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TEXAS FAITH 26: Should the feds pursue illegal immigrants or the businesses that hire them? Or neither?


Dallas Morning News,

Each week we will post a question to a panel of about two dozen clergy, laity and theologians, all of whom are based in Texas or are from Texas. They will chime in with their responses to the question of the week. And you, readers, will be able to respond to their answers through the comment box.

About 800 law enforcement officials were involved in raids in the U.S. and Mexico last Thursday, with the focus being on human smuggling operations.  According to the New York Times, the authorities went after owners of shuttle vans that they suspected were smuggling humans from Mexico into the U.S.

The effort comes after the Obama administration has started targeting employers who hire illegal immigrants. This represents a shift from the government's prior focus on rounding up individual illegal immigrants. The change hasn't sat so well with some local communities, who have taken it upon themselves to round up individuals who are here illegally.

So, as you apply your moral reasoning to this problem, what should the government do? Go after businesses or individuals? Or go after both or none?

Please be specific here about the reason - or reasons - for your conclusion.

Read on for our panelist’ thoughts:

NITYANANDA CHANDRA DAS, minister of ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness), Dallas

In the Bhagavad Gita 5.29 a peace formula is given. A formula by which all of society can be happy.

One of the three lessons of that peace formula is sarva-loka-maheshvaram, God is the proprietor of all the planets. Immigration is based primarily on the following consideration, the idea that we are separate owners of property.

As an animal may growl, or bark at those who encroach on their land, so similarly we have our immigration department. However the Sri Isopanisad  1 teaches this wise lesson that everything belongs to God and we should only consume and become a steward as per our requirements. This land, being property of God, is rightfully to be used by all citizens according to necessity.

In the ancient Vedic culture, all citizens were provided protection and anyone who would approach the king for shelter would be provided such. Even those citizens who could not speak for themselves, the animals, were protected from unnecessary slaughter.

One could bring up a significant objection, employment. In the past, however, this is hardly an issue as every occupation truly supported society. In less than a hundred years we have shifted from a society of 90% farmers to 3% or less. We created artificial standards of life. We must ask ourselves, "If the economy were to completely fail, would my occupation be of any value?"

The last point I would like to present is that when a government is governed righteously, such as providing shelter and employment for all who seek it, then God arranges Mother Nature to reciprocate. In a righteous governed land there is no scarcity.

Hare Krishna :)

Your humble servant,

Nityananda Chandra Das

To see all the responses from the Texas Faith Panel click here