Kurt and Chris discuss the topic of immigration, along with some other current events.
Listen to “Episode 104: Immigration” on Spreaker.
Kurt: Good day to you and thanks for joining us here on another episode of Veracity Hill where we are striving for truth on faith, politics, and society. Very nice to be with you here. Last week, Chris filled in the seat. He talked about the Christian view of marriage. He, being, a very recently married man, has it been a month, yeah, a month.
Chris: Almost a month now.
Kurt: Almost a month. Congrats to you again, Chris.
Chris: Thank you.
Kurt: I had the fine pleasure of being in the wedding party, your best man, in fact.
Chris: The best man.
Kurt: The best man. Maybe not, but the, we could all go Christianityese and say Jesus is the best man or something like that, but yeah, I was the best man in the wedding, a great honor for me. It was a great ceremony. Just an awesome weekend. You had pointed out to me a couple months ago, that we hadn’t yet done a show on marriage and so that really worked out to have you come in and host that program. How do you think you did?
Chris: I’m not sure. I feel like I talked for quite awhile. I was afraid it wouldn’t last more than 45 minutes, but we went to an hour and ten, so it worked out good.
Kurt: It sometimes can go a long way.
Chris: I just hoped everyone was edified because I am obviously an expert in this field, so maybe there’s something to glean there about marriage.
Kurt: Clearly an expert.
Kurt: Like you said, you had pointed out we hadn’t done marriage at all and so it was a good topic to pick. Very good. Again, thanks for filling in me. There might be a couple other days this summer where we’ll have some guest hosts. I’ve been really busy recently, and I’ll be out of town in a few weeks. There might be another guest. Today we’re talking about immigration. Before we get to that though, today is a very special day for Veracity Hill and while just a few weeks ago we had our 100th episode, for those of you who can do the math, this is episode 104, which means happy birthday to us, happy birthday to us. Yes. It is our second birthday here at Veracity Hill and we are very excited that you are here joining us as we continually strive for truth on a variety of topics from the Christian worldview and I want to thank you for the work that you have done and just making sure you’re listening to us. That can be a work in of itself. Those of us that are joining us on Facebook, hopefully, it’s a lot easier. You just see that notification. We’ve got some people watching along right now today so we do want to talk about immigration and as you know, it’s really been in the news recently about the family separating. I’ve got a number of thoughts that I would like to discuss, but before getting to that I had a few other topics that I wanted to talk about today and I seem to have lost, they’re somewhere here in my browser, some topics. One of them has been some findings by Lifeway.
Chris: We love our friends at Lifeway. Fantastic people.
Kurt: Research indicating, this is funny, that it’s now gone. Let me see if I can load it up here. Lifeway did a study and they had discovered that people, as long as the theology remains the same, that people will not leave the church, so for those that are worried, and this is generally speaking, for those that are worried that they have to change their views to be hip and cool, that’s not the case, and that actually explains what Pew research found not too long ago, that the mainline denominations are declining and some us evangelicals would say, “Gee. We wonder why”, and that’s because they’re forsaking their theology and modifying so that way they better reflect the culture, but then you don’t have anything to offer the culture anymore and so that’s a problem. I really want to get these articles up here.
Chris: I feel that that’s something that one of our guests, Brett McCracken, talked about in his book Uncomfortable, especially toward the end at making sure we’re not comfortably matching society in terms of church structure. I think that’s something that looks like what they’re already trying to get out of emotionally.
Kurt: That’s right. Another thing too, and this is disappointing, I’ll load this up momentarily. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy has retired and maybe it’s been a week or two weeks or something like that?
Chris: It’s been a couple of weeks. It’s been very much abuzz in the political world. It’s a big move.
Kurt: It is. Very big move. For those that follow politics in general, there’s always been rumors for the past few years that Kennedy would retire and lo and behold, now he has. Interestingly enough, abortion is becoming a talked about subject because people are worried that Roe v. Wade will be overturned or modified in some way so what’s of interest here, I finally got my browser back up here. Here’s an article. This is from Yahoo Lifestyle. Of course, I’m not one to just randomly browse Yahoo Lifestyle, but it was on the Yahoo homepage and here’s the article. Women encouraged to go on dating and sex strikes as a protest to Roe v. Wade. Lo and behold, here’s the gal Jennifer Wright. I’m not sure, she’s got the blue icon so she’s someone important, verified account. I’m not sure who she is. She started this movement. She writes here on Twitter, “We’re very likely to lose Roe v. Wade. Some men may think that doesn’t concern them. Make it. Make it worthy of concerning to them.” She says, “If you’re single and dating add a female judge emoji profiles to show people you won’t date or sleep with anyone who doesn’t support a woman’s right to choose.” Here’s where it get really humorous.
