Editorial: We are called to love the immigrants

FearLeadsToHateHateLeadsToTheDarkSideAccording to some of the latest polls by Gallup, immigration is one of the most divisive topics in American domestic policy. Almost every week, national leaders, especially those from Texas and Arizona, offer solutions they think will help end the national crisis.

President Barack Obama was recently criticized for an executive order offering a two-year amnesty to illegal immigrants who fit certain criteria. Several Republicans, on the other hand, are promoting the idea of tougher deportation and border security laws. Several ideas exist with no clear solution.

The country is in a waiting period while lawmakers search for the best solution. Sometimes, when a clear-cut answer is unclear and there are several important economic and social factors involved, hate rears its ugly head.

According to an article published by the Southern Poverty Law Center, both hate crimes and speech against Latinos are rising at an alarming rate.

In 2011, Arizona resident Juan Varela’s neighbor shot him after allegedly yelling, “Go back to Mexico or die!” from his yard.

In 2009, Shawna Ford, founder of the Minutemen American Defense, was convicted and sentenced to death after a jury in Arizona found her guilty of the murders of a 9-year old girl and her father, who were both U.S. citizens.

Sadly, hate crimes against Latinos in the country illegally don’t stop with violence. There’s another element.

Sometimes, college students become enamored with groups of people that encourage racially-offensive behavior in several ways. The racist Greek chant at the University of Oklahoma alerted the nation to the fact some organizations (not just Greek) have cultures rooted in hatred toward minorities. Throwing racially-themed “wetback” parties mocking an entire culture are not uncommon on college campuses.

And the sad part is, many students do not realize how offensive such behavior is.

How we view and treat an entire race of people should not depend on whether or not they are in the country illegally. As Christians at a Christian university, we are called to a higher standard. And from our thoughts to our actions, we should show as much.

In several passages of the Bible, the text is clear about how Christ followers should treat their fellow man — especially immigrants from another country.

In Exodus 22:21, God commands the children of Israel not to mistreat or oppress a foreigner because they were once foreigners in the land of Egypt. Likewise, at one point in history, our ancestors were too strangers in a strange land who depended upon the kindness of strangers for survival. Whether they depended upon Native Americans upon their arrival to Plymouth Rock, or a local agency to help them find a job, they needed someone. It is our Christian duty to assist them as well.

Whether it be through kind words of encouragement or monetary assistance, we should all partake in assisting our fellow brothers and sisters.

When taking a stance on illegal immigration, it is important to look at the reasons that many illegal immigrants are in the country. One reason is solely to procure a better life for themselves and family members abroad.

Coming to America to obtain jobs that pay below minimum wage is no easy feat. For that, respect is definitely deserved.

They are human beings whom God created. Not just illegal immigrants.

College is often thought of as a place where students can learn new ideals, understand other cultures and work toward becoming better individuals in general.

As a result, it would behoove students to use their college time to reflect about their thoughts and attitudes towards other minorities.

Ultimately, we are called to.