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Letters from our readers

Issue: "No way out," May 13, 2006

Rethink, reach out

I have been a supporter of a big wall to keep everyone who is not born here out of this country and to ship off all illegal immigrants. This was perhaps because of my fear of terrorism and of losing our unique culture. However, Joel Belz made me rethink my position ("You used to be one," April 15). Although I do believe there should be better security at our borders and that we shouldn't be a doormat, as he said, I agree that as Christians we must reach out to everyone. I guess you could say his column convicted me.
-Kimberly Gray, Roscoe, Texas

I agree with Mr. Belz that as Christians we should be compassionate to everyone regardless of immigration status. I think the portion of the original immigration reform bill requiring felony charges was over the top in this area. However, I must disagree with his assertion that the ancestors of most U.S. residents were like today's illegal immigrants. Yes, they were immigrants, but most were legal immigrants. That is a key difference.
-Kevin J. Miller; Winchendon, Mass.

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Notwithstanding the occasional virulent and racist anti-immigrant groups, such as the Know-nothings, that mar our history, we as a nation have always been open to newcomers who are willing to follow our laws. But it is neither heartless nor racist to insist that our borders and our laws be respected by those who want to enjoy the blessings of life in the United States.
-Kenneth W. Bridge; Oakton, Va.

Mr. Belz did an outstanding job of encouraging evangelical Christians to think theologically about immigration policy. Too often we evangelicals respond to issues by aligning ourselves with conservative politicians without thinking through what the Scriptures say about those issues.
-Barry M. Smith; Severna Park, Md.

I think Mr. Belz missed the point. In Leviticus God commands Israel to treat the sojourner as "one born among you." But the U.S. government can never meet such a command and American Christians already have been doing that very well on a personal basis, as I have witnessed myself for the past 11 years. My observation as a "sojourner" among you is that Americans either have resolved not to enforce their own laws or they do not have the ability to do so, so they try to rationalize their failure.
-Wei Peng; Charlottesville, Va.

Mr. Belz has it right. I'd like to migrate to the United States but, with some insignificant exceptions, the system itself says, "No Vacancies."
-Andrew McGill; Johannesburg, South Africa

I am all in favor of legal immigration, but we should not allow illegal immigrants to go ahead of those who have patiently waited their time, maybe even 5-10 years, to come to America. I do agree with Mr. Belz about learning English; our church has an ESL class available for those who desire to attend.
-Alma Robertson; San Jose, Calif.

The message we would send out by giving illegal aliens status is that our laws are meaningless. We are telling those who have gone through or are going through the proper process that they are foolish for having wasted their time by following the law.
-Chuck Hankinson; Eure, N.C.

How do we resolve the current situation? I don't think there is an easy answer. The failure of our government to enforce the existing laws has contributed as much to the problem as those immigrants who have broken those laws. I agree with Mr. Belz. Whatever is done needs to be done with compassion, but with wisdom as well.
-Tom Zinter; San Diego, Calif.

Powerful constituencies have aligned themselves with the immigration protesters. Some on the left support the illegal immigrants because they see a new voting block perpetually dependent on entitlements. Some on the right support them because they can pay lower wages. Both political groups are eager to ignore national sovereignty issues for immediate gains in power and money.
-Nolan Nelson; Eugene, Ore.

Alien invasion

As an immigrant to the United States myself and now a full citizen, I empathize with Mr. Gonzales very much ("Illegal passage," April 15). Nevertheless, I feel that he is violating laws in place to protect this country both economically and physically.
-Vladimir Val Cymbal; Tarzana, Calif.

If the churches of our nation want to extend a helping hand to those suffering in Mexico, I'm all for it. But my government is responsible for protecting its citizens-not those who are illegally invading our nation.
-Ron De Jong; Chesapeake, Va.

I was shocked by WORLD's angle on the illegal immigration crisis. Illegal aliens reaping free services, such as health care and education, at the burden of hard-working taxpayers are a major problem.
-Dan Brady; Mesa, Ariz.

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