A Believer’s Guide to the Immigration Debate

by | Nov 14, 2012 | Charisma Archive

There are no biblical passages laying out the details of a just immigration policy for the U.S. today. A modern nation like ours is not analogous to ancient Israel, nor are biblical figures easily comparable to contemporary illegal immigrants. Immigration is a complex subject, and there are no easy answers for it, but here are 10 considerations that thoughtful U.S. Christians should bear in mind:

» 1. The oft-quoted command in Leviticus 19:33-34 that “you shall not oppress the alien” should shape our attitude toward immigrants. But the passage doesn’t say how many aliens should be admitted to the U.S. today. Compassion for the foreigner does not necessarily mean admitting all comers.

» 2. The “sojourners” in ancient Israel were not illegal immigrants. They were temporary residents who agreed to comply with Israel’s laws and respect its customs. They could expect to receive basic justice, but not the full privileges of an Israelite.

» 3. Mary and Joseph were not illegal immigrants when they fled to Egypt to protect the baby Jesus. They were refugees seeking asylum from political persecution—a right that is recognized under today’s international law. There is no evidence that they broke any Egyptian laws.

» 4. Alongside the biblical teachings about hospitality to strangers stand the teachings about the importance of the rule of law. Passages such as Romans 13:1-7 and 1 Peter 2:13-17 stress a duty to obey properly constituted human authorities, when their demands do not violate conscience. 

» 5. U.S. authorities are within their powers when they attempt to regulate the flow of immigration into this country. Any state that loses control of its borders will not be able to fulfill its basic God-given responsibility to protect its citizens.

» 6. It is important to distinguish the callings of church and state. The church is called by God to welcome all with the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ without distinction for nationality or immigration status. But the state is called by God to enforce justice. It properly makes distinctions between those who obey and those who break the law.

» 7. The state properly places first the welfare of its own citizens. It does not have to admit immigrants it believes will detract from national well-being.

» 8. There is no place for racism in the immigration debate. People shouldn’t be admitted to or excluded from the U.S. based on their ethnicity. 

» 9. There are cases in which a state may decide to show mercy to those who have broken its laws. It may conclude that strict enforcement of the law—for example, trying to deport all illegal immigrants—would be impossible or counterproductive. 

» 10. The possible unintended consequences of granting amnesty to immigration-law violators must be weighed. We saw this demonstrated with the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, in which amnesty for most who had been in the country illegally led to a spike in new illegal entries. The problem of illegal immigration was amplified.

From “Immigration: A Brief Analysis”; ©2010 by The institute on religion and democracy; Washington, D.C. Used with permission. 

CHARISMA NEWSLETTERS

Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


MORE FROM CHARISMA

Kingdom Economics: Choosing a Better Way—God’s Way

Kingdom Economics: Choosing a Better Way—God’s Way

The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released its third and final estimate of second quarter GDP (Gross Domestic Product) and its PCE (Personal Consumption Expenditure Price Index). Since core (less food and energy) PCE is one of the Fed’s preferred measures of...

Orthodox Jew: The Miraculous Return of the Red Heifer to Israel

Orthodox Jew: The Miraculous Return of the Red Heifer to Israel

Read Time: 4 Minutes, 4 Seconds American Airlines flight 146 touched down at Israel’s Ben Gurion airport on time, arriving from New York’s JFK airport as one of the dozens of flights that arrive in Israel from the US daily. While a regularly scheduled flight, among...

Brother Andrew Was My Hero

Brother Andrew Was My Hero

When Andrew van der Bijl was a young man, doctors told him he was “too weak to travel” because of his chronic back pain. That advice seems absurd now, when we look back on the life of this legendary evangelist who came to be known as “Brother Andrew.” After he started...

Messianic Rabbi: The Last Words of Moses, Yeshua—and You

Messianic Rabbi: The Last Words of Moses, Yeshua—and You

As I get older, I find myself reading the Bible and seeing the text as if I was wearing a different pair of glasses. I am not talking about the fact that as I have gotten older, I have actually had to start wearing glasses. I am speaking more of the way I view the...

RECENT ARTICLES

Prophetic Revivalist: The Significance of the Hebrew Fall Feast Season

We have just entered a new Hebrew month called Tishrei on the Jewish calendar. As we proceed on this month in the celebration of the fall feasts of the Lord, it is vital to know the holy days and...
Elvis Presley’s Charismatic Faith on Display in New Book

Elvis Presley’s Charismatic Faith on Display in New Book

A new book called “The Faith of Elvis Presley” explores the spiritual side of the iconic “Heartbreak Hotel” singer, asserting that Elvis was a devout Christian who prayed for the infilling of the Holy Spirit on a regular basis. The author, Billy Stanley, whose mother...

Joseph Mattera: 7 Traits of the Sown Life

Joseph Mattera: 7 Traits of the Sown Life

Paul said he was a "drink offering." This meant that he offered his very life, spirit, soul, and body, to the Lord and to His church as a "living sacrifice" (Num. 15:4-10; 2 Tim. 4:6; Rom. 12:1-2). He also said he not only "spent" but "was spent" for the gospel (2...

Pin It on Pinterest