The Face of Illegal Immigration

I have always believed that the only way to deal with
illegal immigration was to ship all the illegal immigrants back where they came
from and bar new illegal aliens from entering the United States until they
could follow the rules and enter legally. There are consequences to disobeying
the laws of the land and coming into this country illegally should bring stiff

If someone tried to enter a country like Israel, Iran, Egypt,
Russia illegally, they would likely be shot dead before their feet got 25 yards
inside the border. I’m not sure that is the answer, although it would probably
be a huge deterrent to illegal aliens entering the US.

I still believe that disobeying the laws of the US by coming
into the country illegally should bring consequences, however, recently this
issue went from one that had vague, unknown faces associated with it to one
that had a clear name and face.

I had a chance to chat recently with a person who is married
to an illegal alien.  This person loves
their spouse and they have children together. The spouse who is an illegal
alien has lived in the US for nearly 20 years, yet still cannot drive legally
because you cannot obtain a valid driver’s license without proof of
citizenship. The person with whom I was talking told me of the struggle they
have had trying to obtain citizenship status for the spouse. They have spent
hundreds of dollars, been told dates and deadlines that gave them hope of
citizenship, only to have the dates and deadlines changed with no refunding of
their money. Currently, if this illegal alien were to jump through all the
hoops to obtain citizenship, he/she would have to go back to their country of
origin, leaving their spouse and children, for at least 10 years. For this family,
being apart for 10 years is not acceptable.
So, the family lives on the edge, constantly looking over their shoulder.

I went into my Lifeway Bible study tools online program and
researched the word ‘alien’ in God’s Word (HCSB). What I found convicted and
challenged me. Consider a few verses from the HCSB where the word ‘foreigner’
is used in place of ‘alien’.

Exodus 22: 21: “You must not exploit a foreign resident or oppress him, since you were foreigners in the land of Egypt.”

Deuteronomy 10:18: “He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner, giving him food and clothing.”

Psalm 146:9: “The Lord protects foreigners and helps the fatherless and the widow, but He frustrates the ways of the wicked.”

Jeremiah 22:3: “This is what the Lord says: Administer justice and righteousness. Rescue the victim of robbery from the hand of his oppressor.  Don’t exploit or brutalize the foreigner, the fatherless, or the widow. Don’t shed innocent blood in this place.”

Zechariah 7:10 “Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor, and do not plot evil in your hearts against one another.”

So, where does this leave us? Obviously the United States
has a HUGE illegal immigration problem. There are millions of illegal aliens
within our borders, working in jobs that US citizens desperately need,
utilizing healthcare dollars that the nation does not have to give. We have
allowed illegal aliens to cross our borders without consequence; in fact, we
have rewarded many with free healthcare and a nod to incorporating their
language into our very system of life. “Press 1 for English, Press 2 for Spanish”.
NOTE: I fully recognize that there are illegal aliens other than those who
speak Spanish.

I wish I had the answer to this Mount Everest-sized problem,
but I don’t. What I do know, after my chat with someone married to an illegal
alien, is that most of the aliens living in the US are ordinary people…human
beings with families, feelings and a desire for a better life. God put a face
on this problem for me and in doing so gave me an opportunity to change my
perspective a bit. There still must be consequences for entering the US
illegally but, for crying out loud, must they include separating families.
Don’t we have enough of that going on with all the divorce in our country?

The joke among my friends is that I was elsewhere when God
gave out mercy. Pardon me, I think I have come down a case of mercy.

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  • Chiteng

    We cannot allow illegals to use our compassion to manipulate policy. That is exactly what they are doing. The person you spoke to knew they were here illegally. You cannot reward breaking the law. It is unfortunate that people must suffer YES, and some people do not have the stomach to see it. BUT, if there were a famine, would the illegals allow their children to starve, that mine might live? No they would not. That is the issue. Competition for resources and standard of living.
    Every illegal who comes here, degrades MY standard of living. The choices are stark. Soon, food will be the ultimate commodity. I want to see the USA survive. Not drown in a surplus population.

    • Believe me, I totally get where you are coming from. You are right, we cannot reward breaking the law. If we do, then we will have anarchy eventually. The offenders must not go unpunished.  However, we must see these people through the eyes of Jesus. As Christians, we reach out to them in Jesus name, showing them love and compassion, while also not looking past their illegal activity. I would hope that if we show them Jesus and they come to know Him, many, not all, but many of them will do what is right.

      Honestly, if we are living the Christ-life….the problem is no longer about ME and what is best for ME. If Jesus had taken that stance….well, I’d be bound for hell…paying for my sin for all eternity.

      As I said, I don’t have the answer to this problem. I just gained a different perspective on the problem once a face was put to it.

      • Leah, I too have a different perspective on this problem because it has a face to it.  A very real and personal face for my family.  
        Thank you for your post. 

        • Amy, I wish there was an easy fix to this problem, but
          there isn’t. I don’t believe in turning my head when someone breaks the law.
          Justice must be done, but what is the answer? I don’t know, but God does. “If
          my people, who are called by My Name, will humble themselves, seek my face, and

          • I feel for the children of illegal immigrants who never had a choice. They did not break a law. They are caught in a mess of red tape.  Most are very respectful, good, solid individuals.  They deserve a chance.  

            There isn’t an easy fix.  Complex problems are never easy to fix but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.  I agree…if we TRULY humbled ourselves and seek His face, He will provide a solution.  

            ….perhaps a good part of the solution is already spelled out for us in the scripture :) 

            One of these days we will sit down to a cup of coffee and I will share my personal story about this issue.  Right now it is not my story to share, but someday I intend to share it….let’s just say my family chose mercy and grace.

            Once again…thank you for the post.  This is a topic that has the potential to open one up to criticism.  It takes courage to write about this topic in a loving manner.  Thank you.

          • Agreed, Amy. It seems children are always the ones who suffer. As I said in my post last week on gay marriage…it is time the church of Jesus Christ takes a stand for biblical truth.  I look forward to hearing your story.

    • AmyW

      Chiteng…I respectfully submit the following questions:

      If you were standing face to face with Christ at this very moment, do you think your words would win His approval?  

      How would you justify the need for “having the stomach to see people suffer” to Him?  Is it Christlike to stand by and want people suffer?

      Do you not believe that God will provide for your every need?  Do you not trust in Him to take care of you and your own?  

      How does an illegal degrade your standard of living?  

      How would you defend your words against the scripture Leah posted above?  

      I believe the Lord commands us to show love, mercy, and grace.  No exceptions.  I believe the verses Leah posted are not happenstance.  They are clear and decisive.  As a believer I can not ignore them or twist them to fit my own political ideology. 

      I choose Love.  I choose Mercy.  I choose Grace.  I believe those choices are pleasing to my Heavenly Father.  

  • Renee

    God’s word is so different than man’s laws.  I believe there should be consequences as well.  I once thought pack them all up (illegals) and send them back.  Then you go read God’s word to the Israelites that you mentioned in your post and WOW!  God has always used HIS people (yes he established governments) but always His people to take care of the widows, orphans and aliens….hmmmm….what are we “the body of Christ” doing to help?  Lots to think, pray and seek on.  Like much over the past 100 years we have let things go, giving it over to the government establishments – local and national.  Most of us don’t want to get our hands dirty.  We just want to toot our horns and proclaim Jesus in our little bible study groups, churches but NOT get out and get busy being a solution to the problem.  I’m guilty in this area because I don’t know how to fix it.

    • Renee, I’m guilty too. I don’t have the answer and can’t
      fix the problem, but I can love on any of these people who God brings into my
      life. There is such power in love…power that we have forgotten about in our
      rush to allow government to address all the problems of society. I don’t want
      to sound like a ‘bleedin’ heart liberal’ because I am far from that. However,
      God is doing a mighty renovation of my heart in these past few years.  I see such a need for the body of Christ to
      show the love of Christ in so many ways that we have neglected.  Thanks for stopping by.

  • Sassyjules2010

    WOW Leah, talk about being a gutsy woman!! You brought up a very heated and delicate topic. 

    • Juli, I have to write about what the Lord directs and He
      directed in a major way on this one.

  • Greg

    You started out by saying we should obey the laws of the land. I still stand by that on this issue.  If I fall in love with an illegal alien, that does not change the law.  Do God’s laws change because of my desires?  That would be a big NO.  There is a big difference in showing compassion and love toward someone and saying, ” oh what you are doing is OK because of your circumstances.”  What about its Ok to drive 120mph because I’m late, or its Ok for me to sleep with so and so, because my spouse ignores me, its Ok for my friend to marry their gay lover because they are really nice people.  You can see how this gets way out of hand. Now on another note, I will have to do some research, and I may be wrong, but I find it hard to believe you would have to return to your home country for 10 years before living in the USA under a visa of some sort and applying for citizenship.

    • Greg, you are right….the laws don’t change simply to suit our circumstances. That is a great point.

      I was only going on what the person shared with me regarding their experience with trying to legally immigrate after having been in the US for many years. I have not checked out the validity of that fact.

