welcome the stranger
"Welcome the stranger" (i.e., illegal aliens)
One of the religious justifications offered by those who support illegal immigration is their contention that the bible contains multiple exhortations to "welcome the stranger". Religious leaders transmogrify that into a command to support people moving to the U.S. at will. For the religion-based answer, see this and this. There isn't a non-religion based answer that I know of, but those who make this argument can be discredited in other ways based on simple morality. See the false compassion discussion.
"Tour of the Faithful": Catholic Church, others try to change immigration laws (America's Voice) - 09/13/08
In September and October, the Catholic Church and others will be holding interfaith events  across the U.S. designed to support "comprehensive immigration reform", aka amnesty. This "Tour of the Faithful" (catholicsinalliance.org/node/20123) was apparently organized with the help of Frank Sharry's America's Voice  and includes an appearance by former president Jimmy Carter and many others . On October 13 they'll be holding a forum featuring unnamed Illinois politicians; one of those will probably be Luis Gutierrez.
If you want to do something about this, go to one of their events and make points like these and get their responses on video. The only way these "leaders" are able to continue to support "reform" is by avoiding a real debate. Even a line of questioning that isn't "prosecutorial-style" would show the fallacy in their thinking. And, that would have a very great impact on this issue.
For instance, during the conference call announcing the tour, Rabbi David Saperstein said:
"In addition to our historic experience, our tradition also demands of us concern for the stranger in our midst. The Torah contains over 36 references to this principle, including Leviticus' command, 'When strangers sojourn with you in your land, you shall not do them wrong..."
Point out to him that the "reform" he supports would lead to more illegal immigration, and thus would lead to more people trying to cross the desert - with some dying along the way. If he responds that "reform" would include tougher border security, point out to him that those pushing reform have always fought attempts to secure our borders, and that they'd have even more power after reform from which to fight attempts to secure the borders.
 From catholicalliance.org: One of the events, "Voting American Catholic 2008: Platform for the Global Common Good," will be held Sept. 27 in Omaha, Neb., as part of the Archdiocese of Omaha Social Ministry Commission's 10th annual Faithful Citizenship Conference at the St. Cecilia Institute in Omaha, a conference co-sponsor... Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter is scheduled to speak at an Oct. 9 Christian immigration forum in Lexington, Ky. The tour takes in cities like Boston, Washington, Denver, Los Angeles and Phoenix -- as well as smaller venues such as Lutz, Fla.; Conway, Ark.; and Kalamazoo, Mich. -- before winding up in Chicago Oct. 19 with two U.S. representatives and two Illinois state representatives speaking at a candidate forum on immigration.
 Those speaking on the conference call were, per :
Rabbi David Saperstein, Director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference
Dr. Jim Ryan, Council Executive, Colorado Council of Churches
The Most Reverend Bishop John C. Wester, Archdiocese of Salt Lake City and Chair of Committee on Migration and Refugee Services for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
But it's on their policies concerning immigrants where Republicans -- candidates and voters alike -- really run afoul of biblical writ. Not on immigration as such but on the treatment of immigrants who are already here. [Biblical "stranger" references; those are answered here and here]Very few people want to actually punish illegal aliens. And, in fact, some such as Ruy Giuliani or Mike Huckabee are supporters of amnesty. The most that others support is attrition, which is designed not to punish illegal aliens but to reduce the jobs and benefits magnet so that many will go home and many fewer will try to come here.
Yet the distinctive cry coming from the Republican base this year isn't simply to control the flow of immigrants across our borders but to punish the undocumented immigrants already here, children and parents alike.
And, supporting illegal immigration is not humanitarian in the least.
You can leave comments at the WaPo, or send him an email explaining why he's wrong to meyersonh *at* prospect.org
However, the better option in the long term is to go to appearances by those religious leaders who make the same "stranger" arguments, publicly point out how they're wrong using the last link, and then upload the exchange to video sharing sites. If we could completely discredit someone like Roger Mahony or Jim Wallis it would prevent people like Meyerson from making similar false arguments.
Wallis has a blog at beliefnet.com/blogs/godspolitics, and I urge everyone to leave comments there designed to help his parishioners understand all the ways he's wrong. Here are excerpts from the email; note that the language used is like a patchwork quilt of speeches from president Bush, Howard Dean and others.
With Congress on the verge of rewriting our nation's immigration laws, too many of the loudest voices on the issue are politicians and pundits who seek to scapegoat immigrant workers, falsely blaming them for many of our nation's social and economic problems.
As Christians called by scripture to welcome and care for the strangers among us, we must seize this moment and raise our voices in a debate that is too often tainted by prejudice and fear.
Tell your representative to fix our broken immigration system with reform that is fair and compassionate.
...Specifically, we must demand that any immigration legislation includes:
Border enforcement and protection initiatives that are consistent with humanitarian values;
Reforms in our family-based immigration system that help to safely reunite separated families;
An opportunity for all immigrant workers and their families already in the U.S. to come out of the shadows to pursue an earned legal status, leading up to citizenship; and
A viable guest worker program that creates avenues for workers and their families to enter our country and work in a safe, legal, and orderly manner.
...With so many immigrant families living in poverty, we must acknowledge that discussion of immigration cannot be separated from our understanding of poverty - and is thus central to achieving the vision for overcoming poverty found in Sojourners/Call to Renewal's Covenant for a New America.
UPDATE: Jim Wallis is also involved with the Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform
Religious leaders Tuesday scolded lawmakers who oppose a broad immigration policy overhaul and urged them at a Capitol Hill news conference to put people over politics.As pointed out here many times, their policies will make the situation far worse. A much better suggestion is that they think things through and put what's in the best interests of all concerned ahead of their own parochial interests, such as pushing a far-left ideology or simply filling their pews.
...[Bishop Jaime Soto of the Diocese of Orange] flew into Washington for the news conference organized by Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Edward Kennedy, D-Mass...Of course, Cardinal Roger Mahony and other religious leaders are also misleading people and encouraging foreign citizens to march in our streets demanding rights to which they aren't entitled. And, they're probably misrepresenting the Bible as well:
...In an interview before the news conference Soto, who was representing the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, defended the involvement of the church in a political issue.
"I think that the church is a very important part of what makes America strong," Soto said. "We're just lending our voice as part of American society to this ongoing dialog as to how we shape an immigration policy."
Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, said that the Bible says 36 times to "treat the stranger as ourselves." He asked how politicians - all of whom are descended from immigrants - can say "now that we are here. . . the door must be closed."Obviously, the reporter (Dena Bunis of the OC Register) should have called him on his idiotic statements and brought up, for instance, some of the points raised here. Even if she doesn't have enough knowledge of religion to argue that side of things, at least she could have pointed out that no one wants to shut "the door". And, since as he points out everyone on Earth is descended from immigrants, if his statement has any validity it would lead to no nation being allowed to have borders. Whether he's an "erase the borders" fool, an anti-American socialist who would only apply his "rule" to the U.S., or just an idiot is not known.