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The Truth About Immigration – Part I

After I posted my last blog on immigration, a friend of mine, who happens to also be an immigration attorney, contacted me. He offered to send me some facts on immigration. I am so thankful to him for this information as it really clarified the situation for me. I feel that it is very important to do research and  share actual facts instead of relying on unknown sources and opinions of others which may not be based in fact.

The truth is that most immigrants are not criminals. This is a fact based on many studies. Trump wants the citizens of the U.S. to believe that crime is “pouring into the country”, but the facts are that this simply isn’t true. In fact, experts say that today’s immigration policy is mostly based on fear rather than facts.

According to the article “The Criminalization of Immigration in the United States”, written by Walter Ewing, PhD, Daniel Martinez, PhD and Ruben Rumbaut, PhD:

“Innumerable studies have confirmed two simple yet powerful truths about the relationship between immigration and crime: Immigrants are less likely to commit serious crimes or be behind bars than the native-born, and high rates of immigration are associated with lower rates of violent crime and property crime.”

How can we be sure about this? Well, here are some important statistics:

Between 1990 and 2013, the number of unauthorized immigrants grew from 3.5 million to 11.5 million. During that same period of time, violent crime in the U.S. declined by 48 percent, and property crime declined by 41 percent.

A study showed that in 2010, 1.6 percent of immigrant males aged 18-39 were incarcerated as compared to 3.3 percent of those who are native-born. In addition, the 1980, 1990 and 2000 censuses showed that the incarceration rate of native-born persons were 2-5 times higher than for immigrants. Among the less-educated, the incarceration rate for native-born citizens was 10.7 percent while the Mexican rate was 2.8 percent and the Salvadoran/Guatemalan rate was 1.7 percent.

These stats clearly show that overall, immigrants are not the dangerous criminals that Trump likes to push people to believe. Yes, there are always going to be some dangerous people who try to cross the border, but these people are clearly in a minority, and it is imperative to understand this fact instead of viewing all immigrants as criminals.

I will get into much more detail in future blogs about how immigrants are being criminalized, but for now, I will give you a general idea of what is happening in the system.

Since about 1996, immigration laws have become increasingly stringent. From the years 2000 to 2010, there was a significant increase in the incarceration rate of immigrants due to these stricter laws. New classes of felonies were developed which only applied to immigrants. More minor offenses such as illegal entry or traffic offenses are now considered “criminal”. Essentially, the government is not applying the same rules to immigrants as to those who are native-born. For immigrants, a minor offense can get them detained and deported whereas the same offense committed by someone who is a native of the U.S. would get a suspended sentence or a fine.

In 2014, Obama recognized the problem with the immigration policies. So many immigrants were being detained and deported because of the stricter laws that he recognized that the U.S. government did not have all the resources they needed to process all of them. It also became apparent that by using so many resources to deport immigrants who pose no threat, they were using less of their resources on keeping the drug cartels and human traffickers out of the U.S. Through executive action, Obama provided a temporary reprieve from deportation along with work authorizations to 5.3 million immigrants. This eased the strain on resources and allow immigration enforcement officials to put more time and effort toward keeping actual criminals such as drug cartels out of the country.

Enter Trump and his administration. In March, 2017, John Kelly told CNN in an interview that he was considering separating children from their families at the border if they enter the country illegally. So the administration had been considering this since early in Trump’s presidency. Then, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the implementation of the zero-tolerance policy in April, 2018. This policy criminalizes everyone who crosses the border illegally, and as a result, all children would be separated from their families. The children would automatically go to the U.S. Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement while their parent/parents are criminally prosecuted. As a result, over 2,000 children were separated from their families in a period of a couple of months.

So what exactly happened here? Well, in previous administrations, families generally were allowed to stay together. They were usually released together to await their case in court. Under Trump’s zero tolerance policy, all families who crossed illegally are separated and the adults are criminally prosecuted. However, remember how, since about 1996, the immigration rules had progressively become stricter? Even under Bush, Clinton and Obama, immigrants were treated more harshly than native-born Americans. So the implementation of Trump’s zero-tolerance policy was particularly harsh.

During the time that children were separated, Trump and others in his administration insisted on many occasions that the law forced them to separate children from their parents. This is false. There is no law that says that children must be separated from their families at the border. However, there are restrictions on how long a minor can be held in custody. The 1997 Flores settlement says that a minor cannot be held in custody for more than 20 days. This complicates the matter at the border, but let’s be very clear – there is no law that says that children must be separated from their families.

Now, let’s think about this zero tolerance policy for a minute. We have already seen in the past that the immigration system is strained because we are criminalizing immigrants who pose no threat to the U.S. (asylum seekers). By putting the zero tolerance policy into place, the system is strained past its limits. We saw this with the “tent city” that was being erected to house separated children. If Trump and his administration had done any research at all, they would have known that this policy was doomed to failure. The U.S. government does not have the resources to criminalize every single immigrant that crosses the border, and it’s ridiculous to do so since the majority of them are asylum seekers that pose no threat to the U.S. In addition, there are little to no resources left to aggressively pursue the detention and deportation of known drug cartel members and human traffickers. I hope you see how ridiculous and unprepared this administration is when it comes to immigration enforcement.

This Trump disaster didn’t last long. The uproar over the separations pushed Trump into signing an executive order to stop the separations. Still, Trump constantly says that crime is “pouring into our country” with the influx of these immigrants. He makes it sound like all immigrants are criminals. I see pro-Trumpers say on social media that all immigrants need to be stopped from coming into the U.S. because they are all criminals. They also insist that “most” immigrants are violent drug cartel members and/or human traffickers. These false views are fueled by Trump’s false statements, and this needs to stop.

Part II to come soon…

 

 

 

Should We Blindly Follow Government Authority? Trump, the Evangelicals, and the Immigration Problem

During the past week or so, I have been in long and very interesting discussions with followers of Franklin Graham on Twitter. As these discussions continued I realized several things:

  1. I was dumbfounded by their lack of knowledge of scripture.
  2. I realized that they blindly follow Trump even when proof of his lies are presented to them.
  3. I realized that in order to push their narrative, they quote only one or two scripture passages and take them out of context.
  4. I felt like I was talking to modern-day Pharisees.

I will address each of the above in more detail.

  1. Lack of knowledge of scripture – Over and over again, they insisted that Jesus never broke the law. When I told them this wasn’t true, they asked for scripture references. Now, if these people really followed Jesus and spent time reading the Bible, they would know that Jesus broke the law…many times. Again, I was dumbfounded. First of all, why do they think Jesus was crucified? I reminded them that Jesus spoke to a Samaritan woman and that he healed on the Sabbath. I reminded them that Jesus defended his disciples when they plucked grain on the Sabbath. An additional time was when he overturned the tables in the temple. All of these actions were illegal.
  2. Many of Graham’s followers insisted that most of the people crossing at the border were criminals that had kidnapped children and/or who were involved in drug cartels. They used this as justification for child separations at the border. I know where they are getting this false info – it comes directly from Trump as he has stated many times that those crossing the border are all “bad people”. I checked the facts. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection website reports the following numbers: From October, 2017 to June, 2018, there were 286,290 unaccompanied minors and family units apprehended at the border (37,450 unaccompanied minors and 68,290 family units for a total of 286,290). During that same time period, 4,886 of those were criminal aliens. This means that 1.8 percent of people crossing at the southern border were actually “bad people” as Trump calls them. When I posted these stats on Franklin Graham’s site, I was insulted so much by one woman that I ended up having to block her. She clearly didn’t like to be proven wrong.
  3. The scripture passage that some of Graham’s followers use over and over again to justify their support of Trump’s zero tolerance policy is Romans 13:1-7. I would like to spend a little more time on this one. This verse tells us that we should obey our leaders and government. That part is true. However, should we blindly follow government and follow all rules without question? Here’s a better question – are we expected to blindly follow dictators like Hitler and Stalin? The answer is no. Here are some facts:
  • The word “governing” in this passage was translated from the Greek word “hupercho” which  means “morally excellent.” This word does not refer to a person who is corrupt or who is morally lacking.
  • Hitler used Romans 13 to force church compliance during World War II.
  • We have to remember that Jesus broke unjust man-made laws, and so did Peter and Paul.
  • There are many times in the Bible where civil disobedience was honored by God. Examples can be found in Exodus 1 (midwives not following the command of the King of Egypt, and God rewarded them), Daniel (he did not follow the rule to not pray, yet God saved him from the den of lions), Acts 4-5 (Peter and John arrested by the Sadducees for preaching about Jesus, but they were released because they were performing many miracles), and most terrifying, Revelation 13:13 (the dragon gives all AUTHORITY to the beast, and everyone whose name has not been written in the book of life will follow it).
  • The bottom line: We are to obey JUST laws and follow MORALLY EXCELLENT LEADERS. We must take Romans 13 in context with the rest of the scripture. There are many cases of civil disobedience in both the Old and New Testament. The disciples were imprisoned for civil disobedience. How can we tell when it is OK to rise up and resist against authority? The answer to that is easy…when man-made law is in conflict with God’s law. Some of those on Franklin Graham’s page insist that we must obey all laws, and they use this as a justification for separating families. When I told them that God calls us to be compassionate and that He also calls us to treat the foreigner as a native of our land, they insist that we must follow the law. I think you get the point by now. We must follow man-made law if and only if it agrees with God’s law. If it conflicts with God’s law, it is OK to resist authority.

4. During these conversations on Franklin Graham’s Twitter feed, it became apparent to me that these people appear to be modern-day Pharisees. No matter how many times I tried to explain everything that I have written in this blog, they kept going back to “we must follow the laws all the time no matter what.” This is exactly what the Pharisees did in the gospels. It’s as if they are deaf. Then I realized that Jesus told us that there will be those who won’t listen…those who will not hear because they are not of God. I, of course, accept this teaching, but it does make me sad. I really wish people would at least try to understand scripture. I keep posting on his site because you just never know what kind of impact it may have….some who remain quiet may be taking this all in and may be listening closely. I sure hope so!

Have a wonderful and blessed weekend, everyone!

 

Trump, Evangelicals and Ezekiel 22

A few days ago, just by chance, I came across this passage in Ezekiel 22. It terrified me! Although God was talking about another time, this message from God can easily be applied today.  I broke this chapter down piece by piece and analyzed it below. The actual passages are in italics while my comments are not. I feel it is imperative for all of us to read this passage in Ezekiel and think long and hard about what is going on today in the Trump administration. The verse that stood out to me the most is “They do not distinguish between the holy and common, they teach that there is no difference between the unclean and clean.” Evangelical leaders have been on the news this week trying to, as Don Lemon puts it, “twist themselves into pretzels trying to justify Trump’s behavior.” I believe  they are teaching people to see “no difference between the unclean and clean.”

The following is Ezekiel 22:23-31.

23 Again the word of the Lord came to me: 24 “Son of man, say to the land, ‘You are a land that has not been cleansed or rained on in the day of wrath.’ 25 There is a conspiracy of her princes[a] within her like a roaring lion tearing its prey; they devour people, take treasures and precious things and make many widows within her. 

Think about the tax reform bill. The rich will continue to get benefits, but the middle class and poor will eventually have their taxes increased to pay for the cost of this bill. The young, the poor and the middle class are going to eventually suffer from this bill. So in essence, the rich are going to “take treasure and precious things”. Also know that Paul Ryan wants to cut Medicare and Social Security. Now re-read the passage above. See it?

26 Her priests do violence to my law and profane my holy things; they do not distinguish between the holy and the common; they teach that there is no difference between the unclean and the clean; 

Some evangelicals, including the leaders, say that we cannot judge Trump because “we don’t know his heart”. However, I can assure you that if Obama did half of what Trump has done, those same evangelicals would be pointing their fingers and jumping all over Obama. Now, by making excuses for Trump and basically justifying his immoral behavior while jumping all over others who call Trump out, they are “not distinguishing between the holy and common. They are teaching that “there is no difference between the unclean and clean.”

and they shut their eyes to the keeping of my Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them.27

Trump does not go to church and he does not ask for forgiveness. His behavior is the opposite of what Jesus taught us.

