From the desk of Tom Hoefling
An important email message I received from a supporter, followed by my full response:
I voted for you in 2012. Needless to say, I feel even more disenfranchised by the current top two candidates of this election. I have researched Gary Johnson as I feel he was a good governor when I lived in New Mexico. However, I take issue with some of the libertarian platform.
My concern and question on your beliefs are in the areas of the immigration issue. I do agree that we need to secure our borders. However, I also firmly believe as a Christian that we have an imperative as believers and as a nation to act in compassion to help those in the world who need it; and I believe that imperative DOES NOT end at our borders. Also, I believe that there are significant numbers of immigrants currently in the U.S. who, while here illegally, are honest, hard-working people who are simply trying to feed and care for their families. To not care for the less fortunate is un-Christian, in my opinion. Can you tell me two things: How would your administration secure our borders yet remain compassionate, and how would your administration handle otherwise law-abiding illegal immigrants currently living in the U.S.?
Sorry it took me a couple of days to reply, but it's getting crazy busy here, and ever since I first read your question I knew that it deserved a thoughtful, full response.
Americans have generally treated immigrants, legal or illegal, very well. I've seen this with my own eyes. The Christian ethic, the fellow feeling for others spoken of by men like John Locke, is not yet completely dead in our country, contrary to what some people think.
And in the legal sense, our Constitution, in the Fourteenth Amendment, specifically protects all persons, which includes non-citizens, legal or not, in their lives, their liberty, and their property.
But the Fourteenth Amendment also makes the necessary distinction between the required protection by the states of the God-given rights of all persons and the privileges and immunities of citizens.
Let me put it this way: All citizens are persons, but not all persons are citizens.
If we do not maintain this distinction of citizenship, we are basically no longer a sovereign nation.
Open borders and unlimited immigration would be like you opening your home without limit to all house guests, or even to all burglars, in effect saying that anyone who wants to can be a part of your family, that they can live with you, and fully access and enjoy all of your resources.
Does God require such largesse of you? I don't believe that He does.
Let's not forget that it was God Himself who separated and created the nations. And God requires of us that we take care of those of our own household. If my memory serves, the scripture says that those who do not care for their own are "worse than an unbeliever."
The fact is, if your compassion knows no limits, your resources will not last very long at all, and the whole crowd will once again be out on the street. Only then it will be you and your household out on the street with them. And then you will no longer be of much use or assistance to anyone who is in need.
Another necessary distinction that I would make is the difference between the private citizen and the president. The individual should have compassion on other people, even if they are not here legally. In fact, the scripture requires that of us, and condemns societies (like Sodom) who mistreat "the stranger."
But the president has sworn before God to put his personal feelings aside, and to enforce all constitutional laws, in the interest of the whole body of the people, not just the interests of any one person or group of people.
Our Constitution absolutely requires our federal government - a government administered by the president, who is the chief executive, the chief magistrate, the commander-in-chief - to secure the states against invasion.
So, as the person charged with doing that, I would use whatever force was available to me to carry out that charge.
The same Constitution grants exclusive authority to Congress to set our naturalization laws. So, my sworn duty would be to carry out those laws.
In summation, we should in no way mistreat anyone, no matter how they got here. But those who are here illegally must go home to their own countries. If they want to come here and be part of the American family, they must first obtain our consent in the matter.
Thank you very much for your support previously, and I hope that my words and actions will merit that support in the days ahead.