The National Immigration Forum put out an Independence Day statement concerning immigration policy in America titled “America Can Be Great Only If We Are Good.” The statement was signed by various leaders of the religious, business, and law enforcement communities. It was issued in a full-page ad taken out in the New York Times on July 4, 2018.
The statement itself is an interesting composition. However, before we turn to the document, a brief look at the NIF itself is warranted.
What is the ‘National Immigration Forum?’
The NIF’s Board of Directors is somewhat similar in composition to those who signed the statement on immigration.
The Board members include mostly businessmen and a few other notables. Representatives of two powerful unions, the American Federation of Teachers and the Service Employees International Union or SEIU are on the list.
Moreover, there are two political figures featured. One is the former Attorney General of Indiana who left that position in 2017. The other served as the former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico from 2007-2013.
However, there is one category which is absent from the NIF Board. No religious leaders are members of the Board. In fact, the Board is composed of people whose organizations and ideals lean leftward on immigration. Yet, there were eight prominent religious leaders who signed on to the statement.
Moreover, they were all representatives of ostensibly Christian organizations. What is it about the statement which attracted these faith leaders as none of them are leaders of the NIF?
The NIF Statement on Immigration
The statement by the NIF has many fascinating points that are at the same time confusing and comforting. It is a fairly brief statement, only 271 words, followed by a form to add one’s name endorsing the writing.
There are some of what I would call the ‘standard disclaimers’ about immigrants and their contribution to America throughout history. The document begins with the following:
This July 4th, we, the undersigned, reaffirm the ideals on which our nation was founded and still stands.
It continues with praise for those who are immigrants and the history of welcoming them in America.
Immigrants and immigration strengthen these United States, as they have since our founding.
From that point forward, the text becomes a bit more interesting.
The Plea for Refugees and Families
The next portion of the immigration statement sets the theme for the document.
How we treat immigrants, refugees and their families reflects our commitment to the values that define us as Americans.
The words that follow extol the value of the family in society and praise the desire and contributions of those who wish to come to America.
People born elsewhere who believe in the United States as a land of opportunity and hope contribute to our country in ways both quantifiable and immeasurable. They grow our economy, protect our nation, and make up the fabric of our communities.
All of these are agreeable sentiments. They also seem rather obvious and invite a question. If everything seems so agreeable, what is the point of pointing all of this out?
The Deceptive Call to Action for ‘Immigrants’
In fact, everything is not so agreeable to the composers and endorsers of the statement. The next portion reveals what they believe ought to be the case, rather than celebrating what is the case.
we call on America’s leaders once again to encourage citizenship for those who are eligible and want to pledge full allegiance to our country and to allow all of us, American by birth or American by choice, to reach our fullest potential.
America can be great only if we are good. We invite our leaders and our fellow Americans, across the country and on all sides of the debate, to engage in a constructive conversation that respects the human dignity of all of our neighbors and welcomes people of all faiths, no matter where you were born.
The implication is that our current immigration policy is not one which welcomes and encourages immigrants. That America does not want immigrants to become citizens. Further, that this current administration disrespects the humanity and dignity of our neighbors, and does not welcome those of ‘all’ faiths.
That is simply a false view of America’s policies and views toward immigrants. However, these charges are not aimed at legal immigration policy. The term immigrants can only apply to those who have gone through the legal process to live in the country. The legal term for those who do not are illegal aliens, not immigrants, illegal or otherwise.
The use of the term ‘immigrants’ and not ‘illegal aliens’ is a subtrafuge designed to decieve. It is actually the policies against illegal aliens that are being targeted. That, and another opportunity to indirectly bash the president with some sleight-of-hand comments about the treatment of immigrants by America.
Why This Is Really About Illegal Immigration and Trump
This might seem to be a bold claim on the surface. That is because the word ‘illegal’ is absent from the document. There is no mention of the misleading phrase ‘undocumented immigrants,’ to describe those unlawfully crossing the border.
There are two key pieces of evidence supporting the notion this is really about advocating for illegal immigration and trashing President Trump in the process.
First, this comes on the heels of recent denouncements of the “zero-tolerance” border policy employed by the Trump administration.by many of those same leaders from the Christian faith community. In fact, reports of the NIF statement seem to assume it is about the Trump administration’s handling of the problem at the border.
According to the Christian Post:
As there has been much criticism over President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” illegal immigration policies in the last few weeks, the National Immigration Forum launched a statement signed by over 65 leaders from the faith, business, military and law enforcement sectors that asserts that the United States is defined by how it treats immigrants, refugees and their families.
Secondly, as has been noted in previous articles, this level of protest was absent in 2014 when the Obama administration was separating kids from parents at the border. No such statements as these from the NIF were released on Independence Day of that year.
Beware of Carrying the Water for the Left
There is an old euphemism about “carrying the water” for someone else. It means that you are doing the more difficult task to aid another in reaching their goal. However, the water carrier may not know or share the goal of their companion.
The faith leaders who signed on to the NIF statement are carrying the water for leftist immigration groups. The NIF’s inclusion of groups such as the SEIU should raise a large red flag among sincere Christian leadership. Additionally, it should be of concern that a large number of business interests composing the NIF Board potentially benefit greatly from an influx of illegal aliens as cheap labor.
The Left’s immigration policy goals will harm the nation and their own Christian communities. The recent trends that openly call to abolish ICE and for open borders are abundant evidence of their destructive intent. Christian leaders should be vigorously opposing these efforts instead of deflecting attention from them.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. Proverbs 3:5-7 [ESV]
Sources: The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, Crossway Bibles, 2001
Featured and Top Images courtesy of Jonathan McIntosh’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 1 courtesy of SEIU Local 99 Education’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 2 courtesy of Ted Eytan’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 3 courtesy of Fibonacci Blue’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 4 courtesy of Ben Crowe’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
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