Guest Post: The Immigration Conundrum

Today's guest post features a controversial, hot button issue which is sure to initiate some conversation. As thinking Christians, the question of how the church is to tackle illegal immigration is a very important discussion we must engage in. Disclaimer: the thoughts and views below are of guest writer Dick Nevala, and not my own.


Illegal immigration is a real issue affecting millions of people currently living in the United States. It is currently a hot political topic. As a church leader, it is difficult not to allow controversial public opinion to bleed into my perspective on compassion, kindness, and ultimately the spiritual condition of everyone. The bottom line is we ought to share the good news of salvation with anyone, including those who may be here illegally.

My grandparents were immigrants who came to this country, went through the lawful process, and became citizens. Thus; one could say, I am a product of immigration into our country. Yet, I am a bit chagrined at the politically correct term, "undocumented immigrant". I agree with at least one individual running for president in that, I too may not be politically correct. I do not hesitate in calling them illegal aliens.

If one comes into this country without going through the correct immigration process, they are here illegally. Doesn't that make them illegal aliens or maybe even criminals? They have broken current immigration laws. The definition of a criminal is a "lawbreaker".

Something is going wrong in this country when Maricopa county, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio apprehends so called "undocumented immigrants" and they turn around and protest that the Sheriff is violating their rights by enforcing the law he swore to uphold. I have to wonder what rights they are talking about? They are not American citizens. They are criminals. They violated the law. They entered this country illegally. We do have an immigration policy that includes laws that should be enforced as the sheriff is trying to do.

When I inadvertently ran a stop sign and was ticketed, I took it before the judge. He said, "good try but no cigar". A deputy sheriff was instructed to put the handcuffs on me unless I immediately paid the fine. The judge was convinced I broke the law and he imposed the penalty. I could choose the handcuffs and go to jail or make restitution. I paid the fine.

The same justice should be dispensed to illegal aliens. Deporting them is the right thing to do. The law says so. Yes, families may be split due to children born in this country but those issues should have been considered before they ever came here. Those who do not want their families split apart do have the option to return together. I know, all this sounds a bit harsh, but sometimes breaking the law has harsh consequences.

I do not believe it is the church’s responsibility to monitor or even check the immigration status of individual church attendees. Rather, the role of the church is to faithfully proclaim the truth of Scripture, trusting the Holy Spirit to touch the hearts of those believers who are in sin. I agree, in keeping with the Word of God, Christians are to submissively obey their government. As far as I know, nothing in current U.S. immigration law requires Christians to disobey God. Thus; U.S. immigration laws are to be submissively obeyed by believers. If a believer is illegally residing in the United States, he/she should take steps to correct the situation.

We as Christians should not be confronting church attenders with their immigration status. Instead, we should be directing our efforts on reaching them with the gospel. Maybe, by receiving Jesus as Savior, they will realize their need to make a correction regarding their immigration.

There are many immigrants here legally, including my own Pastor. I commend them for entering the correct and legal way. I am reminding us that current U.S. immigration laws need to be enforced. If you don’t like a law, you get it changed, you do not ignore it and do what you want.

In conclusion, I am not a cold hearted or heartless ogre. I welcome (just as my grandparents were welcomed) anyone coming legally to this country, but not at the exclusion of the laws of this land. My grandparents entered this country through the front door, not the back door.

Dick Nevala is an elder at Faith Bible Church. He resides in Southern Maryland with Susan, his wife of 52 years.

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