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Jim Killebrew has 40 years of clinical psychological work for people with intellectual disabilities, and experience teaching, administration, consulting, writing with multiple publications. Dr. Killebrew has attended four Universities and received advanced degrees. Southern Illinois University; Ph.D., Educational Psychology; University of Illinois at Springfield, Counseling Education; M.A., Human Development Counseling; Northeastern Oklahoma State University, B.A., Psychology and Sociology. Dr. Killebrew attended Lincoln Christian Seminary (Now Lincoln Christian University). Writing contributions have been accepted and published in several journals: Hospital & Community Psychiatry, The Lookout, and Christian Standard (multiple articles). He may be reached at Killebrewjb@aol.com.

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Monday, July 5, 2010

Immigration quandary

I guess I am just a bit confused. I am reading so much about the issue of illegal immigration and the pros and cons about what the country should do about it, I am conflicted.

On the one hand people from Mexico are coming into the United States by the tens of thousands each year. Boarder states are having trouble with resources and those resources are being sucked up by people coming into the respective states illegally and claiming the benefits. On the other hand with the Mexican government apparently not able to curb their own ineptness and/or keep their corruption in check, the infrastructure of the nation continues to lag behind almost as a third-world economy preventing its citizens from attaining and maintaining an acceptable standard of living. Consequently the Mexican people are forced to travel north to seek a living for themselves and their families just to exist.

In the United States it is not like a person in Nebraska or Iowa would have to travel across the border to Canada or to Mexico to seek meaningful work. If work cannot be found in their local area, they might move to another city or state. The infrastructure of the US is such as to accommodate most people in finding work, or at least continue to help with unemployment compensation when they have been laid off from work. For those who cannot work due to illness or disability, the US government at the federal and state levels has established any number of support systems to help people through their need. In the US it would not be a common thought for people to immediately take flight to cross the Mexican border to seek work.

Therein lies part of the issue. The United States is seen as the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. It is the “land of milk and honey” for those who are hungry; it is the “City on a hill” where the lights of plenty are calling for those less fortunate to come and be a part of the dream. Some would have us believe that America is hated universally; but that is not true for those thousands, perhaps millions, who seek to migrate to America. The majority of those folks just want to move to America and work to make a living for their family and themselves.

So, on the other hand, with the majority of Americans claiming to be Christian, it is to America’s advantage to have people from Mexico and all over the world to come to America to see how a country founded on the Judeo-Christian principles of life now live; and perhaps by chance hear the Gospel of Christ preached from the pulpits of America and the lives of those claiming to be Christian. Churches from across America send out missionaries across the world each year to “proclaim the good news” and share the love of God with other people groups.

This “turnaround” of other people groups wanting to come to America by the tens of thousands will form a “double-edged” sword, with the sword representing the Bible, we may need to send less to a dying world to present Jesus, but let the dying world come to the Church of America to see Jesus.

Therefore, from a Christian perspective and from a patriotic, American citizen’s perspective, and one who believes in the foundational principles of our nation to receive refugees from all parts of the world with the assimilation of those people groups into our culture to live out the freedoms and pursuit of happiness as we all know them, I want people to come to America and become a part of the American family.

Enter legally

The first requisite for anyone wanting to come to America is to enter legally. That means that all of the laws that have been established in the United States that relate to people coming here must be observed and obeyed. It seems like a first grader could understand that requisite. If you want to come to my house to visit me you knock on the front door, wait for me to answer and then enter at my invitation. You are then welcome for a visit. If you wait until midnight, break open the back window, crawl through it and then hurt me on your way to the kitchen to take my food, you are not welcome for a visit under those circumstances.

For generations people have come to America to seek a new life. America is a country that was founded on the principle and practice of freedom. Freedom is God-created within the heart of each person in the world and that voyage of seeking freedom is burning deep inside those living on every continent on earth. America’s individualism and entrepreneurial spirit has always created an environment where people who are exercising their freedoms can grow to heights never before achieved. People from all over the world have recognized that for the past two-hundred and fifty years. For the most part those people have come through the front door and have been invited in to partake of the wonderful riches of freedom, hard work and the entrepreneurial advantages this country offers. For those who insist on breaking the back windows, we must ask them to step around to the front and join those who are waiting in line to be invited in through the front door.

Learn the Language

Unification of any people group begins with language. Jokingly we pass off the difficulty of learning a new language by referring to the children who live in the country whose language we want to learn, “If a child could learn it so easily, how difficult could it be?” We recognize that learning a new language is not an easy task. It takes study, practice, many mistakes in pronunciation, odd phraseology and patient persistence. But it also takes assimilation with the indigenous peoples of that language’s region or country. That is a first step in building relationship and culture.