Chris: I can kind of understand it up until that point from her perspective.
Kurt: Here’s where it gets really funny. You now have a number of women here on Twitter saying, “What a great idea! How effective this is! This is a surefire way to get their attention.”
Kurt: I can’t help but laugh at how amazingly they think that abstinence will bring attention to supposedly women’s rights. Here as an evangelical, we talk about the evangelical position, we talk about how abstinence would prevent unwanted pregnancies.
Chris: Sure. I think everyone would agree with that.
Kurt: And here they are talking about abstinence to raise attention for women’s rights. They’re saying this is a really effective way. It’s like, hang on a second, we’ve been talking about this for decades and here they are, they have finally discovered upon this great idea. It’s just really astounding that they are now going to this form of sexual ethics. It’s like, if you think, maybe in all seriousness, maybe for one of them they’ll realize, “Oh gee. This is what the pro-lifers are talking about and it’s not so bad after all,” but my sympathy does go out to these people who had not, they might think of relationships and sex as sort of this trade, this economy or something like that, instead of this holy sacred thing, and so hopefully for some of them, I feel sorry that they view relationships this way and I hope that some of them will come to see the truth about what sex really is and how special and unique it is between a man and a woman. You touched upon some of those things last week. My heart goes out to them, but I can’t help but laugh at the humor here that they want to try for abstinence for their cause. Michaela’s watching along here. She says, “Now that’s just hilarious.” Yes, indeed.
Okay. I wanted to touch on that and how that was humorous, their sex strike in order to save Roe v. Wade. I think if the sex strike is successful insofar as they don’t sleep with men, they will find themselves not being pregnant, which is a good thing.
Chris: Blackmail your significant other. It’s great. That’s how we build better relationships.
Kurt: There was one gal on Twitter who said, “I’ve been doing this for years. I don’t date or sleep with a man who doesn’t agree with my view of Roe v. Wade.
Chris: Understandable. Do your thing, but as a sidenote…
Kurt: I bet you $20 the guy’s single.
Chris: From a guy’s standpoint, stuff like this is what leads to men not even pursuing relationships at all. It’s like “Why bother with all this strings attached nonsense? It’s not even worth the effort.” That’s not my viewpoint, but I can definitely see a lot of men get very discouraged by these kind of things.
Kurt: They can, and there is a problem of Peter Pans in our society today, men who are 30 years old still living at home with Mom and Dad, that type of sort. There was one statistic, I think we talked about it on the show a long time ago. 1 in 5 or 1 in 4 men our age basically just have this Peter Pan syndrome. There was one article going around social media, the bum that was legally kicked out of the house. His parents sued him and won and got him kicked out of the house because he wouldn’t work a job, and just really amazing.
Chris: Footnote. Not all people who live with their parents are bums. A few things happen to correlate sometimes.
Kurt: If you have a job and you’re living with your folks, and you’re doing it for financial reasons to save money, absolutely. That’s a great model. In fact, some cultures just do that. That’s what they do. Props to you. It’s different when we’re talking about the bum that’s just living at home. Doesn’t get a job. Doesn’t have plans for the future. That type. Certainly different. I would like to talk about today, and Chris, we’re actually going to talk about this, immigration. This has been in the news, the Trump administration has been getting lots of grief over the separation of families. Some people will cross the border with, I forget how the phrase goes, improper entry I think is the legal term. Some people call it illegal aliens. Some prefer undocumented immigrants, what have you. What happens when these people are caught. The adults are taken to a detention center. The children are taken away to, for all intents and purposes, a detention center. They don’t call it that because the kids aren’t in trouble, but the kids are in a box. They’re basically in a form of prison because they can’t go anywhere. They’re not free to go anywhere. It’s a really complicated issue. Before I go further, let me draw this nuance why I say it’s complicated. Those that are on the political right will say we need to follow the law. We have to be just on the follow the law. Those on the left will say, “We have to be just. How dare you separate a child from its mother or its father? That’s not just at all.” You have both senses of justice here that are conflicting with each other and the question is what is the right way forward? It’s a very complicated issue insofar as we need to figure out what is a good immigration policy. Chris. You did some research, sort of ahead of time here to research the history of how this has come about. You discovered at least one thing that I knew, that our immigration policy is essentially a hodgepodge of different policies that have come together over the years through legislation. Tell me more about that.
