As the presidential primary season begins, candidates are looking for ways to stand out. Competing for the harshest rhetoric on immigration seems, sadly, to have become the preferred strategy for several candidates.
After Donald Trump dominated media attention with his immigration policy proposal — calling for mass deportation of all undocumented immigrants, a border wall to be paid for by the Mexican government, a moratorium on legal migration of immigrant workers, and an end to the 14th Amendment’s provision of birthright citizenship — several other candidates have attempted to join him in the spotlight by announcing that they, too, support elements of this plan.
We believe candidates who seek to advance their campaigns by denigrating immigrants and proposing unworkable policies are making a grave mistake, both morally and politically.
As Evangelical Christians, our views on a broad range of public policy issues are informed by a biblical anthropology: Scripture teaches us that each human being — whether male or female, already born or still in a mother’s womb, of any ethnicity or country of origin — is made in the image of God. Each immigrant, then, is endowed with inherent dignity, and is worthy of our respect.
Most evangelicals are repulsed by language that refers to immigrants in dehumanizing ways, such as when immigrants were compared to “rats and roaches” at a recent candidate forum, when Mr. Trump describes immigrants as “rapists” and “criminals” (despite studies showing that immigrants actually have lower crime rates than U.S. citizens), or when an influential radio host suggests making undocumented immigrants the enslaved property of the state.
We also reject the idea, rooted in scarcity-minded population control ideology, that immigrants are a burden on our country.
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SOURCE: The Christian Post
Dan Darling is the Vice President for Communications at the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. Matthew Soerens is the co-author of Welcoming the Stranger: Justice, Compassion & Truth in the Immigration Debate.