Critiquing Rev. Dr. Leithart’s “The Nation, The Church, and the Immigrants” (Part I)

Critiquing this piece,

Dr Peter Leithart,

No one denies that US immigration policy is a mess. One poll found that 63 percent of Republicans want to deport the estimated 11 million illegals in the United States. Sniffing a popular cause, Congress has jumped aboard with legislation focused on identifying, arresting, and punishing violent criminals among illegal aliens.

Bret replies,

First, lets contend over Dr. Leithart’s 11 million illegals figure. That number is hotly contested with a respected Bear Sterns report offering the number of illegal immigrants at closer to 20 million.

Click to access BearStearnsStudy.pdf

Ann Coulter’s recent book, “Adios Amigo,” puts the number at 30 million.

Second. one reason that the US immigration policy is a mess is because we have combined the promise of the welfare state with a defacto open borders policy. In providing Government money and benefits what our hostile Government is doing is providing both incentive and subsidies to become illegal aliens. Dr. Leithart’s, essentially alienist reasoning, does nothing to address either aspect of this equation. It is safe to say that as long as our hostile Government continues to combine a defacto open borders policy with a Welfare state the consequence will be increased illegal immigration.

Third, Dr. Leithart points out proposed legislation that would identify, arrest, and punish violent criminal as if such legislation is a bad idea. Does Dr. Leithart really think it is a bad idea to enter into a process that removes the most violent illegal aliens?

Dr. Peter Leithart offers,

Considered strictly as a policy issue, there is much to commend open borders. Like Prohibition, recent efforts to control immigration haven’t done much to control immigration, but instead have pushed immigrants into back alleys and speakeasies that do a brisk business in forgery, illegal and dangerous transport, and other skullduggeries. Opening the border would undercut these criminal networks, as legalizing booze put the bootleggers out of business.

Bret responds,

One wonders what there is to commend open borders as a policy issue?

Is it black teen unemployment rate that Dr. Leithart finds so commendable in a open borders policy?

According to African-American spokesman, Kenneth Blackwell, as given in a critique of the Obama administration’s illegal immigration policy,

“Teen unemployment in the black community is especially shocking. In the past two years, the number has hovered around 40 percent. In Mr. Obama’s adopted hometown of Chicago, the Urban League just reported that black teen unemployment is a breathtaking 91 percent.”

Is the problematic crime rate of illegal immigrants something that Dr. Leithart find commendable in open borders?

*Judicial Watch reported last year:

Of the 61,529 criminal cases initiated by federal prosecutors last fiscal year, more than 40%—or 24,746—were filed in court districts neighboring the Mexican border….Nearly 22% (13,383) were drug related, 19.7% (12,123) were violent crimes and 10.2% (6,300) involved white-collar offenses that include a full range of frauds committed by business and government professionals.

Is it the low wages that the US Chamber of Commerce loves that Dr. Leithart finds so commendable in open borders?

We must come to terms with the fact that immigration, both legal and illegal, is a program for redistribution of wealth from the working class to the elite financial and political classes and it has little or nothing to do with concern for the well-being of the poor in other countries. It’s not an honest call to the “tired, poor, huddled masses.” It’s a call for the elimination of the middle class and a turn to a have vs. have not social order.

Is it the fact that American workers are being displaced that Dr. Leithart finds so commendable in open borders?

Is it the fact that America is being transformed from a WASP country to a third world country that Dr. Leithart finds so commendable in open borders?

“For more than 20 years, the consensus—the consensus—among labor economists has been that the immense inflow into the United States since immigration was reignited, after a 40-year lull, by Lyndon B. Johnson’s 1965 Immigration Act is of virtually no benefit, in aggregate, to native-born Americans.  Immigration does increase output (GDP) in varying degrees.  (In the case of unskilled immigrants, the increase is often minuscule.)  But essentially all of that is captured by the immigrants themselves, through wages.  In other words, America is being transformed for nothing.

Next, Dr. Leithart compares our failure in our immigration policy with our failure in enforcing prohibition restrictions.

On this score, first observe, that it is always easiest to eliminate crime rates by decriminalizing crime.

Second, note that if we really wanted to enforce policy against illegal immigrants the fact that we have done so before, during the Eisenhower administration, (Operation Wetback) suggests that we have not been serious concerning enforcing the laws regarding illegal immigration. The problem here is not the impossibility of enforcing the law. The problem is that there has been little will to enforce the law. Clearly, Washington, like Dr. Leithart, wants defacto open borders.

Third, to compare legalizing the elimination of borders to the elimination of restrictions on alcohol consumption is a category mistake of profound consequence. The impact of an open borders policy has profound and far ranging consequences that extend far beyond the consequences eliminating restrictions on alcohol. Some of those consequences are teased out in this article,

I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends — Darrell Dow Refutes Dr. Leithart on Immigration

 Rev. Dr.  Leithart goes on,

Even Pat Buchanan admits that most migrants work hard for their share of America’s prosperity. If border controls were relaxed, Kevin Johnson has argued, honest refugees and migrants could come in safely through legal checkpoints, allowing the INS, Homeland Security, and other agencies to use scarce resources to target known or suspected terrorists, drug-runners, and other criminals.