Chris: So, from that particular, there’s two aspects of this that I found that were very interesting to me. One is the immediate problem of how did we get here to this issue and one is a problem that stretches all the way back to our immigration policy with the southern border just before the 1920’s and its been kind of building from there. No direct problems if you look at that, but if you start connecting dots from there to here, you’re like I can see how this path was blazed forward. From a standpoint of someone who’s watching the news several weeks ago it just kind of exploded and everyone’s like, “It’s Trump’s fault because it came out of nowhere so it must be Trump’s fault.” What my understanding is, and I need to brush up on my reading here. I’ve got an article here from the Washington Post and they did a good job of summarizing what happened here. We have a spokesperson or a security officer or I can’t remember their exact title named Nielson from the Office of Homeland Security and there’s a spokesperson here and it says, “The administration (Meaning the United States of America) does not have a family separation policy.” What happened before, this is broad strokes and those of you that are politically savvy can probably correct me on what’s going on because I’ve been doing research this week, even under the Obama administration, the idea of taking people who are coming into the country and be like, “Wait a minute. You’ve committed a crime,” Just in general, from your country or you’ve been doing stuff you can detect you’re a criminal. We need to take you and send you to a holding cell to await trial and we’re going to take your kids and put them in their thing if you brought them here and then we’re going to have you be tried and that’s the process we’re seeing now, but there’s nothing that says families have to be separated at the border. It’s just if a criminal came in they were separated and that was usually because they’ve committed a felony, because they were involved in drug trafficking, human trafficking etc.
Kurt: So previous offenders.
Chris: Previous offenders or offenders that were just now being recaught here. A few, I think it was either a few weeks ago or a few months ago, maybe a few months ago.
Kurt: So Jeff Sessions issued a zero-tolerance position.
Chris: Jinx. Jinx. Double jinx.
Kurt: You can’t talk the rest of the show. Before you go on here, when we were kids, how did you end jinx? You had to say the person’s name?
Chris: I think you just say jinx and then you blurted out “You owe me a coke” and that person had to buy you a coke.
Kurt: I think mine was you say the person’s name. I say “Chris.” So you can talk now.
Chris: Okay. It’s really important on a podcast or livestream.
Kurt: Knowing how to play Jinx.
Chris: So the zero-tolerance policy said, “Anyone who is crossing the border illegally is committing a crime that we can charge you for.” What happens is, and what would happen with the criminals before which were a very small minority, I think it was less than 12-20% of people who were coming across. That sounds like a lot, but the numbers will show when we look at them or talk about them, it wasn’t a ton. It was down a lot. This practice was happening. There was a practice, not everyone who is illegal is prosecuted, but people who committed a crime were prosecuted and when they are, the families are separated. Children are taken away for a moment till we figure out what to do with the adults. The adults are either sent back or allowed to come through and/or the child is put with a sponsor.
Kurt: Like a family member.
Chris: Yeah, who’s either usually already coming into the country or someone who’s already there, so now what has happened when Sessions runs a zero-tolerance policy and all he changed, “Anyone who’s coming across the border illegally has committed a crime and we’re going to treat them as if they’ve committed a crime.” Again, based on popular culture and the numbers, the majority of people coming across the border are not legal. There’s a good bit of legal people.
Kurt: They’re not following the legal process.
Chris: Either because they’ve been miscommunicated. There’s a lot of miscommunication that trickles down to their country like just show up, so a lot of it’s not their fault, but they come through illegally, you’re illegal. We’re going to take you, put you up in this holding cell, federal prison, wait your court date and your kid, same process, the kid’s going to go to this holding cell and they’re going to get placed with a sponsor. What the Trump administration was not ready for was the volume of this and so now it became kids and parents are being separated at the border. All kids and parents are being separated at the border. Trump is separating families at the border. All they did were saying “We’re going to legally prosecute people who are coming in illegally” and down there at the border authority, that process entailed separating families. Before it wasn’t as big a deal because both the offense was higher and the number they were prosecuting was much lower.
