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December 17th, 2010
02:18 PM ET

My Take: Christians should keep the Dream Act alive

Editor's Note: Carlos Campo is a member of Conservatives for Comprehensive Immigration Reform and president of Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

By Carlos Campo, Special to CNN

As we hear the (ominous for some, joyous for others) sound of the door slamming shut on the Dream Act, Christians in America are left to wonder if this is a missed opportunity or the exercise of justice.

Not all share my opinion that the Dream Act was not window dressing for a hidden amnesty agenda, but a reasonable step in confronting the complex issue of how best to deal with the millions of undocumented immigrants who now call America home.

The Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, one of the most articulate and compassionate Christian voices for Latinos in America, has stressed that Christians must embrace “a solution that emphasizes assimilation and justice.”

Others, like Alan F. H. Wisdom, vice president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, argue: “Alongside the biblical teachings about hospitality to strangers also stand the teachings about the rule of law.”

Surely, Portia’s famous lines from Shakespeare’s "The Merchant of Venice" come to mind, as she declares that mercy “is an attribute to God Himself,” and further cautions Shylock to:

Consider this,
that, in the course of justice, none of us
should see salvation. We do pray for mercy;
and that same prayer doth teach us all to render
the deeds of mercy.

Of course — as many others have pointed out — Portia seems to forget her very words when she later joins others to lash out at Shylock, who responds to their attack with:

I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes?
Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions,
senses, affections, passions?
fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons,
subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means,
warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer,
as a Christian is?

If you prick us, do we not bleed?
If you tickle us, do we not laugh?
If you poison us, do we not die?

We cannot read these lines and not be tempted to rephrase the speech and ask, “Hath not the undocumented eyes?” Will they not “bleed?”

America bears some responsibility for the immigration issue we now face. We did not (and still do not, in my mind) properly secure our borders. In fact, from the ‘70s through the ‘90s, we gladly allowed immigrants — especially from Mexico — to flood into our country to help deal with labor shortages.

These immigrants helped reduce the costs on goods from strawberries to new housing, and became the backbone of our service industry. Most statistics indicate that they were more law-abiding than the average citizen (perhaps because they feared deportation) and attended church more regularly as well. As a negative, unintended consequence, they may have unduly taxed our educational and medical systems.

Many young undocumented immigrants bear no responsibility for entering our country illegally. Before we visit the “sins of the fathers” on these young men and women, might we consider a better way? They know no other country; they pledge allegiance alongside their American brothers and sisters day after day in our classrooms, bless our God in our churches, desire to serve in the military and give their lives as they have given their hearts to this great country, whose welcoming freedom still rings to all those who dream as we do.

Many of us have seen the harrowing sign on San Diego’s 405 freeway: Bold letters warn drivers, “CAUTION,” and just below those letters we see a family of three. The father leads them into danger, head down, determined. The mother follows, also leaning forward in full flight, clutching the arm of a young girl, her pony tail streaming behind her, feet barely touching the ground. It is she, that young girl, and so many like her, who were brought here by determined, sometimes desperate parents.

Should she not be able to dream? To serve?

I know my descriptions have idealized some of the undocumented people living in the U.S., but we serve a God who taught us to pray, “Forgive those who trespass against us.” As Christians, is this the trespass that we simply will not forgive?

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Carlos Campo.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • California • Christianity • Church and state • Culture wars • Faith Now • Politics • United States

soundoff (115 Responses)
  1. book of ra download

    Im Grunde genommen n hammer Post, nur kannst du später n wenig umfassender sein? Dies wäre wirklich genial ;-)

    April 3, 2011 at 10:20 am |
  2. George

    Children bear no responsibility for being born at all, or for their place of birth, but it is not the responsibility of citizens of this country to bear the responsibility of children born in Mexico, Pakistan, Ireland, et al. Apparently it is only when they are brought to this country illegally and manage to avoid our detection through lies and subterfuge that we bear the responsibility for their welfare. Instead of these subversive pastors intruding into the realm of politics, something that Jesus refused to do, they should concentrate on reforming the sending countries, Mexico with over 80 million soles for a start. Instead, they prefer to abuse the country they allegedly owe allegiance. This pastor is a complete failure in recognizing the true enemy of the so-called DREAM Act beneficiaries.