Bret responds,

1.) Here is Pat Buchanan’s admission that  Rev. Dr. Leithart cites,

” … the sense America’s borders are undefended, that untold millions of lawbreakers are in our country, and more are coming. While most (illegal immigrants) come to work, they are taking American jobs and consuming tax dollars, and too many come to rob, rape, murder and make a living selling drugs.

Somehow in  Rev. Dr. Leithart’s world becomes,

“Even Pat Buchanan admits that most migrants work hard for their share of America’s prosperity.”

This is, at best, disingenuous on Rev. Dr. Leithart’s part and, at worse, and example of lying by a member of the clergy to advance a weak point.  This was something that only liberal clergy used to do.

2.) Rev. Dr. Leithart’s desire for open borders reminds me of the old Roman Catholic technique of bringing in the pagans en mass, adding some of their tribal rituals so they will feel comfortable with being present (Cinco de mayo anyone?) and in this case, voila … American citizens. In brief, Rev. Dr. Leithart would have us outwardly sprinkle them and pronounce them American and ex opere operato they are Americans.

Rev. Dr. Leithart continues,

With open borders, Johnson says, “rules and regulations governing the entry of noncitizens into the country would approximate those that exist for goods, services, and capital that enter.” We’d benefit from freer, more mobile labor, as we benefit from cheap imports. Many doubt whether the new immigrants can be assimilated, but for all our groping disarray, America is still damned good at turning people from every corner of the globe into devoted Americans: In the image of ourselves make we them. It’s not hard. Most of them are here because they’ve long dreamed of becoming Americans.

That’s hardly a slam-dunk policy argument, but it’s a serious position, worthy of better than the wacky-nut treatment it’s usually given.

But it is a policy argument, and there’s the rub, because immigration cuts deeper than policy can reach.

Bret responds,

1.) This is basically both a Libertarian argument that reduces men to their economic equation and a propositional nation argument that sees a nation as nothing but a hodge podge of people who agree on shared propositions. Both of these are beyond suspect. Rev. Dr. Leithart’s statement does nothing to consider the human or cultural dynamic except to offer that “America is damned good at turning people into devoted Americans.”  Neither is there any consideration on Rev. Dr. Leithart’s part of whether or not it is a Christian desire to see people “turning into devoted Americans.” Some might argue that such a statement, especially in light of matters like the recent Planned Parenthood “baby body parts for sale,” reveals that Rev. Dr. Leithart’s agenda to turn the alien and stranger into a devoted American is contrary to seeing them become devoted Christians.

2.) Honestly, Rev. Dr. Leithart speaks of the wacky-nut treatment his ideas are usually given but I hope we can begin to see why wacky-nut ideas are given wacky nut treatments.


The postmillennialism of Federal Vision Alienists like Rev. Dr. Leithart is a Sarumanic postmillennialism. It is an attempt to immanentize the eschaton and as everyone does that to one degree or another; I get that. The problem here is that Rev. Dr. Leithart‘s Eschaton is the Eschaton of Babel. It is the eschaton of Sauraman who believed the only problem with Sauron’s eschaton was that it wasn’t “Christian,” and could be rescued if it was just given that “I love Jesus” touch that could be provided only by a Jesus loving Saruman type policy.

End Part I



Author: jetbrane

I am a Pastor of a small Church in Mid-Michigan who delights in my family, my congregation and my calling. I am postmillennial in my eschatology. Paedo-Calvinist Covenantal in my Christianity Reformed in my Soteriology Presuppositional in my apologetics Familialist in my family theology Agrarian in my regional community social order belief Christianity creates culture and so Christendom in my national social order belief Mythic-Poetic / Grammatical Historical in my Hermeneutic Pre-modern, Medieval, & Feudal before Enlightenment, modernity, & postmodern Reconstructionist / Theonomic in my Worldview One part paleo-conservative / one part micro Libertarian in my politics Systematic and Biblical theology need one another but Systematics has pride of place Some of my favorite authors, Augustine, Turretin, Calvin, Tolkien, Chesterton, Nock, Tozer, Dabney, Bavinck, Wodehouse, Rushdoony, Bahnsen, Schaeffer, C. Van Til, H. Van Til, G. H. Clark, C. Dawson, H. Berman, R. Nash, C. G. Singer, R. Kipling, G. North, J. Edwards, S. Foote, F. Hayek, O. Guiness, J. Witte, M. Rothbard, Clyde Wilson, Mencken, Lasch, Postman, Gatto, T. Boston, Thomas Brooks, Terry Brooks, C. Hodge, J. Calhoun, Llyod-Jones, T. Sowell, A. McClaren, M. Muggeridge, C. F. H. Henry, F. Swarz, M. Henry, G. Marten, P. Schaff, T. S. Elliott, K. Van Hoozer, K. Gentry, etc. My passion is to write in such a way that the Lord Christ might be pleased. It is my hope that people will be challenged to reconsider what are considered the givens of the current culture. Your biggest help to me dear reader will be to often remind me that God is Sovereign and that all that is, is because it pleases him.

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