A Summary of the Issues at the Border by Immigration Lawyer, Scott Hicks: ‘The love of many will grow cold.’

I wanted to share a summary of what is taking place at the southern border. This is the best I have read after reading countless news stories from all the various “sides.” The following is written by an immigration lawyer who is also a Christian pastor, his name is Scott Hicks. He cuts through all the identity politics and identifies what in fact has taken place, and in light of that what indeed is taking place; things have changed. People can continue to dig their heels in, but what Hicks outlines for us, unless you’re an immigration lawyer who can counter, is definitive. He writes:

The Border and the Kids

I wish there was a one or two line explanation of what is going on. But the situation is complex because there are multiple layers and laws involved. Here is my attempt to simplify it enough to be understandable and be accurate.

A number of people are saying, this is an old law. They are correct to a point. Kids simply are not put in jail with their parents when the parent is taken into custody on a criminal charge. The old law point is also correct that crossing the border illegally is a criminal offense and has been on the books for ever. But the history of that law is important for this discussion. For first time offenders, the offense is a misdemeanor. It is only a felony if the person had been caught before or had been deported. Traditionally, the US Attorneys only went after felony charges, and even that was not a large number overall. It made no sense to clog the Federal District Courts with misdemeanors. Everybody understood that was a waste of time and resources.

The current administration though has adopted a zero tolerance policy and the AG has mandated that the US Attorneys prosecute every single misdemeanor case. That IS new. It also means that when these people are placed into custody their children are taken away (see above). The judges see the ridiculousness of this and are sentencing to time served in mass trials. So the criminal aspect is really accomplishing nothing.

Now, it must be pointed out that these people charged with crimes are still allowed to apply for asylum. But they will do so without their children and the children are on a separate track with their own immigration case, even though the case often needs the parent’s information and corroboration, or the parent is the one with the real claim and the child would be a derivative claim.

So, criminal wise, we are just chewing up resources. But that is not the point for the administration. They are using the criminal law to accomplish an immigration purpose. They want to scare people away from even coming. And that is where it truly gets insidious. Because in so doing, we are deliberately trying to scare people away who are trying to flee persecution and seek refuge here. (Of course some are coming just for economic opportunity,) but for many of the Hondurans, Guatemalans, and Salvadorans, they have been threatened with terrible violence and are fleeing for their lives or the lives of their children. Our laws state that these people have the right to apply for asylum if they are on US soil or if they present themselves at a POE and ask for asylum. But we are routinely turning people away at the border and telling them they can not apply because we are too busy and full. So these desperate people who try to legally present will then often find another way in. There are numerous instances of people crossing over and then looking for a BP agent to turn themselves in to. Before, such people would just apply for asylum. Now they are criminally charged. And the kids taken away.

Not only that, but these people are now being told, if they will just take an order of removal (deportation) they can get their kids back within a day or so, but if they insist on applying for asylum they will be separated from their children for the duration of the proceedings and really, for an unknown time.

All of this is arguably “within the law,” but it clearly is a violation of the spirit if not letter of our asylum laws.

One final note – Obama’s administration also detained asylum seekers, but did so as a family, often for years, in what immigration lawyers referred to as “baby jails.” Also, you may have heard of the Flores Settlement- this applies to unaccompanied minors. So, if a child is without a parent, they can only be detained for a short time. The problem is that the administration is using Flores as a weapon. By criminally charging the parents, they can not keep the child with them. The administration then declares that the child is an unaccompanied minor. It is important to note also that the lawyer who was the lead litigator on the Flores case has come out and said all of this is clearly a violation of the agreement.

Hope this helps.

As always, feel free to share, but do so politely.

I appeal to you conservative Christian and progressive Christian don’t take your eye off of what matters in the midst of this whole scenario. Are there people who have been and are currently abusing the system? Yes. But you don’t punish the masses for the minority (the abusers in this case); more importantly you don’t punish children and their families for seeking a better life for themselves. You say: ‘well, they need to do so through legal means.’ Oh really? You say: ‘if they want asylum they need to do the proper paperwork or come to the border and properly request that.’ Oh really? You don’t think many of these people haven’t attempted to do it ‘legally’; you don’t think many of them don’t even have the proper resources to actually do the paperwork (education, access to transportation, access to communication, access to their local government officials etc.)? Or you don’t think that people haven’t come to the border and requested asylum that way only to be turned away (as Hicks underscores for us)?

Jesus said that in the end ‘the love of many will grow cold.’ He was right.

 

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10 thoughts on “A Summary of the Issues at the Border by Immigration Lawyer, Scott Hicks: ‘The love of many will grow cold.’

  1. jedidiahpaschall

    Thanks for posting this Bobby. I wonder if we aren’t approaching a Barmen moment as confessing Christians. While I do doubt that Trump ever will (or even intends to) go the route of Hitler, what his Administration is perpetrating is evil and Christians ought to oppose it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bobby Grow Post author

    Jed, I think we in fact are. This particular issue has the force of galvanizing Christians from all “sides,” in the sense that it has brought the nationalist idol to a head. The evil of this is unbelievable!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. jedidiahpaschall

    Yeah, I was just talking to a non-Christian friend about this issue today. He was absolutely baffled by the moral complicity of evangelicals in the worst of Trump’s policies. I told him that this stuff has been present for years, and that he shouldn’t be surprised to see worse among at least a certain faction of Christians. But, I also said, there are many good Christians who are appalled by Trump’s actions on the border. Then he asked, “Then, why aren’t more of them saying something?” It’s a great question. Silence on this issue is complicity.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. speliopoulos

    I am honestly speechless by the amount of fellow believers that are standing behind this evil. It doesn’t really matter who put which law in place; it is sheer evil to hold children hostage to further your political agenda. What scares me is the amount of believers that think it is okay and nothing more than collateral damage in the fight to stop illegal immigration. Dear God!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Bobby Grow Post author

    Jed,

    I could not agree with you more, and your friend! Indeed, those of us who stand up against it by merely speaking out against it have a capacity to bear witness to the reality and hope of Christ in ways that others don’t; your conversation with your friend bears this out. This has been present at least since the moral majority (Falwell the original) in the current generation of Trump supporters and the golden age mythology therein. But of course as you and I both know this type of syncretism goes way back all throughout the halls of church history (I think of the Civil War etc).

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Bobby Grow Post author

    Elke,

    I could not agree more with you. It just goes to show that those who mock theology, and its importance most, can’t help but be overtaken by bad theology (dare I say demonic theology). I cannot believe how calloused people have become either; people of my own “tribe” growing up. But then I can believe it. 😦

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  7. Ivan

    The scary thing is that when Eberhard Bethge visited Falwell’s church, he thought he was back in a 1930s German Church service. It really goes to show how far the American church has fallen into the idolatry of nationalism and the syncretism of cross and flag.

    Liked by 1 person

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