Myths and
Misunderstandings about Immigration?
•Myth: Immigrants are not integrating into our society
•Fact: Immigrants bring strong values and integrate into our communities
    •As compared to native-born US citizens, Hispanic immigrants are:
        •More likely to attend church on a weekly basis
        •More likely to be married and less likely to get divorced
•Immigrants tend to have a very strong work ethic, with labor participation rates
amongst undocumented adult males of 96%
•Immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than native-born US citizens, and are
significantly less likely to be imprisoned
• As has always been the case with immigrants to the US, immigrants are striving to
learn English; by the second-generation, 88% of Hispanic immigrants are fluent
               Welcoming the Stranger:
               How Should I Respond?




 How Should I Respond?
•Prayer
•Listening
•Education
•Advocacy
•Service
•Evangelism
                                 Welcoming the Stranger:
                                 How Should I Respond?




 How Should I Respond?
Prayer
•Scripture tells us to ―pray without ceasing‖ (1 Thessalonians 5:17) – so prayer
should be at the beginning, middle, and end of our engagement with this issue
•We are called to pray ―for kings and all those in authority.‖ (1 Timothy 2:1-2)
•This issue is a huge issue, and none of us has the authority to change the
structural problems in the immigration system… but God does
    •―The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it… wherever he
    pleases.‖ (Proverbs 21:1)
•We can pray in particular for
    •Immigrants in our community
    •Our churches, for wisdom and courage in engaging this issue
    •Our legislators and the President, for wisdom and courage to pass just laws
                               Welcoming the Stranger:
                               How Should I Respond?




 How Should I Respond?
Listening
•We need, first and foremost, to listen to what Scripture has to say that relates to
how we interact with immigrants.
    •There are also many books and other resources to help us understand this
    issue better
•We also need to listen to our immigrant brothers and sisters to really understand
this issue
    •Building relationships between immigrant and non-immigrant churches and
    leaders helps to facilitate listening
    •Volunteering as an ESL tutor or ―Friendship Partner‖ allows for relationships
    with an immigrant where listening is possible
                             Welcoming the Stranger:
                             How Should I Respond?




 How Should I Respond?
Education
•Encourage your local church to get involved. Churches could
    •Ask a pastor of a nearby immigrant congregation to share with their
    congregation
    •Dedicate a Sunday School class, missions conference, or Sunday sermon to
    looking at immigration in Scripture
•World Relief or other ministries that work with immigrants may be helpful in
connecting churches and individuals with volunteer opportunities that can facilitate
mutual learning, and in providing educational resources
                             Welcoming the Stranger:
                             How Should I Respond?




 How Should I Respond?
Advocacy
•There are plenty of important ways that we should love our neighbors on an
interpersonal level—that’s most of the missional work we do
•But when systemic injustice is at the root of a problem, loving our neighbor means
advocacy as well
    •―On the one hand, we are called to play the Good Samaritan on life's roadside,
    but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole
    Jericho Road must be transformed so that men and women will not be
    constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life's highway. True
    compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an
    edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.‖ (Martin Luther King, Jr.,
    April 1967)
                           Welcoming the Stranger:
                           How Should I Respond?




 How Should I Respond?
Advocacy
  •We are called to ―speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves.‖
  (Proverbs 31:8)
  •Practical ways to advocate
     •Sign up for regular updates of what is happening in Washington
         •Send an email to advocacy@wr.org
     •Call your Representatives and Senators
         •Find your home state Representatives and Senators by visiting
         www.votesmart.org
     •Organize others to call, write to, and/or meet with their legislators
     •Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper
     •Register to vote and vote!
                               Welcoming the Stranger:
                               How Should I Respond?




  How Should I Respond?
Service
    •While immigrants are a diverse group economically, many are among the poorest
    people are in society, with many human needs
    •You could get involved by volunteering
        •Serve as an ESL tutor or a ―friendship partner‖ for a newly arrived refugee
        •Help immigrants fill out paperwork for naturalization at church-based citizenship
        workshops

Evangelism
•As we befriend, serve, and advocate with immigrants, we have the opportunity to share
the gospel, the good news of a transformative relationship with Jesus Christ
                                  Welcoming the Stranger:
                                  How Should the Government Respond?




