For many reasons including racism, religious intolerance, and economic bias, there are those who want to increase the punishment of those entering illegally, and to limit those entering legally to certain countries, and certain social or economic status. Because of the complexities of dealing with all of the illegal immigrants now in the country, and how to stop the flow of others entering illegally, along with making needed changes to current law, the solution of those in government is to do nothing.
This “do nothing” attitude has resulted in very different proposed solutions ranging from arresting and prosecuting all those entering the country illegally including separating parents and children; with the other extreme, while not ignoring the illegality, is much less harsh treatment. For legal immigration the differences are no less divergent. On the one hand there are those who want no major change in policy. The differing view is that we make all immigration merit based using a system that, considers the applicant’s education, skills, and economic status above familial relationships which is the most important consideration under current immigration law.
Christians are on both sides of the issue of both legal and illegal immigration. Since Christians are to live and govern by the principles of Scripture we should look at what the Bible says about immigration.
We all know that US Attorney General Jeff Sessions wrongfully used Romans 13 to justify the actions of the government in separating families, including minor children, of those caught entering the country illegally. This is what Attorney General Sessions said.
"I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order."
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended Sessions, saying, "It is very biblical to enforce the law."
This is the complete text he to which he was referring.
Romans 13:1-5 NIV Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.
The Bible is clear that there is nothing to prohibit a country from having completely open borders or to have completely closed borders. The Scripture that Attorney Sessions misquoted also gives the government the authority to punish lawbreakers. Whether the punishment is imprisonment, deportation, something more severe, or even something less severe it is within the rights of the government to determine.
We must agree that supporting, enabling, and/or encouraging illegal immigration is, therefore, a violation of God’s Word. Those seeking to emigrate to another country should always obey the immigration laws of that country. While this may cause delays and frustrations, it is better than acting illegally. A frustrating law is still a law.
My issue is to not with the law but its enforcement which I believe is without compassion. You can punish without malice. You can punish with compassion. There is a real price to pay for breaking the rules but that punishment shouldn't break the offender.
Ezekiel 22:6-7 NIV “ ‘See how each of the princes of Israel who are in you uses his power to shed blood. In you they have treated father and mother with contempt; in you they have oppressed the foreigner and mistreated the fatherless and the widow.
Malachi 3:5 NIV“So I will come to put you on trial. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive the foreigners among you of justice, but do not fear me,” says the Lord Almighty.
If our government insists on using the Bible as a guidebook, let's see what it really says:
Psalm 39:12 NIV “Hear my prayer, Lord , listen to my cry for help; do not be deaf to my weeping. I dwell with you as a foreigner, a stranger, as all my ancestors were.
Leviticus 19:33-34 NIV “ ‘When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.
Exodus 22:21 NIV “Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner, for you were foreigners in Egypt.
Deuteronomy 27:19 NIV “Cursed is anyone who withholds justice from the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow.” Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”
Jeremiah 7:5-7 NIV If you really change your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly, if you do not oppress the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not follow other gods to your own harm, then I will let you live in this place, in the land I gave your ancestors for ever and ever.
Deuteronomy 24:19-22 NIV When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. When you beat the olives from your trees, do not go over the branches a second time. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow. When you harvest the grapes in your vineyard, do not go over the vines again. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow. Remember that you were slaves in Egypt. That is why I command you to do this.
Matthew 25:35 NIV For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,
What can be done in regards to an unjust immigration law? It is completely within the rights of citizens to seek to change immigration laws. If it is your conviction that an immigration law is unjust, do everything that is legally within your power to get the law changed: pray, petition, vote, peacefully protest, etc. As Christians, we should be the first to seek to change any law that is unjust. At the same time, we are also to demonstrate our submission to God by obeying the government He has placed in authority over us.
If you disagree with the government and its authority here in the United States we are blessed with the freedom to challenge that government and to change it, As I published in my Independence Day post, “On This Independence Day We Hold These Truths To Be Self Evident”
- The freedom to have a say in government
- The freedom to petition the government
The freedom to petition the government is guaranteed in the First Amendment to the Constitution. This freedom includes having the right to collect signatures on a petition, to engage in lobbying activities, and to protest government leaders if they do something with which we disagree.
One way the freedom to petition the government has been explained is as follows: "A more simple definition of the right to petition, is 'the right to present requests to the government without punishment or reprisal.'"