Her officials within her are like wolves tearing their prey; they shed blood and kill people to make unjust gain.

Think of Steve Bannon (white supremacist), Stephen Miller (white supremacist), Paul Manafort (con man out to make quick money), Sarah Sanders (caught in multiple lies over the past year, makes continuous excuses for Trump’s behavior). George Papadopolous and Mike Flynn (both pled guilty and working with Mueller). There are your crooked officials.

 28 Her prophets whitewash these deeds for them by false visions and lying divinations. They say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says’—when the Lord has not spoken.29

Some evangelicals claim that God put Trump into office. I have even seen those that say that “God anointed him”. Some believe that Trump is some kind of prophet because he is moving the embassy to Jerusalem. Franklin Graham, Jerry Fallwell Jr., Tony Perkins and Robert Jeffress are just four of the evangelical leaders that push this teaching. But on the other hand, Trump attacks people on Twitter constantly, degrades women, insults other countries, has extramarital affairs, etc. Trump’s behavior is actually the antithesis of true Christianity. We have to remember that people thought David Koresh and Jim Jones were prophets, and look how that turned out. There are false prophets out there, and we must be able to discern between who is good and who is false. The only way to do that is to read the Bible and listen to God himself. These leaders are not God, and many are false prophets.

The people of the land practice extortion and commit robbery; they oppress the poor and needy and mistreat the foreigner, denying them justice.

Trump failed to properly help out the poor in Puerto Rico. He called poor countries “shithole countries”. He is causing the DACA recipients a lot of distress, and his immigration policies will hurt millions.

30 “I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one. 31

I am sure God sees that there are some of us who see through this Trump nonsense.

 So I will pour out my wrath on them and consume them with my fiery anger, bringing down on their own heads all they have done, declares the Sovereign Lord.”

This should scare everyone. By failing to call out Trump for his immoral behavior, we are setting ourselves up to face God’s wrath. By listening to false prophets, we are setting ourselves up to face God’s wrath. Please, please, I am begging you, please wake up! Consequences are sure to come our way if this Trump nonsense doesn’t stop. Listen to what God tells us in Ezekiel 22: 23-31!

A Letter to Christians Who Support Trump: Why?

To Christians Who Support Donald Trump:

Why?

Why do you support this man?

Do you not realize that by supporting him and not calling him out on his bad behavior hurts Christianity?

People who are watching, including children, are witnessing hypocrisy. Is this really what you want to teach your children? Do you not realize that others are leaving the church because of the hypocrisy?

I don’t understand. Being a Christian myself, I am befuddled as how to someone who is a true Christian can support this man. A lot of people are confused. Please explain it to us.

Explain how you can look past the remarks that were made on the bus when Trump said that he “grabs them by the p****. Jesus tells us to follow the commandments. “Thou shalt not commit adultery” is one of them. Trump was a married man. He even said he “tried to **** her”, referring to Nancy O’Dell who was also married. This behavior is the exact opposite of what Jesus taught us.

Explain how you seem to be able to look past all the lies Trump has told since he has been in office. He has lied over 1000 times since he took office, starting with the size of the crowds at the inauguration. Here are some other Trump statements that have been proven false:

Trump: “And I have been on their cover 14 or 15 times. I think we have the all-time record in the history of Time magazine.”

Truth: Nixon beat him by a wide margin. Trump was on the cover 11 times, and Nixon was on it 55 times.

Trump: “So, look, when President Obama was there [Chicago] two weeks ago making a speech, very nice speech. Two people were shot and killed during his speech. You can’t have that.”

Truth: On the day that Obama made this speech, there were no gun homicide victims in Chicago.