Kurt: Yeah. The way I’ve understood it is that the Trump admin was enforcing the law on the books, so to speak. Administrations, the executive branch, had their way in terms of deciding how they want to enforce a law and the Supreme Court allows for just a broad interpretation of how a law is enforced. For example, this is a hypothetical. Suppose there’s a law that you have to protect the southern border. Well, one administration could send one person to monitor the entire southern border of the United States and that would be seen as permissible for enforcing the law that’s on the books, or you could have another administration be sending tens of thousands of people to enforce the laws that are on the books. There’s sort of broad latitude in terms of how enforcement is understood. With regard to the Bush administration and Obama administration, the latitude was broader, and so Jeff Sessions here in the Trump administration has basically come along and said, “We’re going to follow what the law says.” These are a couple things to keep in mind. One thing to keep in mind. They are following the law that is on the books. This is what Congress has passed into law and was signed into place that should be done. Then, the White House administration decides how to enforce it. See what I’m saying here? This is already what’s written on the books. So for people that are saying this is unjust, how dare the Trump administration, I think there’s a misplaced passion for where the injustice has occurred. Maybe the injustice has occurred at the policy level, what has been written on the books, the law books, the legislation, so, meanwhile, while all this happened, the Trump administration has now corrected basically allowing for families to stay together because they saw the PR disaster that this was, even though they weren’t exclusively at fault. Multiple people were at fault for this, but it also begs the question, what should the policy be? What should immigration policy be? It’s complicated. When an adult, when a single parent adult commits a crime here in America, they go to jail. What happens to their children? The children go into the system because who’s going to care for the kids? Hopefully, the system’s working with family members and they’re staying with an aunt or uncle, something like that, or grandparents, but when a parent goes to jail they’re separated from their kids, and the government isn’t going to let the kids just live in the house alone. Some of these things deal with these tough realities of children being separated by their parents. So should parents, should it be a crime, should it be illegal for someone just to walk over on our territory into our country? Should they not be detained at all and if they are detained, what should happen? Well now, the Trump admins allowing the kids to stay with them. That’s I think at the very least a benefit. It’s an improvement upon the situation, but there are still some things to hash out here. What should immigration policy be and I want to talk about, I’ve got two main things I want to talk about and we’re going to take our break a little shorter in this program.
Two things. One, Wayne Grudem, who’s a systematic theologian, very accessible guy, he’s written this article over at town hall called why building a border wall is a morally good action. I want to talk about his article, some of the things he says, and I’ve got some criticism, what I hope is constructive criticism of it, and then also in the second half I want to play a clip of Milton Friedman, the famous 20th century economist, Nobel Peace Prize winner, Milton Friedman. He’s got this great talk. We’re going to just be watching a short segment of it, where he talks about the relationship between immigration and the welfare state and how that can influence our immigration policy and it’s interesting to see how there has been a flip between those that claim to be free market, but are very protectionist, versus those that are big government, but support a free market solution, so there’s been a flip in immigration policy and if anything, that’s a testament to the way partisan politics plays out in our nation, but before we talk about Grudem’s article and that Friedman clip, and I really hope you’re going to follow along with us today, we’re going to take a short break here from our sponsors.
Kurt: Alright. Thanks for sticking with us through that short break from our sponsors. On today’s program we are talking about immigration and what’s a Christian to believe. We talked about some of the facts surrounding our current situation, but really, that hasn’t helped us to decide what ought a Christian to believe on it? We’re talking about that today, it’s just Chris and myself, no guest, but at the start of the show we talked about a couple other things. I had mentioned this Lifeway research study that came out and I had trouble getting my browser, but now I’ve got it, so before we continue talking about immigration, I want to talk about this. From Lifeway, new research, churchgoers stick around for theology, not music or preachers. These are the recent findings and perhaps pastors can be at ease knowing that the number of butts in the pews isn’t contingent upon their preaching style. Here we go. Lifeway research surveyed 1,010 Protestant churchgoers, those that attended services at least once a month, to see how strongly they are tied to their local congregations. Researchers found, this is from Ed Stetzer’s blog by the way, researchers found most churchgoers stay put. 35% have been at their church between 10-24 years. 27% have been there for 25 years or more. 21% have been there for less than five years. That gives you an idea that just over 25% are there for the long term. 25 years or more. You’ve got your good stable finding there. Let’s see here. More than 50% of these churchgoers say they are completely committed to continuing to attend their current church. About a quarter, 28%, are very much committed, while 11% are moderately committed. 2% are slightly committed while 1% are not committed at all. The more people go to church, Stetzer writers, the more committed they are to attending their same church in the future. Top reasons people would consider changing churches. Here we go.
54%, so half of them, would say if the church changed its doctrine, they would leave. That is the top reason. Guess #2 here.
48% of people say if I moved, if I moved residences, but that’s telling, that 52% of people even if they did move, they would keep going to the same church. I presume that’s within reason. Michaela and I have a 15 minute rule. If you can’t get to church in 15 minutes, pick a closer church. Part of that is you want to find that community you can live with. If you’re driving an hour away, that can be a little difficult. Not insurmountable, but a little difficult to say invite people over or to go hang out with others, to have that community.
