Emotional Proxy Wars: De Rerum Immigrantium

It will always be our emotions that are used against us when the implementation of policy, or the proposal thereof, is being contested one way or another. Lately, we have had emotional warfare set to take place within us by policy makers and their respective media partners who essentially make the case on our representatives behalf. In order to push an agenda either way, we get assailed with images and anecdotes with the suggestion of totality of a situation.

We're inundated with images of teary-eyed families bidding indefinite goodbyes to loved ones as they are deported, or, on the flip-side, the tragic stories of families who have been hurt or worse by someone flying under the radar of legality. The respective stories will be shared on Facebook and perpetuated by those whose confirmation bias gets affirmed. 

So when reading stories such as that of an "underground network" to house and hide undocumented/illegal immigrants, my first reaction was that this was a wonderful way to use a free market solution to meet a need. In my worldview, anything that reaffirms the responsibility of the Church to help those in need is always welcome. I firmly believe that those who practice the Christian faith have a duty to help the widows and orphans, feed the hungry, and shelter the homeless--regardless of national boundaries. Making a free choice to aid those who are in need is the very basis of virtue; were we compelled to act with goodwill toward our neighbor or forced to love our enemies, we'd not be acting virtuously but under the coercion of a tyrant. Even though caring for those in need is a Godly commission, He does not force a person one way or another to do that which is right. So in seeing other believers doing that which is their responsibility, despite the risk to themselves they are taking upon themselves, is quite admirable, to say the least.

However, I then started wrestling with fact that whether they are needy or not, the law of the land is that entering the country illegally is, by definition, criminal behavior. By aiding those who are fugitives of the law, and doing so openly enough for news outlets to cover it, it brings undue attention to oneself and does one of two things, if not both: it causes brings to question whether or not this is an issue of virtue signaling, or, assuming this is genuine altruism, places those they intend to help at greater risk of deportation. Similarly, if it is known that people coming here illegally will be hidden from ICE officers, it could provide incentive for more people to migrate illegally, thus, putting more risk upon both those who would be willing to help and those who are taking the risk of breaking border laws. 

Lastly, I felt not a small tinge of annoyance by article itself with its presumption that border security, and/or the laws thereof, are reserved solely to President Trump and his ilk when stated in the above article: "God's law versus Trump's law." This resulted in a huge sabotage of the compassion I had originally felt. Obviously, there is a difference between holy and worldly authority, and I will always yield to God's law first. However, the suggestion that to choose border security is to go against God's law is almost as manipulative as the assertion that border laws are a new, Trumpian phenomenon, before which it was an open-bordered utopia. Frankly, there are already laws on the books and there was a neglect of execution of said laws. The reality is that there are two parties responsible for deportation at the end of the day: those breaking the law, and those who made it easier for them to break the law. 

Stark, dichotomous lines seem to be drawn ideologically, especially when social issues are the heart of the matter. It's paramount that we do not take the bait presented to us and look at everything from all possible perspectives. This is what will keep us from being tools of this ideological proxy war.