The Problem with Amnesty
May 10, 2019
For many Christians, the most difficult question of immigration policy relates to how we should encourage lawmakers to address the situation of immigrants who are in the country unlawfully.
The Bible instructs us to “be subject to the governing authorities” (Romans 13:1), so we are compelled to respect the rule of law. That’s why, at the Evangelical Immigration Table, we’ve long insisted that amnesty – a policy of simply ignoring or dismissing the violation of U.S. law – is not the right way forward.
That doesn’t mean, however, that we advocate a mass deportation policy, which would both be very costly to taxpayers and separate many families, including many within our churches.
We believe that there is a better way: establishing a process by which immigrants present unlawfully could come forward, admit their offense, pay a fine as restitution for their violation of law, and then – presuming they can pass a criminal background check and meet other appropriate requirements – earn the chance to become Lawful Permanent Residents of the United States. Most of them are desperate for this sort of opportunity to get right with the law.
In the third of six new videos we’ve created, various evangelical leaders explore this idea further. I hope that you’ll check it out, share it if you find it valuable and then dive deeper into this idea with the Evangelical Immigration Table’s new e-book, Thinking Biblically about Immigrants and Immigration Reform.
I’d also ask that you pray with me for our elected officials, asking God to give them wisdom as they consider these important questions of immigration policy.
Vice President for Policy and General Counsel, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention