Monday, June 18, 2018

Separating kids from parents

Trump's immigration policy of separating kids from parents has come under fire from evangelical "leaders" (e.g. Roger Olson, Russell Moore, Albert Mohler). A few quick observations:

i) It's not really Trump's policy. The difference is that he's actually enforcing preexisting immigration law–unlike the lawless Obama administration. 

ii) This is using kids as emotional blackmail to extort chain migration. I'm unsympathetic to cynical tactics masquerading as lofty idealism. But you always have dupes who are easily taken in by that ploy. 

iii) Given the phenomenon of Latin American child traffickers, how do we determine if the child is actually accompanied by a parent?

iv) This shouldn't be the responsibility of US taxpayers in the first place. It's not our duty to provide free accommodations for illegal immigrants. American wage-earners have no obligation to make the USA a haven for looters. 

America can't host all the poor, desperate people of the world. It would turn the USA into just another dysfunctional third world hellhole. It would destroy the very thing they come for. 

In general, those who pay into the system have the right to tap the system. It shouldn't be siphoned off by people who come here to get on the social services gravy train. 

iv) It is of course true that the rule of law isn't absolute. It's easy to cite examples of civil disobedience in Scripture.  

v) I'm sympathetic to some illegal immigrants who want to make a better life for their kids, but breaking the law is a gamble, and when you gamble, sometimes you lose the bet. If you cut into line, don't complain if the bouncer ejects you. 


  1. My wife is reading this to my mother!

  2. First of all, I agree that separating children from their parents is a terrible thing.

    On the other hand, we do it all the time to US citizens. When parents break the law in such a way that warrants their incarceration and there is no other parent or family member to leave them with, the children become wards of the state. The children in no way accompany their parents to the slammer.

    Furthermore, are we not also observing the practice of separating children from Christian parents for apparently tangential reasons, like medical convictions (the use of questionable home remedies or the refusal to vaccinate) or for some homeschool practices. We've seen it internationally in places like Norway, Germany, the UK, and Canada. But we've also seen it here in the States.

    So, as far as I see it, we are only treating these people with the same regard that we treat actual citizens. They effectively get what they wanted when their kids are taken from them.

    1. While I think the example of sending parents to jail does provide us with the valid insight that "separating children from parents" is not an absolute moral evil, as some critics of the illegal immigration policy have suggested (including many evangelicals)--I also don't think that the situation is parallel such that if one is not morally objectionable then neither is the other.

      I try to briefly sketch out when separation is not morally objectionable and why the illegal immigration policy doesn't meet those conditions here: