This is outrageous. Especially since none of it is true! Instead, it’s just one example of how, in some ways, we have gone beyond worrying about illegal immigration to demonizing the immigrants themselves.
This example came from a widely circulated e-mail that was posted on at least 130 conservative websites. It listed ten “facts about immigration” and gave as its source the Los Angeles Times.
Not only was the Los Angeles Times not the source of these “facts,” when the paper examined the alleged “facts,” none of them withstood scrutiny. Some of them distorted the data: For instance, approximately 62 percent of all births in Los Angeles County are to Hispanic women. But this number includes American citizens, legal aliens, Hispanics from countries other than Mexico, and has nothing to do with Medicaid.
The so-called “facts” about illegal alien criminality are even worse: They are deliberate misrepresentations or complete fabrications.
Unfortunately, this is only the tip of an often very ugly iceberg. The illegal immigration problem is often called an “invasion” that threatens the existence of the United States. Illegal aliens are depicted as part of an effort to “reconquer” the American Southwest. And it’s not only illegal immigrants: American citizens of Mexican ancestry are also regarded as part of this plot.
Now, there are a few fringe Latino groups that talk about “reconquista”—that is all they are, however: fringe. To judge all Latinos, including illegal aliens, by the words of these groups is as fair as judging all Christians by the actions of clinic bombers or Fred Phelps.
A concern for fairness isn’t the most important reason that Christians ought to oppose this demonization of “the strangers in our midst.” As theologian T. M. Moore recently wrote on BreakPoint Online, “God defends strangers. He has compassion for those who have left all and risked all to find new lives in a strange country.”
Moore reminds us that God expects His people’s “attitude toward the strangers and sojourners in their midst” to reflect His own concern.