Perhaps no single issue is more often in the news these days than that of immigration. Consider the debate over the recent bill signed by the governor of Arizona. This has stirred millions of Americans and might awaken the conscience of more people than anything done by a state government in recent memory.

I have found people all over the map on this issue. And most of these people have very strong opinions about immigration whether they have considered the real facts or not. Few people actually seem to understand what is  really involved in this issue and how Christians should think about it with a balanced view of justice and compassion. Even fewer still understand the consequences of this issue for their own brothers and sisters in America. One person who does understand, and whose voice I listen to on this subject because I love and respect him so much, is that of my own son. Matthew John Armstrong is a church-planter and also strong advocate for missional-ecumenism. He understands the plight of the real Christian immigrant and the problems illegal immigrants face in the present context, which is growing more and more hostile towards them with every passing day.

It was through my son that I recently learned of what is called the DREAM Act. The YouTube link above provides a deeply moving story of how the DREAM Act would affect the girl that you hear on this video. This girl happens to be from Matthew’s church in Streamwood, New Hope Community. Please watch it. And share it with other Christians as widely as possible. Make yourself aware of the real issues involved in this complicated debate.

I will share tomorrow how Matt responded to this issue in his own church and how he acted politically as a result of these convictions. Convictions do have political consequences and thought the church is not to become a part of a partisan political movement there are times when our faith requires us to act on principles that impact the lives of those people we pray and worship with every week. I think this story is one that should touch millions of Christians. My fear is that we listen to the harsh rhetoric of the political right far more than to the moral reasoning of common sense and Christian faith. Tomorrow I will explain why.

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  1. May 19, 2010 at 6:43 am

    Thanks for the post. I do not have any good solutions for the immigration problem. I can see lots of bad solutions but very few good ones. This act seems like a good solution. My wife teaches at a school with a lot of immigrants, both legal and illegal. The children are caught. Most of the kids are citizens but are jerked around or have their families split up because of parent’s legal status. This is exactly the need for the girl in my area that may national news because she was stopped at a traffic stop and her immigration was checked. She is a good student, one year short of college graduation, lived most of her life in the US. And other than driving without a license, her and her family are good law abiding citizens. The kind of people we want as immigrants. I don’t have any good answers.

  2. Chris Criminger May 19, 2010 at 11:35 am

    Hi John,
    This is the first time I have heard of the ‘Dream Act” and it sounds good to me.
    There is a discussion going on Scot McKnight’s blog (The Jesus Creed) about an 21 year old girl who got caught driving who was in her last year of college. The court has decided to let her finish her last year and then she will have to go through the judicial process.
    I hear two sides talking past each other. One side says when she became 18, she should have moved back to Mexico or face the full penalty of the law. The other side says that there should be no borders and therefore no illegal aliens.
    There is so much emotion and rhetoric that goes on from both sides that I find troubling. All I know is we need REAL reform in this important issue.
    On the one hand, living in a world with terrorism, etc., I don’t know how we can just have open borders and let anyone and everyone in this country? Maybe I am missing something but most other countries have borders and restrictions. I am not sure how wisdom really dictates this course?
    On the other hand, I don’t know how we can punish people for coming over to this country indefinitely.
    We have common law marriages even if people do not get “legally” married. What about common law citizenship after someone has been living here for a certain amount of time as well as trying to work with the system and making it possibly more difficult (but not impossible) for those who simply working around the system?
    Some day, this country’s population will be a Hispanic majority. We better start thinking and acting in ways more mercifully than what I see going on today.

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