19% of people would leave their church if the preaching style changed. 4 out of 5 people would stay. That’s really not a thing to be concerned with.
12% if a pastor left. My church, we had our pastor retire a couple years ago now and there were some people that did leave because they had that close relationship with the pastor and it just being a different season in life, they just decided to find a different church. Some folks had moved and they kept coming so they decided when it’s retirement, we’ll find a closer church. That seems like a good reason, especially with a pastor’s retirement, if there’s other dramas surrounding it, it can be complicated. But relational conflict with someone, music style changing. I know some of these we talked about with Brett McCracken on that episode, but those are very minute population of people that would leave if that stuff changed. Churches shouldn’t really be concerned about changing their music in order to fit with the crowd or all those issues I think churches sometimes think about, it’s not that big of a deal.
Alright. I did want to talk about that. Let’s get back to talking about immigration. We talked about how the Trump administration sort of during the break you had mentioned Chris, how the administration sort of had its finger on the button, and the button they didn’t create themselves. It was the button that was already there.
Chris: Imagine chemistry. You put in something, but all the other things that are already in there is what caused the reaction. These laws, none of them say deport children, separate children from their families. It was one little[NP1]
Kurt: So we can’t blame Trump for the law itself. If people are going to blame the Trump administration, it’s going to be on the enforcement of the law, how it’s enforced, but heaven forbid we actually enforce laws that are written on the books. The way that the White House has done this is there has been an inflexibility in how they enforce laws. They’ve kind of used that broad interpretation, to go with whatever they want the policy to be, even if the written policy is not what the administration wants it to be. So all of this to say, we don’t know what a Christian should believe. What should we believe? Wayne Grudem here writes this article on why building a border wall is a morally good action and published this on town hall just a few days ago. He asks is building a wall on a morally good action?
Is building a wall on our border a morally good action? As a professor who has taught biblical ethics for 41 years, I think it is—in fact, the Bible itself repeatedly views protective walls with favor.
Kurt: Well, I betcha I could find you a theology professor whose taught biblical ethics for 41 years that disagrees, so I’m not sure the credentializing there. As I settle in here, I want to talk about some of the verses. There are numerous verses in the Bible, especially the Old Testament, which talk about how beautiful the walls and security are. For example, Psalm 122:7, peace be within your walls and security within your towers. This is a figurative sense, but there’s also a literal sense in which this is the case. 2 Chronicles 36:19. And they burned the house of God and broke down the walls of Jerusalem and burned down all its walls with fire and destroyed all its precious vessels. I don’t want to take any verses out of context here, but basically what we can gather is that, and you think about this, if you know the history of Israel, you know that walls are very important for protection. Protection from what? From an enemy, because they would lay siege upon the cities to destroy them. I think Grudem’s article, while Grudem is very accessible, he’s easy to understand, he doesn’t always lay out the arguments in favor of his interpretation or his application. Okay? In this sense, it’s not going to be the interpretation even. Okay? How do you interpret 1 Kings 3 which talks about strengthening the wall of Jerusalem? There’s not much interpretation there. It’s a historical book. What we do need to talk about is the application of the verse. Here, Grudem is applying this verse into our modern context and saying “This is a good thing.” Okay? The question is if and to what extent Grudem is correct. Primarily borders are for security and if that’s the case, we need to recognize that we don’t exactly have our enemy’s laying siege on our country. Does that mean building borders is not important? No. That does not mean that. Building borders are important, but how we build borders and where we build borders is important. If we’re building borders, just to keep people out and not purely from a point of security, that’s different than what the Old Testament is talking about, and in that respect, Grudem’s application is incorrect.
It’s very important to recognize how we apply these passages. In the Old Testament, walls were built for security purposes, not to keep out the stranger. The Old Testament does talk about welcoming the stranger. It’s a question of how we welcome the stranger. Further on, Grudem talks about an objection. We should be a nation that welcomes immigrants. He says, “I agree wholeheartedly, if they come illegally, but it is of no kindness if the lack of a wall tempts them to risk death by walking across miles of…” he continues on and on and on. He sees that. That there is something to welcoming folks. It’s true. We should welcome them legally. In the Old Testament, how do you welcome them legally? Wait a second. There weren’t exactly Visas and passports that people had. Maybe especial guests were sent with letters from a king, a royal saying, let these people through or something like that, but we didn’t have those free to travel cards, and in fact, the United States up until 1914 or 1917 had free travel. All you had to do was show up on Ellis Island. You signed your paper. You had to be in good health. Can’t let diseases in, and you were welcome.
