Focus on the Family Has Lost Its Focus!

June 13, 2012

By Tom Stark 

With strong apologies to all concerned and particularly to Dr. Dobson, I mis-spoke in the following article by originally stating that Dr. Dobson signed the statement of support of the Evangelical Immigration Table (EIT) referenced in the article.  Dr. Dobson has relinquished his leadership role in Focus on the Family and the current president – specifically Jim Daly – is the one responsible for signing the statement sponsored by the EIT.  My article has, therefore, been revised today to reflect this correction.  Again, my sincere apologies for the error.

Tom Stark

Parkersburg –  Karla Dial posted an article on today that disturbed me greatly.  It seems that Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family has signed on with 100 other evangelical Christian leaders in a statement of support for immigration reform called the Evangelical Immigration Table (EIT).

There is no doubt that there are problems with our immigration system, although in my humble opinion many of the problems consist of lax enforcement, not defective laws.  However, what is disturbing about this position paper is some of the specific positions outlined sound an awful lot like the “A” word.  It certainly looks as if there is a move in that direction.

The actual bullet points to the EIT are as follows:

  • Respects the God-given dignity of every person
  • Protects the unity of the immediate family
  • Respects the rule of law
  • Guarantees secure national borders
  • Ensures fairness to taxpayers
  • Establishes a path toward legal status and/or citizenship for those who qualify and who wish to become permanent residents   

Tom Minnery, Focus’ senior vice president for Government and Public Policy, noted for the article one problem with current immigration laws is that they are unevenly applied: While documented workers are often forced to wait the better part of a decade to be rejoined by their families, undocumented workers fear having their main provider deported leaving the rest of the family destitute.  That sounds a little like comparing apples to oranges, doesn’t it?

Let’s take the bullets one at a time:

Everyone should respect the God-given dignity of every person.  That is a given. No argument.

Guaranteeing secure national borders is an imperative that should pre-date any effort at reform of other aspects of immigration law.  No argument here, either. 

Respect for the rule of law is something else commendable that I can support.  But it is sorely lacking in the discussion of “comprehensive immigration reform.  It frequently equates to an amnesty or “path to citizenship” that bypasses those long lines waiting to legally emigrate from other countries.  This shows no respect for the law.

Fairness to taxpayers is one of the last things on the list of priorities in most discussions of the subject, but it can easily be addressed by cutting off access to government welfare programs to anyone who is not in the country legally.  Many would leave and the rest could be removed as they are located.  That is the only fair way of treating taxpayers who are footing the bill for billions of dollars of benefits to lawbreakers.  If that is what this document, in fact, supports, then I support it in that respect, but that point is not clear.

The third and last points of this list are the two points where I part company with the EIT.   While families are often fragmented because of the actions of illegal immigrants, it is not in keeping with any representation of fairness to allow lawbreakers to take advantage of our desire to keep the immediate family in tact to circumvent the law or gain preferential treatment favoring those in the country illegally over those who have followed the law in their efforts to come to our country.  The issue of anchor babies and the current liberal interpretation of the Constitution’s provisions regarding citizenship conferred on those physically born in this country should be revisited and corrected to an interpretation that more closely aligns with the intent of the founders.  If a person enters the country in violation of the law, then they should not be permitted to use our laws to their advantage by bearing a child in this country and then appealing to stay based on the fact the their child is a citizen by virtue of their being born here.  This is nothing but an incentive for pregnant women to sneak across the border to have children who wind up being supported by taxpayers along with his/her parents and often the entire family. 

Additionally, the issue of separating a parent from his/her family when he/she is deported as a result of his/her illegal entry to the U.S., is a matter of personal responsibility on the part of the person placing their family in that predicament.  It should not be condoned or ignored in allowing someone to stay in the country just because separating him/her from their family would put a hardship on the family.  Allow the family to accompany the deported individual to his native country.  They can remain together and the problem is solved. 

The last point is nothing but a lot of words that add up to amnesty.  A free pass for illegals to become citizens without going to the end of the line shows no respect for the rule of law.  Going to the end of the line is the only fair way to deal with this issue.  Nothing else is fair.

Minnery continues,

 “Employment laws need to be enforced fully and uniformly so that people without legal documentation can’t be hired without making their presence known and their legal status secure.”

My question here is just what is meant by “without making their presence known and their legal status secure.”  How does one make an illegal immigrant’s status secure within the context of hiring him for a job unless this agreement is suggesting taking the position that if someone gets hired, they should be issued an immediate and automatic work permit.  Is this something that anyone else out there finds disturbing?  I find it totally unacceptable.

Finally, the argument often made that the deportation of millions of illegal aliens is both impractical and “inhumane” is often trotted out by supporters of amnesty.  They claim that it cannot be done.  However, a look at history reveals something totally the opposite.  President Truman, following the end of World War II, ordered millions rounded up and deported as a means of opening up more jobs for returning veterans who needed the work to support their families.  Again, following the Korean War, President Eisenhower did a similar round-up and mass deportation of illegal immigrants for exactly the same reason – returning veterans needing employment that did not exist because jobs were held by the illegal immigrants.   With the economy and jobs in the current state, the same reasons could easily be justified.  However, it is doubtful that anyone in the political realm has the intestinal fortitude to do such a thing today. 

As to its being “inhumane,” that term is so overused to describe every effort to apply the rule of law whenever it impacts any minority citizen group or immigrant group.  Illegal immigrants are lawbreakers.  There is nothing about deporting lawbreakers who are not legal citizens that is in any an manner “inhumane.”

Deportation is simply the only viable remedy for the current crop of illegal immigrants.  It eliminates the problem (assuming we first secure the border and stem the influx before beginning the systematic effort to deport those already here).  It is least expensive of all the options bandied about over the last decade.  Deportation has no long-term expenses tied to it. Once the plane ticket is obtained, it’s a done deal.  In fact, why not round them up and put them on a military transport and move them a plane load at a time?

Bottom line to these ramblings is that for an organization that is supposed to support conservative values of family,  freedom, and the rule of law, it is far out of character for such a group to support policies that effectively allow lawbreakers to circumvent our process and jump to the head of the line. Entering our country should not be easy.  It carries with it some built-in obligations.  These include:  willingness to assimilate into our culture, willingness to learn the language, willingness to obey our laws, and willingness to put their previous citizenship behind them and pledge full allegiance to our flag and our country and to support and defend our constitution. 

Those coming to America should not be breaking our laws to enter and then take advantage of government policies to enrich their lives without giving something back to make up for their wrong-doing.  Going to the end of the line (in one’s own country) is the only equitable solution, and any policy statement that does not include such a provision flies in the face of reason.



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