What this election means for immigration

With Nov. 3 quickly approaching, many hot button issues are being put under the microscope as voters finish forming  decisions about who the next president of the United States should be. Immigration is one of these issues, and one in which Republican nominee and sitting president, Donald Trump, has voiced strong opinions. His opponent, Democratic nominee Joe Biden, has built a platform with an entirely different view on immigration.

Trump has made immigration a major pillar of his campaign by continuing the construction of a border wall between Mexico and the United States, as well as discussing an attempt to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Trump’s campaign website justifies these actions saying, “President Trump has enforced immigration laws to protect American communities and American jobs.”

Biden has taken a stance opposite of Trump’s. His platform promised to end the separation of children from their parents at the border and ensured that prolonged detention is done away with. While Biden has taken the progressive approach to immigration, some note that he is merely the lesser of two evils.

Anna Noden, a senior English education major, said, “Crossing a border, albeit illegally, is not a reason to have your children taken from you (and lost) and your womb taken out of your body without your consent and your rosaries and engagement rings confiscated. These are crimes and must be stopped.”

She continued, “I have no faith that Joe Biden will stop this either. Democrat presidents have historically failed immigrants as well. I just know that at least Biden talks about ending it, and that’s better than the stoking of xenophobic fires that Trump does so much.”

For many Christians in America, this has proven to be a tough topic. While Trump has remained a favorite for a large percentage of the evangelical vote, whether or not his immigration policies are something people of the faith should support is still up for debate. Director of Service and Outreach Ministries, Frank Huebert, noted that this is a difficult line to walk. “In terms of immigration, I can understand those who might say love doesn’t necessarily mean an open sign, where there’s no such thing as borders, while there are others who say ‘No, actually that should be a part of it,’ so I think I find myself caught in between those two.”

Huebert continued, saying, “I think the larger narrative that has begun to shape more of my views on immigration is not a specific verse, or even the broader idea of love your neighbor, so much as when I look at the arc of Scripture, time and time again, the Lord has chosen to move in people’s lives and to bring them to him, and continue in this movement of people. We see this in the Garden [of Eden], when Adam and Eve leave. It’s about this movement of people to a new place where they encounter the Lord, such as Abraham, Jacob and Moses. The highlight of it is how people are treated when they leave a place of subjection, bondage and difficulty. We see this all the way to Revelation with New Jerusalem and these pictures of the movement of people.”

While some Christians are sticking with Trump, there are also Christians taking a stand, one of whom is John Brown University Alumnus Andrea Martinez. The immigration lawyer, who graduated in 2005, has been working for over a decade to help immigrants through their legal issues. Martinez, who now owns her own firm, starred in the 2019 Netflix docuseries “Living Undocumented.” In the docuseries, viewers are shown a harrowing encounter in which Martinez, despite following orders from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers, was pushed down and her foot broken.

When Martinez reflects on her treatment at the ICE facility, she says, “It became clear that I needed to sue ICE not just for myself and justice in my case, but because this is wrong. What they do is wrong. And they do it systematically, and they get away with it, and they have been getting away with it now under the Trump administration more than ever.”

In regard to the election, Martinez made her stance clear, saying, “If we have to endure four more years of the Trump administration, there will not be immigration. They want to close off paths to immigration, and, if there is not a legal path for people to stand in and get visas … they will just come using more dangerous routes. The Trump administration is a very anti-immigrant administration, [though] the Obama administration wasn’t great on immigration, and before the Trump administration, people called President Obama the ‘deporter-in-chief.’”

Photo courtesy of Nicolaus Czarnec