Adam L. Silverman, PhD*
If you've got a spare minute head on over and check out this past weekend's This American Life. Its about Alabama's, strictest in the US, recent anti-illegal immigration law and the current GOP primary debate issue of self deportation. Now before anyone freaks and screams "states rights!!!" give it either a listen or a read (hyperlink goes to the transcript). The law was not written in AL or by one of her legislators, rather it was written by a Kansan, who was also one of the drafters of AZ's recent law (which, amazingly, is NOT the most draconian one out there), as well as similar pieces of legislation in a number of other states - and there appears to be an ALEC connection. Do we need to have secure borders and a rational (economically, politically, and psychologically) immigration policy? Without a doubt. Is this the way to do it? Most likely not. I think one of the biggest examples of this in the report is when the AL Republican legislative whip that helped get the law passed (a self described devout Christian) has the following exchange with the interviewer:
Which brings us back to State Senator Gerald Dial, the Republican whip you heard earlier, who's worried about scaring away business. He's leading a campaign to, as he puts it, "tweak the law," in all sorts of ways. Here's a big one. He wants to get rid of this idea that any attempt to help people who might be illegal is itself illegal. That bothers him enormously. He's a devout Christian, so he wants to insert a Good Samaritan provision to protect good, charitable folks who are just practicing their faith.
I had a man who runs a soup kitchen, feeds people just off the street, call me and said, that's just terrible, because I feed people. And I don't stop the door and say, are you here illegally or legal? I feed you because you're hungry. And so that's a compassionate thing. And that's the Christian thing to do. And we're going to put that part into the bill also.
OK. So once you've amended the bill, do you think Jesus would vote for the bill?
Gosh, you've asked me a tough question. I would hope that he would understand. I would say that, would he vote for the bill? Probably not. Probably not. If you just laid it all the way down, probably not."
* Adam L. Silverman is the Culture and Foreign Language Advisor at the US Army War College (USAWC). The views expressed here are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of USAWC and/or the US Army.