I think here Grudem’s article is a bit too simplistic. Yes, there are these Bible verses that talk about the importance of borders, but why were they built and how should we be building our 21st century borders today? I think there’s a lot more danger happening at an airport risking a terrorist attack through an airport system than from the southern border. Michaela writes here, “Many people think immigrants are a security issue. Terrorists or job stealers.” Yeah. We’re going to be getting into the job stealers aspect a little later, but yes, it’s true. There could be a terrorist that were to walk across from the southern border. More realistically in our present day, gang violence, that is a big problem. Gang violence. I think there are a number of ways we can tackle that issue. I think there’s way we can really defuse the issue as well. If we look at our drug policy, but that’s true, but as I said, I think there’s a higher risk happening through the airport system than the southern border. To our knowledge, there isn’t anything coming across the southern border yet that would cause a dirty bomb coming through. Yes. It is important to build borders and how we do it I think is important, so maybe we do build a wall at the southern border, but we say, increase the amount of legal immigrants and we make the process a little easier than it used to be. It can take years and years and years and years just to get into this country legally and that I think is indicative of the problem occurring in that system. That’s not a justification for people to come across illegally, however. We need to focus on where the problem really is. What we’re viewing, there can be a difference between recognizing the symptoms of a problem itself, so let’s talk about where the problem itself is. If you want to be a good doctor, you have to find out where the problem’s coming from. Not just saying, “Oh. You’re bleeding. Let’s put a band-aid on.” That might not solve the problem. You’ve really got to diagnose the problem properly.
Okay. What I want to do now before continuing here in talking about how a Christian should form a good and proper immigration policy, I want to listen in and you can watch along with us, a clip from Milton Friedman, the 20th century economist. He provides his thoughts on how we should really think about immigration in light of a growing government welfare system and this is going to touch on one of the things Michaela talked about here, job-stealing, for example. Think about these things as we listen in on Milton Friedman.
Kurt: We’re gonna pause right there. We’re gonna continue on, but I just want to make some comments here. Here Friedman contrasts immigration with the welfare state and this is where it gets really wacky. Alright? Now, these days you have Republicans talking about how they’re going to take from the system. You gotta put the kids in education. That’s teachers. They might need medical care, hospital visits. They’re taking from the system. And it’s the Republicans talking about how this is wrong, which honestly, it comes across like Republicans are talking about how we need to protect the system. If Republicans are free-market people, their policies should reflect free-market solutions. Why are they trying to protect the welfare state? Why instead should they not be saying, “We need to decrease the size of the welfare state, decrease what the federal government does.” I’m not talking about state programs. I’m talking about the federal government only. That’s really my only interest. States I think can set up all sorts of laboratories of Democracy. They can set up their own systems, health care, education, whatever you want. I think we should have fifty different mini-societies to see which one is the best and how they do it. So, I’m just talking about the federal government. The federal government should decrease the welfare system to provide for peoples’ positive rights. A positive right is the right to be given an education or be given medical care. A negative right would be something like your right not to be restrained from getting an education, say your right to get water, to acquire water. Negative rights I believe are the primary interest of a government in protecting that, and when the federal government seeks to provide positive rights, they do so at the expense of other peoples’ negative rights and that’s my concern and I think that’s problematic, so I think the federal government should work on decreasing the size of the welfare state, and its really just become this wacky 180 where Republicans are protecting the welfare state and liberals are talking about being pro-immigration, but let’s continue on listening in to what else Friedman has to say.
Kurt: Alright. That was Milton Friedman and he’s got some great thoughts there. Michaela talked about here, her comment on Facebook, on how many people believe that when you’re talking about immigration you need to be concerned that there won’t be job-stealers. Right? Friedman talks about they’re coming to find jobs, to get the jobs, so that means that there are jobs available. If the jobs are available, who are they stealing the jobs from then? Who are they stealing the jobs from? The big concern I think that Republicans should have is the welfare state. We shouldn’t have as big a concern about immigrants coming to our great nation, the land of opportunity. Whatever happened to that? I think we really need to have a free-market perspective here on the benefits of welcoming the stranger.
