I was sitting in downtown Accra, Ghana's capital, talking to a resident of the city whom I've known for almost thirty years. He was telling me that he had won the lottery. Not the national lottery that would have given him millions of extra Ghana cedis to spend, but rather the U.S. immigration lottery. This meant that he and his family could now enter the United States legally and that he would be given a green card.
It was disclosed a few months ago that since September 11, 2001 more than ten million new people have moved to the United States, both legally and illegally. That adds more than one million people per year. Some enter because of family connections, others because they have skills needed in the United States, still others because they are refugees or victims of persecution in their own lands. Many enter as students and never leave. The immigration lottery is another opportunity to enter the United States—one in which anybody can enter his name.
I asked my friend what he hoped to do when he arrived in America. He told me that Ghanaians will do jobs that Americans won't do! I told him that my son who has a business degree is now cleaning apartments and offices since losing his job a few months ago. I also mentioned that I've frequently been waited on in restaurants by people who have a masters degree but can't find a job. He was shocked at hearing this.
Another Ghanaian explained to me that all who enter the United States are expected to support family members back home by sending back a significant part of their earnings. Billions of dollars leave the United States annually in support of overseas family members.
Shortly after I returned home, I heard that the number of people who have lost their jobs since the beginning of this year is over 600,000.
It's time somebody did the math. With over 600,000 jobs already lost and unlikely to be replaced due to economic concerns plus almost 1.5 million new immigrants (including children) every twelve months, we could have well over a million extra people in the job market by the end of this year. And this assumes that the immigrants who have come to the United States in previous years all have jobs!
As job uncertainty increases you would think that by now this massive annual influx of immigrant workers would be a major national issue. But it isn't.
After returning to the United States, I was struck by how consistent our national media is in not highlighting these major issues facing this country—whether immigration, legal as well as illegal, or the growing federal deficit, which may worsen with the bailout of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.
The way the U.S. government will likely come up with the funds to save those two gigantic lending institutions is by printing more money or by borrowing more money, which increases America's indebtedness to other nations.
It all sounds like crazy economics to me!
But the basic problem is spiritual! When people forsake God they cannot see anything clearly. As more American citizens lose their jobs, often replaced by cheaper imported labor, and the country progressively increases its indebtedness to other nations, Americans will increasingly lose out just as God anciently predicted they would as a consequence of their turning away from Him.
Isaiah's appraisal of ancient Judah was: "The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faints. From the sole of the foot even to the head, there is no soundness in it …" (Isaiah 1:5-6). The Bible warns that this will be the case for nations whose citizens turn away from God.
Deuteronomy 28 contains a warning applicable to the modern descendants of Israel who settled much of the United States. In the first part of the chapter, promises are made for obedience. Included in them is the promise: "You shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow" (verse 12). This was the case for many decades, both in ancient Israel and in modern America.
Later on in the chapter this warning is given as a consequence of citizens turning away from God: "The alien who is among you shall rise higher and higher above you, and you shall come down lower and lower. He shall lend to you, but you shall not lend to him; he shall be the head and you shall be the tail" (verses 43-44).