    • This may be helpful re: why the 10 year process – a flowchart that shows the intricacies of legal immigration:  
      And a similar one, but in more flowchart form, at

      • Greg

        Bill, according to your flow chart, if I see it correctly,  the illegal alien in the above circumstance would never have to leave the US.

      • Greg

        Actually they would have to leave . After a little research, If you have been in the US illegally for more than one year, then yes you would have to leave the country and would not be allowed to re-enter for 10 years. Apparently there is a 3 year and 10 year bar. If you have been here less than 6 month illegally, you would have to leave for 3 years. That is the penalty for not doing it correctly the first time. If I met someone from a foriegn country and wanted to get married, they could come to the US on a K-1 visa which takes about 8 months to receive. You would have to marry within 90 days and then file some other paperwork to change their status. And then there is some more stuff to gain citizenship, but there is a correct way to do it. Do it the correct way and in about 8 months your fiancee will be here. Do it the wrong way and its a nightmare.

  • Leah, like you I used to view the problem as very black and white and with a simple solution – catch ’em and deport ’em.  Then I met a young Chinese lady who was brought here by her mother at a very young age on a visitor’s visa and then the mother didn’t go back.  So this young lady was raised here, educated here, and practically only knows here – but she is at risk every day of being deported to a place she doesn’t even know.   The DREAM Act was proposed as a way of tackling the thorny illegal immigration issue and providing a degree of amnesty to those who were brought here as children and have grown into adults without any legal status.  Congress did not pass it though, largely due to voters like who you and I used to be before we met wonderful individuals who put a face on the issue and allowed us to see it is far more murky than the black-and-white rhetoric spoken by our legislators.

  • You are right….I have friends who did it the right way and she is on her way to being a US citizen. That still leaves the problem of the hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens who are already here. Yes, they have broken the law and there definitely should be consequences for doing so. Undoubtedly. Do we deport them all?  Is that the price they pay for breaking the law? I’m not saying that is not the answer, but I’m also not saying it is. I don’t know the answer. 

    I’m embarrassed to say this is a subject I’ve never given thought to other than when the news showed illegal aliens crossing the borders, I would think, “Just round them up and send them back. Or better yet,  shoot them as they come across the border. That’ll send a message.” I pray God forgives me for thinking that. Each one is loved by God, just like He loves me. Yes, they are breaking the law, but that doesn’t cancel out God’s love for them. God can change their hearts just like He did mine. Some don’t care that they are breaking the law, but I’m sure some do. My guess is that many of them would rather do it legal way, but they don’t have the money??? IDK! I know it has cost my friend from Romania thousands of dollars and she is not nearly finished with the process.

    I guess I’m asking…..WWJD?  What would Jesus do about our illegal immigration problem?

  • Karen Hossink

    Ah, yes. Perspectives change when there is a real face involved! Suddenly something which was black and white “in theory” gets lots of fuzzy, gray edges.
    Those verses make it very clear that God cares about the alien, and I believe we need to, as well. As for an answer to the question of what to do? Yeah. That’s a hard one!
    If only we could catch everyone before they get in too far, and make it clear how much better it will be if they follow the rules. If only…

    • Oh yes, if only. This is such a tough issue. Thanks for
      stopping by!!

  • You’re certainly taking on the hard issues, Leah! I commend you for this and appreciate the view from your lens. I was thinking about this very issue today while out walking. There are a lot of (what I assume to be) foreigners working hard in our community, all looking for a better life. I appreciate their willingness to work hard when so many refuse to do so. There aren’t any easy, quick answers to this problem, but there is always grace and love. Oh for the wisdom and courage to administer the answers with grace and love.

    I appreciate your candor and witness. Keep to it.


    • Elaine, thanks for stopping by. The Lord has just been
      after me regarding these hard issues. I wish I had the answer, but I know He
      does. Love you, friend.

  • In “Adam Bede” by George Elliot (awesome charosmatic Christian history) contains a story of a woman who kills her baby, is ministered to in jail by women ministers, is brought to Christ and repents. She is hung for her crime, but she understands that she had to pay for her crime here and that God has forgiven her. 

    I guess what I am saying is that recognizing right and wrong, breaking a law is breaking a law. Otherwise, at what point are lines drawn for which laws are going to be enforced and which aren’t.

    This is a tough situation but picking and chosing which laws to follow does not exemplify integrity.

    • You are so right and I agree. We must enforce laws
      regardless of the situation or consequences. I wish our country had done that
      years ago. We wouldn’t have the problem we currently have. Thanks for stopping