IMMIGRATION: AN EXCHANGE

First Things | 5/3/2016 | Peter J. Leithart and Matthew Schmitz
Cayley1561 (Posted by) Level 3
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In “Immigration Idealism,” Matthew Schmitz argues plausibly that Christian views on immigration are distorted by the same sentimental liberal theology that inspired mid-century pacifism. He calls for a Christian “response to migration that does not merely baptize liberal pieties,” a response that recognizes “peace must be protected by strength of arms.” He endorses Pope Francis’s sensible view that nations must consider their capacity to receive and integrate migrants and repeats the pope’s wise warning that Europe will deal with immigration “only if it is capable of clearly asserting its own cultural identity.” The policy upshot is, negatively, that “not everyone can or should be admitted to any political community” and, positively, that “migration policy [should] give preference to those who share the history, culture, and creed of the welcoming nation.”

Yet Schmitz makes things too easy for himself. Some of the statements that he views as expressions of contempt for working Americans are factual claims. Is Jeb Bush right that immigrants establish new businesses at a higher rate than Americans? Is Rupert Murdoch correct that native-born Americans are more likely than migrants to commit crimes? If these things are true, it cannot be an insult to say they are so. The polarized structure of Schmitz’s argument also makes it too easy for him to make his case. You’re either a liberal idealist or a clear-eyed realist. The possibility that a non-liberal might have reasons to take the side of migrants is excluded from the outset.

Reasons - Ones - Schmitz - Immigration - Idealists

What reasons? Biblical ones. Schmitz complains that immigration idealists read their Bibles selectively, but his presentation of biblical teaching is also skewed. The Torah repeatedly commands just treatment of strangers and aliens (Exod. 22:21; 23:10; Lev. 19:10; Deut. 16:11–14). One arresting passage (Lev. 19:33–34) demands that the stranger be “as the native among you,” a requirement that’s...
(Excerpt) Read more at: First Things
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