. . . and those we pretend are criminals belong in a pretend-jail. Kinda like in prison dodgeball. Anti-immigration rhetoric is rife with statements like, "I don't mind immigration, but they have to do it legally," which is really just a boringly polite way to say that you prefer law-abiding people to criminals. But the fact is--illegal presence in the United States is not the kind of crime that we think of when we label someone a criminal. The wrong done when you illegally enter the United States is that of disrespect, not the kind of moral wrong that underscores penal statutes regarding murder, robbery, assault, rape, and fraud. Those are bad things and have always been illegal. Crossing an imaginary line so you can feed your kids without getting the permission of the people on the other side of the line . . . well, I'm not advocating illegal immigration, I'm just saying it's not the same thing as rape. Let's keep rapists and illegal immigrants in separate categories.
Contrary to what you may have thought, the Bible speaks out against anti-immigration laws: Exodus 22:1 and 23:9, Leviticus 19:33-34*, Deuteronomy 24:17 and 27:19, and Zechariah 7:10 all command the people of God (at that time Israel, now the Christian catholic** Church) to love foreigners/aliens/strangers and treat them as if they were natives. Sure, there are verses that tell us that, as Christians, we are to obey the law of the land . . . but only when it does not conflict with God's commands. God clearly commands that his own due process clause (Matthew 22:39: Love your neighbor as yourself, without meaningless distinctions (cf. Romans 10:12)) applies to all persons, regardless of where they were born or who they are. Again, I'm not advocating illegal immigration, but let's at least be honest in the debate and not lump illegal immigrants in the same box as rapists and murderers (whom we should love as ourselves, anyway).
All this as preface so that I can say "amen" to this Slate article: The Pardon Pander, by Bruce Fein. If the guys obstructed justice, then they need to be punished appropriately.
I'm sad to report that I cannot determine how any of my Congresspeople voted. If anybody can find a vote list, please put a link in the comments.
*This verse is my favorite one of those listed, so I'll spell it out for you here, from the NASB: "The [immigrant] who resides with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt."
**The little c in catholic was intentional. Look it up, you bum.