By David Samuel
Most decent Americans do not want to see innocent children separated from their parents. Americans do not want to see legitimate asylum seekers returned to be mistreated in their home countries. We do not want to see the rule of law break down and chaos erupt in our streets, or terrorists, murderers, rapists, and drug dealers threaten the population’s security.
Most decent Americans do not want to see America sink in debilitating debt and abandon its already massive social commitments. Although Christians know that all of mankind’s problems will not be solved until Jesus returns, they still want to prevent as much suffering and injustice as possible.
To keep families together, the government cannot release immigrant children without also releasing their parents. But the government, for security reasons, cannot release the parents until it is certain that they are legitimate asylum seekers and not lawbreakers.
The 1997 Flores settlement was intended to protect immigrant children, but an unintended result was that it diminished the government’s ability to faithfully manage its other responsibilities. What is more, post-911 America necessarily became more concerned about national security, including the growing problem of gangs and illegal drugs. The nation’s security, the concerns of legitimate asylum seekers, the importance of maintaining a society based on the rule of law, and the needs of children became competing interests. In this mix, those with the smallest voices were overlooked until their cries and tears became magnified in the public consciousness.
America, therefore, is asking big questions. How can immigrants be given a fair trial until all the evidence is collected? How can those who would take advantage of America’s kindness be prevented from hurting others? How can due process and the rule of law be upheld? How can these objectives be obtained at a cost that America can afford? At the top of the list, however, is the one question that all these other questions also include. How can immigrant and American children be both protected and benefitted during the immigration process?
The American constitution authorizes three branches of government: the legislative, the executive, and the judicial. The legislative branch writes the laws, the executive branch enforces the laws, and the judicial branch applies and interprets the laws. The 1997 Flores settlement, however, is not a law that was written by the legislative branch. It is an agreement between the executive and the judicial branches in the absence of legislative action. For many years, the legislative branch has been unable to write laws that fix known problems with America’s immigration system because certain politicians hope to benefit from chaos.
The President’s recent executive order directs various entities within the executive branch to disregard the Flores settlement so that children can remain with parents who are in temporary custody awaiting immigration hearings. At the same time, the executive order also directs the Attorney General to renegotiate the Flores settlement with the judicial branch. To keep families together, the government cannot release immigrant children without also releasing their parents. But the government, for security reasons, cannot release the parents until it is certain that they are legitimate asylum seekers and not lawbreakers. Historically speaking, when those requesting asylum have been released prior to their hearings, most of them never return for their hearings.
At this junction, Christians turn to God and pray.
First, Christians pray for the leaders of America, that the legislative branch writes honorable laws, that the executive branch faithfully enforces those laws, and that the judicial branch renders just decisions.
Second, Christians pray for America’s security, that evildoers are stopped, and that righteous people are emboldened to do good deeds.
Third, Christians pray that America has a great awakening of faith and righteousness.
Fourth, Christians pray for foreign countries, that they also have great awakenings of faith and righteousness, and that their citizens will be safe from evildoers.
Finally, Christians pray for those whom God calls to migrate from one country to another, that their journey will be safe, and that their welcome will be worthy of the God who calls them to migrate.