An immigration attorney agrees with the federal judge who recently rejected the Good Samaritan defense in the case of a Nebraska man charged with conspiracy to harbor illegal aliens.
The case involves John Good's interactions with an illegal alien couple who managed Good's Mexican restaurant in the O'Neill community in northeastern Nebraska. The two illegals are tied to an alleged criminal conspiracy to exploit illegal alien laborers for profit, fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering in Nebraska and Minnesota. The government alleges that Good helped the couple hide commercial assets and businesses in his name and that he also helped the couple hide from immigration authorities.
Good's attorney argued that his client lived out the lesson of the Bible's Good Samaritan parable in his dealings with the couple, but U.S. District Judge John Gerrard agreed with the prosecution's contention that the practice of Christianity does not provide a "constitutional shield to conspiring to harbor aliens."
"This really is, to again quote the Bible, one of those 'render unto Caesar those things that are Caesar's,'" submits Art Arthur, a resident fellow in law and policy at the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS). "The immigration laws of the United States do not permit harboring, regardless of one's religious beliefs. And true to the Christian faith, and I am not a theologian, but it is one of those things where you have to accede to the law of the land, regardless of your own personal opinion."
He adds that it is a neutral law; "it does not have any particular religious animus. There is a sanction for it, and he will likely face that sanction," Arthur says.
Three U.S. appellate courts, including Nebraska's, have ruled that Christian motivation is not a valid constitutional defense.
Good's trial is set to begin September 16.