Darrow Miller and Friends

What’s Wrong with the RAISE Act?

Many people are speaking well of President Trump’s newly announced immigration policy known as the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment Act (RAISE Act). Perhaps we could better call it the Reforming American Immigration by Creating a Brain Drain from Developing Countries Act.

Don’t get me wrong: I agree that our immigration system is terribly broken and needed to be fixed the day before yesterday. And I am grateful that President Trump has taken a first step to reform that broken system.

Let me be clear, also, that I am not for open borders. Nations without borders cease to be nations. I am for well-regulated borders and a rational immigration policy suited to the 21st Century.

President Trump is promoting the RAISE Act But the RAISE Act is not the way to fix our failing immigration policy. Yes, if the only concern is to “Make America Great Again” by drawing away from their own countries the cream of the crop–immigrants who speak English and have marketable skills–it would be a good thing.

But what does this bill mean for the countries they are emigrating from? Nations would be losing the very educated leaders and entrepreneurs they need for their own societies’ development. They are giving their best and brightest to a nation that is already one of the world’s wealthiest. While the RAISE Act may help improve our economy, it will harm the economies and futures of developing nations.

In fact, the consequences do not bode well even for the US. We would be faced with greater poverty abroad and an increased flow of refugees seeking asylum.

The United States has always been a nation of immigrants. To shut our borders would be to deny our very nature. It is a genius of our country that we are a nation founded on an idea: freedom. We are not, as most nations, founded on ethnic, tribal, or racial identity. To the religiously and politically oppressed we have opened our arms wide, welcoming them to a land of opportunity. Here, through hard work and lawful lives, they can flourish as individuals and families. This is the unique vision of freedom found in the USA.

We must always remember our Statue of Liberty holding the torch, the bright light, to guide the downtrodden and oppressed to freedom’s shore. Poet Emma Lazarus reminds us of who we are and why we exist. Her poem “The Collosus” is inscribed at the base of the statue.

the RAISE Act could hurt nations wanting to build libertyNot like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Our greatness and wealth is not found in our economy and material prosperity, but in our vision of freedom. This vision undergirds the greatness of our founding documents and the opportunities afforded by this nation. Political and religious refugees who shared our vision and values to build a great and unique nation were drawn here and welcomed. In fact, it is our founding of freedom and justice for all that created the conditions for economic prosperity.

We need to cast this vision afar. We need to declare that free and just nations do not fall from the sky. Free nations are built. They are built by men and women with freedom ablaze in their hearts. We in the United States need to be a free people again, not a people drunken with material affluence and spiritual lethargy.

First we should provide encouragement, and moral and institutional support to those educated men and women with freedom in their hearts to envision and build their own countries into nations that are free and not enslaved, flourishing and not poor, just and not corrupt. We should encourage them to stay home as nation builders.

the RAISE Act could drawn the best and brightest from their nationsHaving traveled globally for nearly forty years I have had the privilege of meeting courageous young leaders in Africa, Central and South America, and Asia with the connections and credentials to easily immigrate to Europe or the United States. Most speak English. They are the kind of people the RAISE Act would encourage to come to the United States. But these young men and women have a profound love for their own countries and a desire to see their societies develop freedom and flourishing. While they could have emigrated, they have chosen to stay to give their lives for the building of their nation. These folks are my friends and heroes.

Second, we need to mentor young men and women from abroad who are studying in this country to return to their countries as nation builders. They could contribute profoundly to the building of their nations by returning home with their newly acquired knowledge and appreciation for the institutions of freedom. My good friend Dr. Bob Osburn from the Wilberforce Academy has been inculcating this vision in young international scholars studying in the USA. Go here to see the mission of the Wilberforce Academy for discipling nation builders.

Perhaps President Trump’s actions will inspire a new national debate as to who we are and what makes us a great nation. Is America great because of her natural and economic wealth? Or is she great because she has a founding vision and documents that welcome those fleeing slavery and persecution and who are willing to sacrifice everything to live free?

  • Darrow Miller

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5 Comments

  1. Penny Nicholas

    August 3, 2017 - 11:08 pm

    Thanks for a balanced perspective, Darrow!

  2. Dennis Warren

    August 6, 2017 - 11:01 am

    The spirit here reminds me of the last two paragraphs of John Piper’s famous message about world evangelism:

    http://www.desiringgod.org/messages/gospel-worship

    About “balance” though, I want to understand what specific types of rules constitute a legitimate way for America to remain a nation, by not having completely open borders?

    • admin

      August 7, 2017 - 6:29 am

      Dennis
      Thanks for your note. Here are some initial reflections on some specific things we could do:
      1) Open arms, but not open borders. We need to continue the welcome of Statue of Liberty, but need to have an orderly process. People are welcomed into a nation, not simply a piece of geography.
      2) We need a rational and reasonable immigration policy, not the chaos we currently have.
      3) We want to have people who are in need of refuge from religious and political persecution, not simply people who come for economic reasons.
      4) As I pointed out in the blog, I think that President Trump’s opening policy change is based solely on economics and specifically on economic benefit for the USA. Yes our current immigration policies need to be reformed, but based on our common heritage of vision for a free society, our founding documents and the worldview and principles behind them.
      5) There should be policies in place to screen for people who are “longing to be free.” People who come as political and religious refugees should be at the front of the line. Those who want to come to subvert our values and destroy our democratic institutions should not be allowed in the line, ever. There are Christians in the Middle East who are being persecuted simply because they are Christians. They should be at the top of the list. However, there are more Muslims being persecuted by fellow Muslims than there are Christians being persecuted. These should be free to enter the line, IF they want to live in a free and pluralistic society. Surveys indicate that over half of all Muslims living in the US want Sharia law to supersede the Constitution. This is untenable. Muslims who enter the US must come because they long for freedom and not Sharia. If they want to live under Sharia, they should seek to immigrate to other Muslim countries.
      6) There needs to be a well-organized and mandatory program for assimilation for all refugees. This should include learning English, studying the history of the USA, our founding documents and the principles behind those documents and the virtues of a pluralistic society. The analogy of the US being a “melting pot” where people bring their lives and cultural background to contribute to the savor of the whole is better than the analogy of a “salad bowl” where the ingredients maintain their separated existence. There should be no place for “dish cities” or “no go zones” as we find all over Europe.
      7) There should be a grace period for those seeking citizenship to show good faith to integrate. Those who fail to seek to integrate should not be granted citizenship. Again, citizenship should be for those who love liberty and who want to live in and contribute to a free society.
      Dennis, these are some of my initial thoughts. These seem like common sense. I make no pretense to be an immigration policy expert.
      Again, thanks for writing!

  3. Dennis Warren

    August 8, 2017 - 9:07 pm

    Thanks very much for the tremendous response! That’s just the kind of information I was asking for.

    I’m afraid the idea about asking for “acceptable immigrants” to desire essential (and traditional) American aspirations for hoe to be governed, is likely considered politically incorrect by many who’ve come through or colleges in recent years . I personally agree it is common sense, and with enough new Americans who aspire to a didifferent kind of government I guess we could eventually be Americans due only to geographical residence.

    • admin

      August 9, 2017 - 6:27 am

      Yes, Dennis

      We are two nations sharing one continent already.

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