Why Christians are called to immigration reform

Stephanie Summers

Stephanie Summers
February 18, 2015

The reform of immigration policy should be of vital concern to every Christian who is an American citizen.

February 18, 2015

Although I am an American I am living in Nova Scotia, Canada. Our church has a very large ministry to immigrants/refugees from the Congo. I have made curtains for them and taken them to the local St. Vincent de Paul (thrift type store operated by the Catholic church where they can get several large garbage bags of clothes for FREE!!

My siblings are living in the US but I cannot afford to. I have a disability and in Canada I get free health care, subsidized housing and access to a food bank every month.

America is off the rails on many aspects of government, policies and so on. We can no longer say, "God bless America, land that I love . . ."

February 19, 2015

I agree completely with your call for justice for immigrants. As you point our the rule of law is often used as an argument against dealing with the immigrant issue, but as you point out, Christians have an obligation to call the government to promoting justice. This call to justice does not mean automatic opposition to the rule of law.

Doug Vande Griend
February 20, 2015

Everyone wants immigration reform. Everyone. The difficult question is whether that "comprehensive"reform will result in no, little, moderate or actually effective, border control. If the is no border control, it makes little difference that laws restricting anyone from entering or staying in this country exist.

I look forward to subsequent installments from this article's author. Hopefully, those contributions will distinguish between the roles played by government v. church v. individual v. business (etc) as to the issues. So differentiating was important to Jim Skillen (see The Scattered Voice). Hopefully, that concern has institutional survived at CPJ.

Rob Bright
April 18, 2016

Wait a minute, here. Are you guys seriously using OT civil laws applicable to Jews 1000s of years ago to advocate for a certain immigration policy in the 21st Century United States?

If you want to apply OT laws to our current situation, then how about applying the other OT law concerning immigrants instead of referring only to the ones that fit the narrative. For example, wasn't worship of other gods considered idolatry? Wouldn't worship of Allah be idolatry? Further:

"Alien residents were required to observe the Sabbath (Leviticus 25:6), the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Exodus 12:14-20), and the Feast of Atonement (Leviticus 16:29). They were to offer sacrifices correctly (Leviticus 17:8-9), not eat blood (Leviticus 17:10-12), remain sexually pure (Leviticus 18:26), and not worship idols (Leviticus 20:2). Any who broke Israel's laws were to face the same punishment as an Israelite (Numbers 15:16)—they were to be "cut-off," or exiled from society... Aliens were not allowed to own land permanently because Israel was God's inheritance for the Jews, but they were to be provided for (Leviticus 23:22; Deuteronomy 10:18; 14:29)."


How about Exodus 23:32-33?

“Make no treaties with them or their gods. They must not live in your land, or they will cause you to sin against me. If you serve their gods, you will be caught in the trap of idolatry.”

That points out that allowing in people who serve other gods will tempt people to worship those other gods. Therefore, people who worship other gods were not permitted to live in the country.

In other words, if YOU were to apply all of the OT laws concerning immigration to the United States - instead of just picking and choosing the ones that make you feel good - you would find that it would be perfectly acceptable to allow immigrants into the country IF AND ONLY IF they forsake their own gods and worship the one true God.

So, if we apply ALL of OT immigration law to the United States, all of the Muslim immigrants would be required to convert and no longer worship Allah.

So, I ask: Are you going to continue to pick and choose the scriptures that make you feel good or are you going to apply the scriptures consistently?

Of course, given that the United States is not a theocracy as ancient Israel was when the OT laws were given, then I take the position that OT civil laws are not, in fact, applicable to the United States. Do those laws provide wisdom and direction on how things should be done? Sure. But they're not requirements for us today in things like immigration.

If you believe that they are requirements for us today, then please stop leaving out all of the requirements.

James Brock
April 18, 2016

The immigration you talk of is rife with Islamic terrorists. They want to kill us simply because we are Christians. I love them, but from afar. Just because you love them doesn't mean you have to invite them into your country. Giving them access to the very people they wish dead is not smart, I don't care what kind of Christian you are.

Josh Larsen
TC Staff
April 18, 2016

In Reply to James Brock (comment #28091)
You might be interested in reading another installment in this series, James, "The story of Reyna Garcia." It shares a different narrative of immigration than the one you describe here. https://thinkchristian.reframemedia.com/the-story-of-reyna-garcia

Bill Wald
April 18, 2016

In the good old days when people emigrated to the US it was because they wanted to become US citizens and escape from their old country. They did not want to "reform" or re-claim the USA. Immigrants had to be sponsored and the sponsor was financial responsible for immigrant for two years. Many churches sponsored immigrants.

James Brock
April 18, 2016

I'm sorry ,I got immigration mixed up with refugees. Sorry again

Mike Cummins
April 18, 2016

I agree this area requires careful consideration from a Christian perspective and a secular governmental perspective. For many years America has had ":open borders" as millions have come here illegally and stayed. The US I Government has failed in its responsibility and allowed this invasion of our country. Now what to do? Many say let all stay and even open the borders to allow anyone and everyone to come to this land of opportunity. Seems this has already been done. Research shows many are working and paying something back while many are on public assistance, causing a drain on funds and increasing the deficit. As a Christian I am told to love and welcome, however, I am also told to do so carefully. I believe this influx of imme3granbts and refugees has and will continue to have a disasterous effect on Christianity and I do not believe we are told to welcome with open arms those that are dedicated to crush and kill the Christian and the Christian belief. It is easy to see that this open call to all nations has weakened and diluted Christianity. In fact, we are now becoming a minority and will soon be persecuted in our own land.

John Smith
February 10, 2017

Well, apparently this author doesn't distinguish between the function of government and the obligations of believers. It is true that "love thy neighbor" and other principles and precepts apply to believers. The Bible, however, makes clear that a government's principal duty is to insure safety for its citizens. In fact, all the people proof texting the directives to Israel (as if they apply to us) that they should care for foreigners among them, conveniently leave out the fact that God also directed His people to wipe out, men, women, and children (and sometimes even animals) the peoples with cultural and religious beliefs that would prove a corrupting influence. Also, as to those foreigners who were to be taken care of, if they wished to remain, they were to fully convert to Judaism including circumcision and celebrating the Passover (Exodus 12:48). These people weren't invited and welcomed in a "come as you are" situation; if they wanted to stay, they had to convert. Try applying a "cut off part of your body" condition to immigrants and refugees and see how far that gets you...

February 11, 2017

In Reply to DDiana (comment #26941)
That health care isn't free: someone's paying for it.

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