Christians And Immigration

Tijuana-San_Ysidro_border_crossingFrom time to time I think Christians get on the wrong side of certain issues, not because of our theology but because of our opposition to those who typically take positions we disagree with. Take environmentalism, for example. Apart from the ridiculous extremes that put Humankind as subservient to nature, Christians should be doing all we can to preserve and protect creation. That’s the job God originally gave us.

Immigration is another such issue. Christians are taking an unbiblical stand on immigration much of the time. Here’s what God’s position on immigration is:

For the LORD your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God who does not show partiality nor take a bribe. He executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and shows His love for the alien by giving him food and clothing. So show your love for the alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt. (Deut. 10:17-19)

No bribes? Good, good. We’re all for no bribes. Justice for orphans? Absolutely! Protect the orphans! For widows? Well, OK, though it sounds a little like welfare. But aliens? Love for aliens? Come on, don’t you realize . . . They might be here illegally. And we can’t condone illegal behavior. We simply have to maintain the rule of law.

I get the illegal issue, but I think that’s perhaps secondary. I think first Christians need to be front and center loving aliens and strangers—especially in America where we or our ancestors were most likely at some point aliens and strangers.

In fact, we celebrate and give thanks for the love our forefathers received when they were aliens and strangers in a holiday called Thanksgiving.

Now we’re in position to welcome, to show love toward, people who are new, who are learning the language, who . . . OK, I heard that . . . something like, But they AREN’T learning the language. Well, just maybe if we talked to them, we’d give them a reason to learn the language.

But think about being in a foreign country, where you don’t know how things work exactly, where you might be ridiculed for no other reason than that you came from somewhere else. Immigrants need love. They are precisely the neighbors Jesus said Christians are to love.

Yes, I think illegal immigration has muddied the waters. I do think we should be a land that believes in the rule of law. I do think people entering the country illegally should face some consequences.

But first, what we’ve been doing, isn’t working. Too many people who are sent back across the border because of their immigration status find a way to return.

Then, too, more and more people who have grown up in the US and who know no other home because they came here with their parents illegally as children, are facing the consequences of a decision they didn’t make and over which they had no control.

So what are we to do? I think Christians should become the vocal minority pushing for immigration reform. We need some brave lawmakers to step up and work out a fair law that will bring illegal immigrants the hope that they can become naturalized citizens without discouraging legal immigrants and without encouraging a new flood of illegal border crossings.

We also need to reach out to immigrants without worrying whether or not they are illegal. We should offer English as a second language classes and we should offer mentors who immigrants can go to when they have questions.

I’m sure there are many, many ways Christians can reach out to immigrants. My church makes a concerted effort to contact foreign students who are studying in our local universities. They are away from home, in a foreign country, adjusting to a different culture.

Sound familiar? Immigrants are going through those same things, so why shouldn’t we reach out to them in the same way, or more so? I mean, they’re staying, so we have a chance to build into their lives on a long term basis.

There are so many good things that would come out of Christians taking a stand to love immigrants. But above all, we’d be following the dictates of Scripture, and that ought to be enough.

It ought to be.

– – – – –

Photo credit: © BrokenSphere / Wikimedia Commons



  1. Rebecca. I love ya. AND I have the highest respect for your powers of intellect and strength in the scriptures. That said, I regret to report that we are not gonna see eye to eye on this one. From a biblical standpoint. Not on illegals. The ethnicity of which, I hasten to add, I could not possibly care less about.

    I do not believe you have studied and or thought this through. Which is better than believing you have and this is the conclusion you’ve come to. I cannot but be honest dear sister.


  2. A pastor whose work I follow has made the point a few times that the Hebrew word translated “alien” in the Law carried the connotation of a legal alien. And the Law also required (for what it’s worth in this discussion) that those resident aliens obey a subset of the Law, including not only what we might today classify as the “criminal code” but also Sabbath observance, with the same penalties as would be applied to an Israelite.

    Now, the alien in our midst today, legal or not, is clearly our neighbor, whom we are commanded to love as ourself (as is everyone else with whom we come into contact). But the proper application of the Mosaic Law is not as clear as a first reading of our English translations would suggest.


  3. It sounds like you have more concrete ideas than just about any politician I’ve ever heard through second-hand ignorance. Maybe you should run for office. 🙂


  4. I live in the southwest. I can’t travel in many places or even think of moving to the country around here due to the open borders. We have many liberal “Christians” on the side of the illegals. We just had the Catholic Bishops here to check things out and OK illegal immigration. But, I can’t begin to describe what goes on with the open border business. I have been accosted in two stores, for being an Anglo. The crime is open, although it has slowed down from what it was a few of years ago, at least in my neighborhood. It hasn’t slowed down in other places. They teach the Mexican students communism in some of the local schools…. Mexico is a Socialist state and that is the main reason their economy is poor. The people wanting to legalize them would be happy if we were a Socialist state as well. I can love the illegal when he steals my car out of my driveway, but still want the borders closed.


  5. This is such a sprawling topic with so many levels, all of which must be taken captive to Christ. It’s killin me that I don’t have time to say more, but I’ll try when I can. The lady directly above opens yet another aspect of what to expect when you welcome people whose very act of standing on your soil is already a violation of law. They’re criminals by definition. Guess what they’ll do next? Not because they’re brown. But because they’re criminals. The fairy tale of vast multitudes of poor honest working folk just looking for a new life is (largely) a long gone leftist fantasy.

    Yes we have the biblical right AND duty to enforce borders. This is also not theocratic Israel and this is not a nation that cares one bit anymore about God’s law or honor. All of those must be taken into consideration. The pagans at our helm are not about loving neighbors. They are about power. Anybody who refuses to recognize that does so at their own peril. We, meaning the body of Christ, CANNOT love anybody as ourselves through this godless government. Forget that now if it is any part of your views on immigration.


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: