Ethics: Church Staff An Illegal Immigrant

What would you do Wednesday!

The scenario involves a lady employed full-time by your local church. She came recommended by another local pastor and has been employed for six months.

You hear a rumor from a friend that she is in the USA illegally. You rebuke your friend for the rumor. You then take the gossiper to go talk to the lady and apologize. The lady accepts the apology and doesn’t offer any reason about why such a rumor might have started.

Just then your pastor walks in wondering what’s going on. You share the positive news of the apology/reconciliation for the rumor. Your pastor is thankful about the apology and also chuckles at the rumor. He rhetorically asks why anyone would even come up with such a thing. He thought it was an odd rumor to spread.

The lady actually looked a bit nervous about the pastors passing words. But you give her the benefit of the doubt and let it go. Besides, when tensions are high suspicion also rises.

A few weeks go by. Then, you happen upon the lady in question outside of the church building on her cell phone. In so many words you hear her admit that she is a Canadian who is in the USA illegally. At about the same time she sees your come around the corner and quickly puts her phone away.

Unsure what to say, you blurt out – So, are you Canadian? Were the rumors about you being here illegally true? The lady mumbles a “Yes” to both questions and says something about a ‘long story’. She asks that you keep this between the two of you as she hurries away.

Do you
….call your pastor and tell him?
….call ICE?
….take the issue to the church body?
….do nothing and keep it to yourself?

What would you do?

Let's connect!

tagged as , in morality,theology

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 BaptistThinker August 18, 2010 at 11:50 am

I begin by assuming that this woman is a member of the church, since she is employed on church staff. At this point, I would begin the church discipline process, because she is in sin. I would also talk to the pastor about it, because this is also an issue where the church can be fined heavily for employing an illegal immigrant.

2 Mark August 18, 2010 at 12:36 pm


I know the answers to these questions seems pretty easy for most who comment here. However, I have a hunch that these questions aren’t so easily answered throughout various congregations.

3 Rhology August 18, 2010 at 1:41 pm

I have trouble caring about a CANADIAN illegal immigrant. Aren’t too many of those, and there aren’t too many drug dealers and serious criminals among them.

But like BaptistThinker said: he church can be fined heavily for employing an illegal immigrant

4 Jason Smathers August 18, 2010 at 3:20 pm

This would be much more clear if she was violating a law that is enforced. I think you need to first examine what it means to obey the authorities over us. Does this mean the constitution? Does it mean what the government commands whether inside or outside their written laws?

5 Jeff October 4, 2010 at 12:01 pm

I first must point out to Rhology, we can’t pick and choose when we will obey the laws. She is here illegally, it shouldnt matter if she is from Canada or as I assume by your comments that you mean Mexico. She could be from China or Europe, if she does not have the right papers then it is illegal. When she said it’s a long story, thats a clue that she may be in trouble in Canada otherwise she would have started the process to get a work visa. I know many people come here for opportunity, and thats great however they need to follow the rules. And as mentioned the church could be fined a large amount of money.

6 callofdutyspank November 27, 2013 at 10:24 pm

@Jeff you’re not legally obligated to report her, nor is it any “civic duty”. many illegals swing in and out of authorized and not authorized status. being in this country illegal is an offense on the same level as pissing in public or various traffic tickets. the system is broken and to over simplify the issues is foolish. there is no “line” to get to the back of- there is no “rules you just need to follow”. due to this reason the IRS hands out tax ID numbers, so that illegals can pay taxes- which they do and can never truly claim a return. this subsidizes our broken social security system. illegal is illegal is a stupid way stupid people over simplify a complex issue. immigration law clearly puts the issue as neither good nor bad- and is placed so by our justice system. furthermore; its not a walk in the park being unauthorized- 87% of all women are raped by a trafficker- a hell of a situation to place a desperate family in. im assuming you are also for deporting servicemember’s spouses or children> and would even attempt to say ” well they should have married an American”- you think the gov should tell you who to marry ? please don’t join the military. and if you are in get out. only a coward goes after innocence.


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