Trump: “Only 109 people out of 325,000 were detained and held for questioning. Big problems at airports were caused by Delta computer outage.”

Truth: 746 people were detained. The Delta outage occurred two days later.

Trump: “The failing @nytimes was forced to apologize to its subscribers for the poor reporting it did on my election win. Now they are worse!”

Truth: The New York Times never apologized.

Trump: “We got 306 because people came out and voted like they’ve never seen before so that’s the way it goes. I guess it was the biggest Electoral College win since Ronald Reagan.”

Truth: Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush won by bigger margins in the Electoral College.

Trump: “You look at what’s happening in Germany, you look at what’s happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this?”

Truth: There was no terror attack in Sweden that night. The next day, confusion set in as no one knew what Trump was talking about.

Trump: “Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!”

Truth: There was no evidence that Trump Tower was ever wiretapped.

Trump: “On the airplanes, I saved $725 million. Probably took me a half an hour if you added up all of the times.”

Truth: The cost cuts were already planned before Trump ever became President.

Trump: “I like Steve [Bannon], but you have to remember he was not involved in my campaign until very late. I had already beaten all the senators and all the governors, and I didn’t know Steve.”

Truth: Trump knew Steve Bannon since 2011.

Trump: “Again, the story that there was collusion between the Russians & Trump campaign was fabricated by Dems as an excuse for losing the election.”

Truth: The FBI was investigating Russian interference into the election before Trump ever took office (before Clinton’s loss).

Trump: On June 27, 2017, Trump, referring to CNN, said,“Ratings way down!”

Truth: At the time, CNN’s ratings were at a five-year high.

Trump: On July 17, 2017, Trump said, “We’ve signed more bills — and I’m talking about through the legislature — than any president, ever.”

Truth: Clinton, Carter, Truman and FDR had all signed more bills than Trump at the same point.

Trump: “It is about time that Roger Goodell of the NFL is finally demanding that all players STAND for our great National Anthem”

Truth: The NFL never made this demand.

These are just a few of over 1000 lies that Trump has told. Jesus told us that Satan is the father of lies:

“You are of your father the devil, and it is your will to practice the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks what is natural to him, for he is a liar and the father of lies and half-truths.” John 8:44

So how do you justify Trump’s lies?

How about his lack of concern for others who are different? What about the botched immigration mess that occurred not long after he took office? All those poor people in distress because they couldn’t get back in the country? What about all the people in Puerto Rico who suffered without the basic necessities of life, having to wait a full week before Trump took any action to help them?

Let’s think about this. In the Bible, it says:

“The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the LORD your God.” Leviticus 19:34

 “Then Peter began to speak to them: ‘I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.'” Acts 10:34

How do you justify the hate that Trump spreads? What about the horrible comments that he made after the Charolottesville attacks? What about all the name-calling on his Twitter feed? Here are just a few examples:

“The Failing @nytimes set Liddle’ Bob Corker up by recording his conversation. Was made to sound a fool, and that’s what I am dealing with!”

“With Jemele Hill at the mike, it is no wonder ESPN ratings have “tanked,” in fact, tanked so badly it is the talk of the industry!”

“Being nice to Rocket Man hasn’t worked in 25 years, why would it work now?”

“…Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help.”

There are so many more including the constant attacks on the media and on anyone who disagrees with him.

Where in the Bible does it say that it’s OK to call people names? Where does it say that it’s OK to verbally attack anyone that disagrees or has a different opinion or view? Can’t find it? That’s because it isn’t in the Bible. Jesus said:

 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31

How do you justify all this behavior? Why would you say that Trump is a true Christian and that his behavior is OK with God? How can you say that? Have you read the Bible?

Please explain it to us.

I recently saw a post by Franklin Graham that said he was thankful that Trump was in office because he tells the truth. Truth?? Franklin Graham, hate to tell you this, but Trump has nothing to do with the truth. The fact is that Trump is the antithesis of Christianity. As Jesus told us, “Satan is the father of lies”. Trump has lied more than 1000 times since taking office.

That’s the truth.

 

 

 

 

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