    January 8, 2011 at 4:42 am |
  3. DallasMD

    NO DREAM ACT! Illegal is illegal at any age.... A sinful or illegal act is not corrected through persistence ... They need to go to place of their legal citizinship.

    January 4, 2011 at 11:51 am |
  4. CharlieSeattle

    Google this thread: Deferred Action, Obama, ignore, existing imigration laws

    Traitor Obama is up to no good.

    December 31, 2010 at 6:03 pm |
  5. CharlieSeattle

    Google this Lou Dobbs video: Cost of Illegal Immigration

    December 31, 2010 at 6:01 pm |
  6. CharlieSeattle

    Google this disgusting video: Nancy Pelosi calls Enforcement Officials "Un-American"

    December 31, 2010 at 6:01 pm |
  7. CharlieSeattle

    So will Congress enforce existing immigration laws and deport illegal aliens and seal the Borders?
    No, the reason is simple.

    Republicans want the cheap labor at the expence of out of work real Americans.
    Democrats want 12 million new democratic voters that will vote to support them in order to keep the gravy train of free taxpayer benefits flowing.

    Obama and both political parties are out to screw us all.

    Fight organized crime...RE-ELECT NO ONE!!

    December 31, 2010 at 5:59 pm |
  8. CharlieSeattle

    Comprehensive immigration reform...

    ...is code for AMNESTY.

    The majority of American citizens are dead set against it, mostly the unemployed ones.

    December 31, 2010 at 5:57 pm |
  9. maria alejo

    No more freebies, back to the American way. No matter how you became illegal, its not our fault, there is a saying
    "the sins of the parents are viisted upon the children" Your parents did this to you, why should Americans and people that came here the legal way pay for your parents error. we need to just say No! If we cave in it will only send the message that its ok to continue being illegal. If this is the case then I want to be able to whatever I want and exspect that because I have a spanish sur name I should be pardened. If America keeps on this "handout" mentality we are going to have some sort of serious rebellion from grass roots Americans .....I hope! No Dream Act! Seal The Borders! Stop The Santa Clause Act!

    December 30, 2010 at 2:12 pm |
  10. American

    as if reality cares about how to pay for things. trashy mexican't

    December 21, 2010 at 2:00 pm |
  11. John Lamb

    Carlos, thank you for your leadership on this issue in general and for writing this particular piece in the wake of the numbing failure of the Senate to allow a vote on the merits on the DREAM Act. I am encouraged by these words from a fellow Christian.

    December 20, 2010 at 11:05 pm |
  12. PAGANGRL69

    The Dream Act is a disgrace and ashame to the All Legalized & Natural Born American Citizens...Why should illegal and unlawful behavior be awarded to people who have committed a crime by living in our Country illegally...It should never be awarded to bad behavior...They or their children are all considered illegal cause their parents were illegal to begin with...Why should Natural Born Legalized Citizens have to pay for them and their children to go to college have the same Rights and Freedom's when they did not 'HONESTLY" clearly earn them...When my children- my family- my friends and other Legalized American's Citizens of this Country have to struggle pay taxes for this behavior is proposterous...True American Citizens should be first priority...Period!!! Has our country become @aa-backwards in everything it does lately?...Last thing I knew that entering our country illegally is a "CRIME"! Period...Why do we bend laws for the some minority then punish others for the same laws broken...Can't have it both ways...They need to clean sweep America and send all illegals back to their Countries...Who are not authorized to be here...Period...come here Legally...Not live here 10-20 yrs have kids so you can say your an American doesn't work that way-Your kids are just as illegal as you are too...Period-Sure try to cookie-cutter it with Sparkles...Bottom line..."You Still Are All illegals"...Why?- cause "You were illegal to begin with"...If you want to be a Real American Citizen do it the "HONEST LEGAL WAY" "The Right Lawful Way" "Respect Our Country"- moreanso- "Yourselves"...Then you are worthy to be called a "True American"...

    December 20, 2010 at 4:34 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      The USA is awash in debt. Sending all the illegals back to their country of origin will cost millions and millions. Will you accept higher taxes and/or where would you cut the budget to pay for sending all the illegals back?

