Religious institutions are expected to focus on religious and humanitarian causes. These institutions can have a positive impact on the society through organizing social events. Such efforts are aimed at increasing the cohesiveness within the society. At no point should such organizations get involved in the affairs of the state and government. In that case the religious institutions lose their neutrality. The considerations can be multi-factorial as described below:
1. IMMIGRATION STATUS / LAW:
There is law for a reason. When a person shows the due diligence to abide by the law, it shows how responsible a citizen he/she will be. If there is any reason believe that a person wishes to utilize loopholes to dodge the system, that can be an indicator that there will always be a tendency to break the law. There has to be a scope for the authority to check the status to limit the risk of unlawful activities. Blindfolded protection provided by an organization can protect illegal immigrants. Such pointless approach will cause the system to fail.
When a religious institution decides to protect immigrants regardless of their status, it obviously incurs cost. Who pays for it? The taxpayers? Is it right for a religious institution to subject people to such expenditure in the name of protecting human rights? Isn’t that same action also violating human rights in the process?
3. HEALTH CONCERN:
Immigrants come from countries all over the world. Unfortunately, there is no set standard to determine the health status of those immigrants before their arrival. Such immigrants almost always demonstrate different levels of health awareness due to the difference in the level of education, and socio-economic conditions. In order to ensure safety for its people the government has to implement the rules like health screening for all of the immigrants. Participation of a religious institution as a protector of those immigrants in the name of upholding human rights is objectionable, because that violates the rights of the people of the very country that it is operating in.
In this age of frequent acts of terrorism, every country has the right to protect its own citizens. There is no scope for ifs and buts. The government has to adopt policies to minimize the risks. An immigrant has to go through the system and follow the law, which can change at any moment, when situations dictate. That law in turn saves the immigrants from unlawful activities. Therefore, it is not an undue demand imposed on the immigrants.
What about the immigrants who abide by the laws? When some immigrants go through rigorous procedures to prove themselves as worthy citizens, how fair is it to provide safe haven for the group who electively decide to do otherwise? How neutral can an organization be when it decides to support the unlawful acts of those it is protecting? Crossing that line is not acceptable no matter what type of organization it is. Nobody is above the law and when a religious institution prefers to be disruptive in this sense, its intentions get tainted and it turns into a political organization. Religion and politics CANNOT go hand in hand.
Some good intentions of the religious institutions can cause more harm. For example, if an organization gets branded as the protector of a specific group, won’t it inadvertently result in that entire group’s isolation from the rest of the country?
6. OTHER FACTORS TO CONSIDER:
a) If a specific religious institution gets engaged in providing safe haven for illegal immigrants, the rest of the community unduly gets blamed.
b) Why should a religious institution provide safe haven for immigrants? If legal and qualified, they can maintain safe existence for themselves just like any other person.
c) The whole idea of a religious institution’s role as a protector is mind-boggling. People can belong to an institution, and not the other way around. It should stay neutral, especially if it is a religious institution.