Christianity and Illegal Immigration
It was only days ago when displaying one’s faith, seeking to uphold His word as law, was to invite scorn from the Progressives. At their 2012 convention they actually sought to remove any mention of Him from their party platform. Hobby Lobby was excoriated when they declared that their faith prevented them from funding abortifacient, while Chick-fil-A was boycotted when their CEO mentioned he preferred the Biblical definition of marriage. The Little Sisters of the Poor was recently named to the National Organization of Women’s “Dirty 100” list.
Yet the party of “Keep Your Rosaries Out Of My Ovaries” has suddenly stopped arguing that we remove In God We Trust from our currency to start quoting scripture like the Pope at Mass. It is a spectacular display of shameless manipulation, remarkable even for the world of politics, that the Left has turned to appeals to our Christianity to support their desire for amnesty, and their desire that we not deport anyone – not even the thousands of illegal teenagers who have stampeded our borders recently.
Repatriating of these illegals “not the American way and it’s not the Christian way,” says Univision anchor and longtime open border advocate Jorge Ramos. Kirsten Powers, another advocate for open borders, says it is “a Christian thing.” Stephen King, whose work often mocks conservative Christians (remember Carrie?) tweeted “Revised Tea Party Gospel: ‘Suffer the little children come unto me. Unless they’re undocumented kids from Central America.’”
But does Christianity obligate us to be open border advocates, to accept as citizens any and all foreigners, simply because they have entered our country? How does the Bible instruct us in this current illegal immigration crisis?
It clearly compels us to love even those who are foreign to us. Leviticus 19:34 reads, “The stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself.” And as Matthew 25:40 reads, “Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”
However, the Bible does not suggest the the world should exist as if we were all one nation. In fact multitude of nations are mentioned in the Bible. And Act17:26 references national borders, or the “bounds” of man’s “habitation.”
The Bible also makes clear that each of these nations is entitled to make its own laws, as long as they do not supersede God’s Law. The example of this most often quoted is probably Luke 20:25: “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar’s, and unto God the things which be God’s,” but there are many others.
So we can take from this that man is justified in both creating laws and maintaining borders, though we would not be justified in transgressions against the will of God. “Render unto Caesar the things which be Caesar’s, and unto God the things which be God’s.” The key is distinguishing what is Caesar’s and what is God’s.
The laws of God are clear. They are conveniently compiled in a tidy list of 10. Similarly, Jesus, when asked which is the greatest commandment of law, gives an profound yet simple answer: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Matthew 22:37-39
I would argue that there is a distinction against prosecution and persecution, that we may punish those who do wrong, as Jesus did to those who had turned His house into a den of thieves, but our punishment should not be an act of evil itself. We are justified in prosecuting (i.e. imprisoning or levying a fine against) a man who enters our home uninvited, who steals from us, or otherwise does us harm. But we are not justified in treating that man with cruelty, or without compassion or forgiveness: “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32
To relate this to the current immigration crisis, it is evident that it is “a Christian thing” to have a border and to punish those who violate that border. If not, then what country has ever been Christian? What would be unchristian however would be to persecute the illegals – denying them medicine, food, and shelter.
If we are treating illegals humanely, are we not meeting the requirement of Christ’s commandment that we love our neighbor as ourselves, or are we obligated to do further? Are parents whose home is full of the children they’ve adopted, and whose budgets are strained with the care of those children, not being true Christians if they say “no more” when another child comes to their door?
If we were such a prosperous nation that we had no poverty among us, it would be unchristian to turn away others who are in poverty, but no one would say that is the case. It may be arguable that a child living in Tegucigalpa faces greater poverty and crime than a child living in Newark, it is not arguable that a child in Newark faces poverty and crime. Nor is it arguable that the greater responsibility for an American government is to that Newark child.
Furthermore, what is the Christian obligation in the face of the evil actions of others? In Corinthians, Paul chastises a church, not for any sin they committed directly and collectively themselves, but for not shunning one of their members for his sin, and delivering him for punishment: For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” 1 Corinthians 5:3-5
Like the Corinthian church, we are often “puffed up” when we tolerate the misdeeds of others instead of shunning or punishing them for those misdeeds because we believe that tolerance makes us good Christians. And we show the same pride when we tolerate the misdeeds of other nations.
To not repatriate the illegals, these “undocumented kids from Central America,” would be to not only tolerate their misdeeds, It would be to reward those misdeeds, and to encourage more misdeeds in the future. These governments by sending their most disadvantaged to our nation seek to absolve themselves of their responsibilities to them. Not only does this allow them to not care for them, they are rewarded in the form of remittances. Illegals who find employment in America send a significant amount of their earnings back to the families they left behind, and the amount of that money becomes significant. Mexico received over $22 billion in such payments in 2012 alone from emigrants, many of whom are working illegally in the US.
Therefore the conservative position on illegal immigration, that they be treated humanely, even if we must imprison them, but that they must be returned to their nation of origin, is not only the most sensible position, but it is the most Christian position as well.