      Sending all the illegals back is treating the symptom – which I'll define as "they are already in the US", not the underlying socio-economic situation that causes illegals to want to migrate to the USA. Rather than treating the symptom, I hope you would agree that it would be better to prevent it. If the underlying socio-economic conditions are not going to change, and many of them are in the other countries outside the control of the USA, then I suggest the USA needs to shutdown its borders and highly control legal immigration. As above, how would you pay for this?

      December 20, 2010 at 7:22 pm |
    • Reality

      How to pay for guarding our borders? No problem- conduct all military training which is already paid for from the Defense Department's budget to the border areas. Nothing like the presence of a few thousand tanks and artillery pieces doing 24/7 manuevers to not only have a war-ready military but also having the added effect of creating deadly "no trespassing" zones.

      December 21, 2010 at 7:45 am |
    • HotAirAce

      @Reality

      Good suggestion! Provided there's enough land available and/or the landowners on the USA side of the border are good with it. But I like the basic idea.

      December 21, 2010 at 3:47 pm |
  13. absurdist

    Immigration IS. We need to deal with the issues that we have, not potentials. The DREAM Act does that–we have these kids, now what to do with them? Hey, I have a crazy notion–why not MAKE THEM INTO PRODUCTIVE CITIZENS, instead of punishing them for something that isn't their doing? No, no, that's too wacky.
    If you want to curb the negative economic effects of illegal immigration, stop looking at Mexicans, and start leveraging hefty fines, penalties, and maybe even some jailtime against each and every employer who pays any employee–and guaranteed most of these will be illegal immigrants–less than minimum wage. Enforce the labor laws we already have, BOOM! Playing field leveled.
    ...of course, this will mean actually punishing some white people. With money. HA HA hahahahaha, stupid, right?

    December 20, 2010 at 12:31 pm |
    • American

      they are ALREADY citizens of MEXICO! you crime loving trashy mexican't

      December 20, 2010 at 6:55 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @American

      Every immigrant to the USA was a citizen of some other country, and in fact dual citizenship is legal. So what's your point? And please see if you can answer with hurling nasty names.

      December 20, 2010 at 7:23 pm |
    • George

      I've got an idea. Why don't we sanction Mexico and other South American nations if they don't take responsibility for their children, accept them into their society and re-educate them. After all, their parents came to this country without an understanding of the culture, language and with little education. If it's good enough for the parents, then it's good enough for them. It's even considered heroic by the illegal alien advocate crowd. Yes, let's send the young heroes homes, now that they've gotten a free education courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer. Time for Mexico et al to pay the price of driving their people across our borders.

      January 8, 2011 at 4:52 am |
    • George

      HotAirAce, I'm tired of people such as you who seek to cede the right to citizenship to anyone who would cross our border at the expense of the sovereign right of our country to retain a defined border, the right to set immigration policy and the right to defend it. I could you use your stupid argument to defend the German Army's right to cross the French frontier at the beginning of World War II. If immigration policy isn't to be defined by the receiving country, the citizens of such country would have no right to govern their future. You mention money, but how would you have put a price on the French right to keep their country for their own during WWII? It certainly would have been cheaper if they'd just let themselves be annexed, rather than fight. The cost of permitting illegal aliens to win the current argument isn't just defined by the amount of money to keep them our or send them home, but in the cost of principle to the American people to define their future. Importing 20 million poorly educated illegal aliens, many who are illiterate, affects this country far more than the cost of prosecuting and deporting them.

      January 8, 2011 at 5:11 am |
  14. absurdist

    Imagine an economy in ruins. Some Americans are able to hold onto some semblance of work and cobble together a hardscrabble life; others have turned to crimes of theft and drug dealing in order to support themselves and their desperate families. Ramen noodles and bags of dry rice and beans are what the luckiest of common citizens line their cupboards with; violence increases as resources decrease. The government has turned more and more corrupt, no longer in the interests of the people.
    Then, a wave of hope ripples through the people. To the north, there is a snowy land of opportunity: seas of white people retain a happy, clean, middle-class lifestyle. They are an educated people, and need folks to do their dirty work; occasionally, a recruiter will come down across the border looking for laborers. "Come to Canada," is the word on the street. "It will be long hours of back-breaking work, but we can take it. We are Americans! We can work! We know sacrifice! I know it will be hard to move to the cold, strange land of Canada, but it is the only way to raise your family out of the muck that this country has become. If you care at all about your loved ones, you will get across the Canadian border by any means possible!" ...you wouldn't go?