Now, at the same time, Friedman has some great thoughts on this. At the same time, and even Friedman would recognize this, we can’t take in X amount of immigrants tomorrow, say a super high number. Right? For a number of reasons, our monetary policy, inflation and deflation would be a problem. The Federal Reserve has to print a certain amount of money every year, just to keep up with the growing economy and we don’t want them to screw that up. They’ve got to keep tabs on how many people are coming in, how many people are going out. Think of it like this. If you’re part of a church, how many immigrants could you support and help as your church? There are in the limited scope, time scope here, there are limited resources. I’m not saying in the long run, but in the short term here, limited resources used to help out. In the same way, the country has limited resources. While I think we should have a free sense of immigration, at the same time, there are some tough realities of how many people we can bring in at any given time. The United States has historically had a policy of bringing in students and high-skilled laborers, so the people that are very educated they bring over, accept, and give a visa too. I think that’s a little complicated because suppose we’re taking away a doctor from that one town that needs a doctor and now we have taken away their doctor. Maybe we could ask ourselves what really is a global perspective here, having a global economy. We want to make sure getting sick in another country have access to a doctor, so we shouldn’t be taking all their doctors. That’s all of a sudden a disadvantage globally. I think that’s also another thing that we need to consider. As Friedman says, this is a very complicated issue. There are so many different policies coming at each others and so many different areas. Monetary policy, the welfare state, security, all these other aspects coming together that form an immigration policy, and it can be very complicated, so I think we need to take it, have that approach, approach the issue with a humble heart and not just say, “How dare that administration, they’re being unjust!” This is a very complicated issue. While I don’t have the XYZ answer for you, I think that would be one take away I would suggest is to approach this with a humble heart and say it’s a complicated issue and let’s look at these different factors.
I think one of the things Friedman talks about was that illegal immigration is good for an economy, so long as it’s illegal because then, from Friedman’s perspective, the economist’s perspective, they’re contributing to society. They’re having these jobs and that’s providing value to others.
Chris: And that’s within the welfare state system that we’ve slipped into as a country.
Kurt: Chris. Note for Friedman, as long as they’re illegal, they don’t have access to…
Chris: That’s what I mean. The idea that illegal immigration is good in the welfare state because they don’t qualify for welfare.
Kurt: As long as they’re…that’s right. Friedman. He’s being a bit tongue in cheek here. His view is basically that the government policy has been a disadvantage to the society and so he thinks that coming in, as long as you’re healthy, there shouldn’t be a reason why you shouldn’t be here basically, but he’s drawing attention properly so to the size of the welfare state. I think if we decrease the size of the welfare state, Republicans might have a different tune on immigration and I hope they will. I think Republicans who are supposed to be free-market need to be supporting immigration and there’s sometimes this distinction drawn between legal and illegal immigration, and I would suggest while I would agree that it should always be legal, just to emphasize that you’re pro-immigration. You don’t have to say “I’m pro legal immigration.” Just say you’re pro-immigration. You support a free-market system. If people want to come here to work, yeah, let’s put them to work. This is the land of opportunity and that’s the way it’s historically been and we shouldn’t be protectionistic about jobs. I think it’s safe to say no nation has ever declined or gone under as a result of immigrants coming to better their own situation. We need to mix the way we even speak about this and not just have it from a security standpoint. I think when we do that, Chris, I think we can reach to what a lot of liberals see as their passion for the immigrant, their sense of justice here, a restorative justice if you will vs a retributive sense of justice and when you can talk about those things, you can appeal to peoples’ hearts and their minds and so I think that would be a very winsome way in the future for people to talk about this issue because as Friedman said, prior to 1914, that was the year, people just had to show up, and that strikes me as the good old days. He says who would ever say that that was a bad time in American history.
Chris: Yeah. It was interesting to see historically how that has evolved and then from that point up until the 1960’s with the exception of the Great Depression, because the Mexicans didn’t want to come up because we were having it just as bad.
Kurt: And that was a market, notice that was a market deterrent.
Chris: Yeah, but they would historically, the majority of Mexican immigrants were agricultural laborers cause they knew how to work the land so they would get divided up into the southern United States to help with planting and harvest and then spend the winter back home. That worked out for everybody.
Kurt: And even to this day in some parts that still happens. They have the seasonal visa.