   What About the Government? How Could Our
   Legislators Respond?
Mass Deportation
   •Would cost between $80 billion and $200 billion just to remove everyone,
   •Plus, economists estimate it would cost the U.S. Gross Domestic Product $2.6 trillion over
   10 years in lost economic activity
   •Challenges of many ―mixed status‖ families, with US citizen spouses, children, or parents
Amnesty
   •Could send the message that breaking the law is okay
   •Might encourage future unlawful immigration
―Attrition through Enforcement‖
   •Enforcing current employment authorization laws fully now, so that unemployed immigrants
   will be starved out and ―self-deport‖
                                  Welcoming the Stranger:
                                  How Should the Government Respond?




   How Could Our Legislators Respond?
World Relief and the National Association of Evangelicals have advocated
Comprehensive Immigration Reform that would:
•Make it harder to immigrate or work illegally
    •By investing in border security and creating an enforceable workplace authorization system
•Make it easier to enter and work lawfully
    •Create legal channels for lawful migration that are tied to the labor needs of our economy and
    that keep families united
•Require those here unlawfully to earn legal status by:
    •Paying a monetary penalty for having violated the law
    •Passing a criminal background check (serious criminals would be deported)
    •Showing during a probationary legal status period of several years that they are willing to
    work, pay taxes, show efforts toward learning English, and stay out of trouble before being
    granted permanent legal status
                                      Welcoming the Stranger:
                                      How Should the Government Respond?




  How Could Our Legislators Respond?
 In recent months, many evangelical leaders have been outspoken in
 advocating for immigration reform:
Leith Anderson, National Association of Evangelicals     Max Lucado, author
Alan Andrews, the Navigators                             Jo Anne Lyon, Wesleyan Church
Carlos Campo, Regent University                          David Neff, Christianity Today
Chuck Colson, Prison Fellowship                          John Perkins, Christian Community Development
Joel Boot, Christian Reformed Church of North            Association
America                                                  John Piper, Bethlehem Baptist Church
Mike Gerson, columnist, Washington Post, Hastert         Ron Sider, Evangelicals for Social Action
Fellow, Wheaton College
                                                         Mat Staver, Liberty University
Bill Hamel, Evangelical Free Church
                                                         Jim Tolle, the Church on the Way
Bill Hybels, Willow Creek Community Church
                                                         Berten Waggoner, Vineyard Church USA
Bryant Wright, Southern Baptist Convention
                                                         David Wilson, Church of the Nazarene
Richard Land, Southern Baptist Convention Ethics &
Religious Liberty Commission                             George Wood, Assemblies of God
                           Welcoming the Stranger:
                           How Can I Learn More?




 How Can I Learn More?
•Books
  •Welcoming the Stranger: Justice,
  Compassion & Truth in the
  Immigration Debate by Matthew
  Soerens & Jenny Hwang (InterVarsity
  Press, 2009)


  •Christians at the Border: Immigration,
  the Church, and the Bible by Daniel
  Carroll (Baker, 2008)
                        Welcoming the Stranger:
                        How Can I Learn More?




 Resources
• Film Resources
   • Urban Entry (www.urbanentry.org)
      • UE4: ―Send These‖
   •Bernard’s Story (www.bernards-story.com)
   • UnDocumented.tv
   (http://UnDocumented.tv/watch)
      • A New Dream (10 minutes)
      • Interview with Bill Hybels (60 minutes)
      • Dr. Richard Land on Immigration (8 minutes)
      • Manifesto (90 seconds)
                           Welcoming the Stranger:
                           How Can I Learn More?




 Resources
• Web Resources
  • Welcoming the Stranger (www.welcomingthestranger.com)
      • Includes downloadable 7-Session Learning Group Guide
      (available late October)
  • UnDocumented.tv (http://UnDocumented.tv)
  •Christian for Comprehensive Immigration Reform
  (www.faithandmigration.org)


   Facebook:
  (www.facebook.com/WelcomingtheStranger)
   Twitter: @MatthewSoerens
                             Welcoming the Stranger:
                             How Can I Learn More?




   Resources
• Conferences
    • The Justice Conference (www.thejusticeconference.com)
        •Portland, OR, February 24-25, 2012
        •Speakers: John Perkins, Francis Chan, Walter
        Brueggemann, Lynne Hybels, Miroslav Volf, Shane
        Claiborne, Richard Twiss & More

   • Mission on Our Doorsteps
   (www.missiononourdoorsteps.com)
       •West Chicago, IL, March 16-17, 2012
       •Past Speakers: Daniel Carroll, Noel Castellanos,
       Soong-Chan Rah, Stephan Bauman & More

				
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