The Church, it appears, has a self-interested interest in one aspect of the debate over illegal immigration. Reading between the lines, I”m figuring that the church is worried that sometimes our Temple Square misssionaries, etc., might actually be here for longer than their visas are for. I’m must speculating, of course, but I have reason to believe that in at least one foreign country American missionaries are almost all violating the letter of their visas.
The interesting thing about all this, for me, is the memories it brings back. I’ve done a lot of churchwork in the kitchens of people who I was morally certain were in the country illegally. A time or two I was asked to help them stay illegally in one minor way or another, but I refused. But I otherwise treated them like what they were–brothers and sisters. I gave them advice, friendship, food, rides, toys for their children, etc. I certainly never contemplated turning them in.
Now you may think that’s no great thing. But. But. I’m strongly opposed to illegal immigration. I’m no great fan of immigration of any sort, but illegal immigration really riles me. If this country starting cracking down on it, I’d cheer. And likely as not, in a particular kind of duty-mood, I might report it if I discovered some illegals. I’d feel sick about it, but I’d probably do it. I would not–I”m certain of this–turn in people I met through church. Why?
Now, feel free to have a debate about the merits of immigration; if you want to bore us with the kind of overheated, lightless debate you could have on a thousand secular blogs, be my guest. I have trial tomorrow so I won’t be around to stop you.
But why do it? Discussing why a law-abiding Church might do what its doing–or why an anti-illegal immigrant guy like myself might support what the church is doing and not have any animus against illegal brothers and sisters–that could be interesting.
[Special Thanks to a brotherly reader who sent me the article]