Chris: That was entire communities in Mexico made that their way of life until 1965 when we passed an immigration reform called the INA or something like that. I’ve got it here in my notes. There it is. Immigration and Nationality Act in 1965 after we’d done the Great Depression, we’d done two world wars, and we had immigration policy change with the wars. 1965 said here’s the limit of immigrants that can come in and the majority of them have to be families, but, so it discouraged workers from coming up, but then had a provision called the Texas proviso, I hope I’m saying that right, that explicitly exempted employers from having to record that their employees were illegal, so it encouraged employers, encouraged illegal immigrants to come over. Like, “I need to have harvest. Your cap’s not going to let me hire enough. I need to have illegal immigrants come over.” Putting aside a lot of the political climate that’s down there in Mexico and other Central and South American countries, that’s always changing, we kind of helped create a lot of that climate because their way of life of a lot of villages, especially border villages, was dependent upon their being able to come in, and we said “No. You can’t come in.” We probably contributed a little bit to their economic climate down there.
Kurt: Decades of immigration policy has led us to where we are today. It is a complicated issue. It’s complicated policy, like I said from a host of different areas of life, and like you said, we ourselves have in part contributed to the situation down there, and here’s another aspect, Chris, that we can consider. We talked about monetary policy, the welfare state, security, what about diplomacy? How about working with Mexico to better their own country?
Chris: Back when Bush Sr. and Reagan were asked this question in a debate, that was their answer. Why don’t we just talk to our Mexican neighbors and see how we help each other out?
Kurt: Right, and so some of these things, you think about land ownership. Let people own their own property. That’s a big boon for an economy and it’s also a reason why people would want to stay. In some states, I know Michaela went down to Argentina when she was in college for a time, and in Argentina you don’t own your land, you don’t own your house. The government does. So people would leave and go on vacation, come back, and a whole other family would be living in their own home. That was okay. There are these, something like that I think could be a big boon for struggling economies and so diplomacy is another added area where we can think about, “What’s one of the ways, if people like so much what we’re doing here, why don’t we try to help other countries see what we’re doing here so they can implement it?” In that sense, we can be a light to other nations. Lead by example and work with those governments to bring about their policy for their own country, so that way we can be spreading the love everywhere.
Okay. Let’s finish up today’s program here. If there’s anything that we’ve learned, it’s that immigration policy is complex. It’s not all that simple so let’s not be quick to rush to judgment. The current policy of the United States is written, that’s the law, and that’s the way Congress passed the law and it was signed by a president into effect and the way the executive branch has enforced the law has changed between the administrations. There’s a debate to be had there about how should the executive branch enforce our laws. Sometimes they enforce them, strictly. Sometimes they barely enforce them at all that we could basically say they’re not enforcing anything, and not necessarily about immigration, but about other aspects. It’s very complex and we need to come at it with a humble heart. We can’t take ten million immigrants tomorrow. It’s impossible. There are tough realities that need to be recognized. There are in the short term limited resources and so just like a church, we have to decide. You have to be discerning as to who you want to help, who you can help, and who you can’t at the present time help. We can’t help everyone as a nation. In that sense, we have to have limits on who comes in, at what rate they come in, but at the same time the process is very difficult so maybe we could find ways to make the process easier while just placing our limits and saying “Okay. That’s all we can take for the time being.” Meanwhile, let’s look to diplomatic relationships to help ease other peoples’ other own situations in their countries, so there’s work to be done there. It’s a very complicated issue. Again, I don’t have an XYZ solution for you. It is simply complex. I didn’t even talk about minimum wage policy. I wrote a paper on this in college, Chris. Man.
Chris: Sure that affected things.
Kurt: It can affect why employers would want to hire illegal workers. The minimum wage does that. If minimum wage is $7.50 and they can pay a guy $5 an hour to do work, why not pay the guy $5 an hour?
Chris: On a reverse end, better wages are why they started coming up in the first place. Just, “I can do this.” They pay me more to do the same work.
Kurt: In a nutshell, I think we should look to market effects, while recognizing the need for legal immigration and again, another thing we didn’t talk about, assimilation, that’s associated with immigration policy. One of the things, cultural change. A lot of people are worried about cultural change. America’s a melting pot and if you talk about and foster that sense of assimilation, welcoming people to our country and the things that we stand for, you can help deter those cultural changes that would come about.
Again, very complicated issue. I would love to get your thoughts on the matter. What do you think about immigration? What are some things I missed? What are some things you disagree with me on? I’d love to hear from you. There are a number of ways you can get in touch with me. You can email me, Kurt@veracityhill.com. You can also join our texting program. Text the word VERACITY to 555-888. Next week, we are going to be talking about, one thing I did mention, the Defenders Conference, I’ll talk more about that and how excited I am for that and the platform for that so you’ll get more details coming up on that next week.
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Chris: Sure thing.
Kurt: Last but not least, I want to thank you for listening in and for striving for truth on faith, politics, and society.
[NP1]Unclear at 29:45
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