Harry R. Jackson, Jr.

Last week’s arrest of six Muslims charged with plotting to attack Fort Dix further underscores the importance of the immigration problem. The three Duka brothers were not only Islamic extremists inspired by Al Queada; they were illegal aliens who had broken many domestic laws. The fact that these men could move so freely in America is of great concern to me. In fact, no one knows whether people like the Sanctuary Movement could eventually harbor these kinds of ideological warriors in their churches. When misguided compassion of liberal churches defies the law of the land without understanding the cost to our nation, they feel good about their acts of kindness but they may create more damage in the long run.

Inherently, I have a problem with people who have come to our nation of their own free will, demanding rights and acceptance within our borders. The Sanctuary Movement and other liberal groups seemingly ignore the rule of law and are determined to establish their own unequal approach to national justice.

Essentially, this movement is calling for an amnesty program for those who have broken many laws within our country. Their justification for their actions is their controversial interpretation of the Scriptures and irrational references to the civil disobedience of the Civil Rights Movement.

There is a major difference between these illegal aliens and the black community of the ‘50s and ‘60s. First of all, Martin Luther King, Jr. and other black leaders of his day were firm believers in the U.S. Constitution. Many were veterans of our Armed Services and citizens of our nation. They legitimately questioned their second class status, which was based upon America’s unwillingness to follow through with the promises of liberty which were granted in the 14th Amendment. These civil rights warriors were not American “wannabes” demanding their place at the table. The Civil Rights Movement of the ‘50s and ‘60s consisted of people whose families had been citizens of the nation for nearly 100 years. In addition, their courageous acts of civil disobedience were totally peaceful, despite the fact that many of their family and friends had been lynched, tortured, and oppressed in a myriad of appalling ways.

My intent is not to minimize the pain and suffering of the illegal immigrant community. I am, however, saying that this group does not have a clear mandate for the demonstrations and rallies that are currently being conducted around the nation. To many Americans, it seems as though our arms are being twisted by an impatient group that has refused to follow America’s immigration policies.

In conclusion, let me reiterate that immigration reform is the second most significant issue on our political plate. I call upon conservatives to develop a clear approach to the problem. I personally plan to help mobilize evangelical Christians, including the black church, to take an anti-amnesty stand while vigorously protecting our borders.

Harry R. Jackson, Jr.

Bishop Harry Jackson is chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition and senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, MD, and co-authored, Personal Faith, Public Policy [FrontLine; March 2008] with Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.