    December 20, 2010 at 12:22 pm |
    • American

      no, mexitrash, i don't break laws. i would try to fix my own damn country. you LOSER

      December 20, 2010 at 6:54 pm |
  15. NM

    http://www.islamicsolutions.com/and-now-i-claim-christmas-quote-of-the-day-237/

    December 20, 2010 at 10:24 am |
  16. Apostle Eric vonAnderseck

    The global situation moves closer to the reign of the Beast (carnal Christ) of the book of Revelation. Satan stands in the counsel of his own deceit and tethers the ignorant to his perception. When the moon turns to blood, remember that this SIGN testifies of the nakedness of the soul of man being absent of the true priesthood of Christ. http://apostlestoday.net/

    December 20, 2010 at 7:29 am |
  17. Peppy LePew

    “It should be remembered for every legal or illegal immigrant who settles here, brings many more immediate family groups. Every year millions come to America who already has a legal or illegal family component, who offers either a safe haven or an affidavit of support; who they sponsor. When an illegal alien is caught along the border, the US agents ask that individual where are they are going. The majority answer I have a brother, or uncle in Denver, Salt Lake City or other major hub, who has a job for me. This is almost a perpetual loop of the same story over and over again. Alas, there is not enough room to explain what is happening around America in regards to this issue. It has become paramount quandary in so many ways and is just as urgent as the Start treaty, the tax conundrum, "Don't ask, Don't tell" and other issues. In fact the illegal immigration problem has got so out of hand; because of astronomical costs it’s threatening the livelihood of every American. IT’S A FINANCIAL catastrophe, which has grown out of control. The illegal immigration problem has been caused by years of neglect and now the only way the federal authorities can tamper down the burning fuse, is some kind of mass amnesty. Why should US citizens have to compete with foreign nationals? Why should legal construction workers or a laborer in any other job, have to compete with Contractors who hire foreign workers? When is this injustice to the American population going to end?”
    Both Democrats and Republicans have remained impassive to the invasion, whether its 13 million or 20 million foreigners who have skirted our laws; of course that's according which side of the Washington pecking order you are inclined to believe? Over thirty years of government neglect has brought this

    December 19, 2010 at 4:14 am |
  18. American

    HAHAHAHAHA! poor mexitrash

    December 18, 2010 at 6:07 pm |
  19. Keith

    Working in the construction industry, I see the effects of these illegal workers. I've seen them at a jobsite in St. Ignace, MI(60 miles from the Canadian border) hanging drywall. In the off season that particular county has over a 25% unemployment rate. There's plenty of legal residents who live there who are skilled carpenters but the greedy contractor(s) don't like to pay more than $2.00 an hour. This is the case all across the state, and I suspect, the nation. It's sickening, one party wants the cheap labor force and the other wants them for votes. I say seal the border, then put a $1,000 bounty per illegal brought in. That would get rid of the estimated 12 to 20 million already here in a big hurry. And lock up those who are hiring them. Peroid. Then maybe they will choose to come to this country through the front door, legally.

    December 18, 2010 at 5:55 pm |
    • Peppy LePew

      A Christian could say "Amen" to tha.....t an American interested in other CITIZENS getting back to work would say 'Damn Right"

      December 19, 2010 at 4:22 am |
  20. American

    reality, you lose! HAAHAHAHAHA

    December 18, 2010 at 12:43 pm |
    • Reality

      Not really, the whole concept of the DREAM act was flawed from the get-go. After all, did not NAFTA ensure that Mexico would be the second USA? More border enforcement is needed for a lot of reasons. The green card process is easy to understand. http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis. The rules simply need to be enforced.

      "In 2008, about 344,000 children were born to parents of whom at least one was an ill-egal imm-igrant. These babies were, under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Consti-tution, American citizens. The children represented eight percent of the 4.3 million births in the United States that year.[14]" Obviously the 14th Amendment needs to be changed.

      One assumes the current level of legal foreign guests/slaves will be more than willing to feed and clean up after the "United Staters".

      December 18, 2010 at 5:39 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.