CP Opinion

Thursday, Apr 24, 2014

Crying Wolf on Racism

May 27, 2010|2:37 pm

The controversy over the Arizona border law has been unprecedented. From the White House to girls’ basketball teams, we find people voicing their criticism of Arizona’s law. Many of the voices expressing their opinions have dubbed the motivation for the law as “racist” and “xenophobic.” Unfortunately, it seems that the real reason for the current outcry is a politically motivated attempt to change the tables in the 2010 and 2012 elections.

The game change would occur by having the largest minority vote, the Hispanic community, fall uncontested into the hands of the Democratic Party. Unfortunately, for my Hispanic friends it is not in the best interests of the Democratic Party to produce a systematic, bi-partisan immigration reform strategy. If they can ramp the rhetoric up loud enough and long enough, they may very well attract a majority of Hispanic votes for the next two and a half years. If they can keep the controversy going instead of solving the problem, the result will be holding onto Congressional seats and perhaps even the Presidency.

This same dynamic is why so many African Americans vote religiously for failing Democratic policies. I have repeated described the relationship of blacks to the Democratic Party as being similar to being in an adulterous affair. An adulterous lover wants what he wants, when he wants it. Unfortunately, he never gives his mistress true romance and a genuine place in his life. The long-term adulterer is a master of selling a dream while using his mistress. As the Bible says, “there is nothing new under the sun.”

Therefore, I am disappointed by the claims that the new Arizona law is considered racist by so many in the nation. Because of the administration’s loss of popularity in recent months, the Democratic plan to create a new civil rights movement based upon the pattern of the black civil rights movement from the 1930s-1960s has had to be accelerated. Unfortunately, the current lawmakers are not willing to deal with the four major dimensions of the immigration conundrum in the US.

The four aspects of this problem are:

1. Securing the Borders (For the protection of the next generation of people who will risk their lives to reach the “promised” land)
2. Streamlining the administrative processes at the INS. (It can take 7 or more years to successfully run the current gauntlet of regulations)
3. Enforcement of employer regulations. (Closing the illegal economic doors)
4. Dealing with currently undocumented or illegal residents.

The immigration reform process needs to be broken down into these four major pieces. Further, great care must be taken to achieve these reforms before many more like Lián González lose their mothers to the rigors of illegal entry into the United States.

As you may recall in late 1999, González's mother drowned while attempting to illegally enter the country. Mrs. González lost her life enroute to the US from Cuba with her son and boyfriend. The INS initially placed González with paternal relatives in Miami, who wound up fighting González's biological father for custody in US Court. González returned to Cuba and his father in June 2000.

As a humanitarian, I cannot help but think that sex traffickers, drug dealers, and other criminal elements are empowered by the legal and enforcement loopholes we have allowed to stand too long. In fact, some of the administrative problems at the INS could easily be thrashed out before the 2010 election. Unfortunately, the journey of 1,000 miles will not begin this summer. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid may want to have an ideological vote or two on measures that will be used for campaigning. Nonetheless, the substantive problems for the long journey will not be addressed.

As I have already stated, I am convinced that the rhetoric of recent days is designed to make conservatives seem racist, while attempting to “force” the nation to support a “comprehensive” immigration reform tactic. The correct answered to our problems will only be discovered by pursuing a more studied, systematic approach.

As the pastor of a church with 22 nationalities located in an international city (Washington, DC), I am aware that this is not simply a Hispanic problem. It is a national problem, which affects immigrants from all over the world. In early 2009, the administration declared that “comprehensive” immigration reform would not be touched until the second half of the president’s first term. In the meantime, the INS has stepped up surprise raids in Hispanic communities all over the country. These raids have been so troubling that many Hispanic religious leaders have come to Washington to lobby congressmen and senators.

For some Hispanic Clergymen, they see a reign of terror in which law-abiding citizens have been harassed along with illegal or undocumented persons. Perhaps this is why so many groups have risen up to oppose the clearly legal Arizona law. In my view the Hispanic community is being manipulated because the folks ordering the raids are the same folks who blame their political opponents for the ongoing problems with immigration. In some ways, liberal leaders have been talking out of both sides of their mouths and using the most egregious, Machiavellian tactics to create an atmosphere in which political capital can be made from the pain of law-abiding immigrants.

I am not saying that racism does not exist, but rather I am saying that the democratic and legislative processes should not be shut down by name-calling of the worst order! Abuse of undocumented workers in the nation is “the New Slavery of the 21st Century,” but we must be very careful not to botch our opportunity to create powerful, positive change. After reading the Arizona law, I believe the state’s motives were right. As a conservative evangelical I want to be proactive. Let’s make positive immigration reform! Let’s start today! Let’s be Victors not Victims.

Bishop Harry Jackson is chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition and senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, Md. He co-authored Personal Faith, Public Policy.
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