We read in the tenth chapter of Genesis that Noah’s sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth spread out across the earth and formed nations after the flood. When those three had sons, nations were formed and settlement occurred. We read the account of Japheth’s line,

“From these the coast lands of the nations were separated into their lands, every one according to its language, according to their families, by their nations.” (Genesis 10:5) “These are the sons of Ham, according to their families, according to their languages, by their lands, and by their nations.” (Genesis 10:20) “These are the sons of Shem according to their families, according to their languages, by their lands, and according to their nations.” (Genesis 10:31)

From the eleventh chapter of Genesis, however, we read about the dispersion of the nations at Babel. The entire human population spoke the same language and recognized the tremendous power that unity and concentration had. They were going to build a city to exceed the heights of heaven “to make a name for ourselves.” But God had wanted them to spread across the earth to populate it, so He “confused” their common language and gave them different languages. On the basis of that language they grouped themselves and formed their own communities and only then became obedient to spread out across the entire globe.

America is a nation that is formed from immigrants from all over the world. It is a nation that has risen from remnants of other nations scattered across the globe. To be a strong nation it must share in the commonality of a language that is known and understood by each citizen. The culture is varied and rich in diversity, therefore, language is the remaining constant that provides the thread of distinction.

Study the History

Someone has said that if we are unaware of our history, we are doomed to repeat it. Perhaps because we have established our founding on the Judeo-Christian heritage we are constantly seeking a study of where we have been.

For fear that future generations would forget, Moses wrote in Deuteronomy 4:9 that,

"Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons' sons;”

Surly it is important to teach the power and majesty of God. His power and role in history for the "sons' sons" was so important that one generation should not pass without each of the sons being taught of the very source of salvation.

By contrast, without re-teaching one generation after another that there is a history that is rich in our country, is to watch succeeding generations of "sons" grow weary and faint and lose all perspective of where America has come.

The outgrowth of that generation will be to perceive with blinded eyes, turn the truth to a lie, and revise events to see wrong in place of right, accept current, perverted things as good things, and become the very ally of the true source of revisionist history. As each succeeding generation follows along that path, the truth from having lived and experienced past accomplishments and noble events becomes less challenged and people begin to relegate those past events of history as simply a harmless fairy tale of allegory. People need to be awakened to the importance of learning the history of America!

Accept the Founding Principles

Regardless of what some people are saying in more current times about the thoughts of America’s founding statesmen that they were “secular” or “deist” or worse, “atheist,” their actions and writings seemed to indicate that they believed in God and the strength of His influence on the affairs of people and governments. Indeed, even the Declaration of Independence declares,

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with inherent and inalienable rights; that among these, are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness." --Declaration of Independence as originally written by Thomas Jefferson, 1776. ME 1:29, Papers 1:315

In his farewell address George Washington, the first President of the United States told the people:

"Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens. The mere Politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connexions (sic) with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked, Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect, that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle."

Obey the Constitution

At the time of his inauguration the President of the United States of America takes an oath.

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." (Article II, Section 1, of the US Constitution)

If the President of the United States swears or affirms to “preserve, protect and defend the constitution of the United States” is not it just as important for each citizen of the United States to obey the US Constitution as well?

When an immigrant is ready for citizenship of the United States he or she takes an oath to obey the US Constitution. In fact, that person is not a citizen of the US until they take the Oath of Allegiance. An officer reads out each part of the oath and the person is asked to repeat his/her words. To become a citizen, one must take the oath of allegiance.

By doing so, an applicant swears to:

• Support the Constitution and obey the laws of the U.S.;

• Renounce any foreign allegiance and/or foreign title; and

• Bear arms for the Armed Forces of the U.S. or perform services for the government of the U.S. when required.

If a person is in the United States illegally, they have already demonstrated their contempt for the US Constitution as the foundational law of the country into which they have illegally entered. By remaining outside of the legal status of the requirements of entry, each person not only does not take the oath of allegiance, but denies the support of the Constitution and obedience of the laws of the U.S.; Remains allegiance to their own country of origin; and refuses to bear arms for the Armed Forces of the U.S. or perform services for the government of the U.S. when required.

Integrate into the Culture

A person who seeks residence in the United States and wants to complete the legal process for doing so should strongly consider becoming a part of the culture of the United States. For sure America is “Multi-cultural” because of its “Melting Pot” status of generations of people immigrating from other cultures. But America has become a strong nation through integrating cultures and customs into an identifiable “American Culture” that is known around the world. It is a land of freedom, laws and justice; a land that celebrates every religion, every creed, every culture and every custom from proud people everywhere that represent their “old country” but still embrace the culture of their newly adopted homeland.

It is truly a culture that embraces assimilation, yet distinct cultures, that build on the foundation of a national motto that emblazes each of our coins, e pluribus Unum, from many, one.

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