The Problem with Illegal Immigrants from a Biblical Perspective

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We call them illegal immigrants because we view them as criminals coming to rob us from our privileges.  We don’t want to share what we have, when the very land we “own” was taken by force from the indigenous peoples of America.  What is the Biblical perspective on our problem with illegal immigrants?

God hates this superiority complex that is very prevalent in America today. It is the mentality that “I am better than you and deserve this more than you.”  Do you want to know what God says about that???

“For Adonai your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, mighty and awesome God, who has no favorites and accepts no bribes. He secures justice for the orphan and the widow; he loves the foreigner, giving him food and clothing. Therefore you are to love the foreigner, since you were foreigners in the land of Egypt.”

We are to LOVE people who are new to our country.  We are to welcome them in, remembering our own history.  It has only been 131 years since our country stopped robbing Native Americans of their land. And we are still sitting on it today.  Can’t we at least humbly admit that our resources were not originally ours to begin with?  In light of that, we are called to show hospitality to the newcomers in our midst.

Whose Rights are at Stake?

In America today, many argue whether or not immigrants are contributing to our society.  But shouldn’t we stop for a minute and consider even their basic human rights?  It seems like the root issue is whether our privileged society is willing to share a little bit of what we have with our neighbors who are severely oppressed by poverty, corruption, and terrorists.  Yes, terrorists.  Isn’t that what the drug cartel is?

We must stop pushing the blame off onto others.  It is the drug trade that is ruining Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala.  What we have are REFUGEES trying to escape the oppression of narco-terrorists who have been sponsored by our very own American pocketbooks.

All the power is in the hands of these cartels because that is where the money is.  They have pushed out many business owners from Mexico by demanding them to start paying dividends to the cartels.  At least some of these business owners have the means to come to the US legally.

In order to legally immigrate to the US, you must either have an immediate family member who is a US citizen, have an employer in the US who is willing to sponsor you, or have over $500,000 to invest in creating jobs here.  This is unless you are counted as a refugee or political asylee.   By putting up a border wall without reforming these policies, we are not only demonstrating racism against our Latino neighbors, but also feeding an elitist mentality that says, “If you can’t afford the club membership, you don’t deserve to be here.”  And those who don’t have money to come legally to the US must still pay the cartels several thousand dollars to cross the river.  Yes, the drug-traffickers control who crosses the river, and if you don’t pay them, you might not make it across!

By putting up a border wall, we are quick to criminalize all who seek to set foot in our country.  “If you cross this line, you are illegal.”  When in fact we are ignoring the single driving factor that is bringing people to our borders.  What I am saying is that they are FLEEING for their lives to escape the horrific drug cartels which have taken over their countries.

I don’t think the issue we have is illegal immigrants.  I think it’s illegal drugs.  Either legalize the drugs or stop buying them, AMERICA.

Who Is to Blame?

We are the ones feeding the very terror that is driving refugees out of their homelands.  Every year, the US spends billions of dollars on imported drugs.  But we refuse to provide protection to the innocent victims of the drug trade.  Will we continue to fund the destruction of communities south of the border, while turning our backs on their desolation?  The only thing we are trying to protect ourselves from by the construction of a border wall, is the discomfort of looking at our neighbors’ suffering.  America would much rather look the other way.

When will we stop and ponder why so many people are risking their lives, their children’s lives, and everything they have, to get here?  It is because they are fleeing violence which has “generated levels of displacement not seen since the civil wars of the 1970s and 1980s. The Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras are among the world’s most violent, with cartels and gangs contributing to 31,219 recognized refugees and likely many more internally displaced people. Aid groups in the region have declared the situation a ‘humanitarian emergency’”.

We must stop viewing these refugees as infringing on our rights.  They are humans.  Fathers traveling with children, battered women seeking safety, young men hoping to escape the cartels.  The issue is not that of protecting American rights by building a better wall.  This is a human rights crisis right in our backyard.  And instead of extending a helping hand to our neighbors, all we can think about is blocking them from our view.

What are We Afraid of?

We are afraid of having people walk into our nation who are poor, who do not speak English, who need help.  We are afraid of the helpless.  Their need makes us uncomfortable.  We would rather push off the human suffering across the border as all part of God’s will instead of assuming our role in showing His compassion.  It makes us proud to think that we have worked hard for our wealth, and we refuse to give just anyone access to these same opportunities unless they are guaranteed to generate more income for us.  America has become a business.

Immigrants must speak our language and hold stock in our market.  Otherwise there is no room for the downtrodden of Latin America. “The U.S. response to the crisis has largely been one of increasing security at the border, detention and interdiction by Mexico, of minors and families seeking refuge in the United States. In 2015, Mexico intercepted and returned 200,000 Salvadorans, Guatemalans and Hondurans to the Northern Triangle, a region that suffered 17,500 violent deaths in that same year.”  If we had to go and drill for oil in the Northern Triangle, I am sure our attitude would suddenly change.  Perhaps then we would send in military, “nation-builders”, and humanitarian aid to help rebuild these countries which currently are of no priority to our government.

It was American millionaire Malcom Forbes who said, “You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.”  What I see here is our country spending millions of dollars to keep out Latin American refugees, to herd them together into deplorably inhumane detention centers, and to label them as criminals simply for seeking refuge in our space—which was not even ours to begin with.

Even the North Korean communist newspaper “Rodong Sinmun,” has called the US immigration policy inhumane—specifically the proposed border wall and deportation of immigrants. Their newspaper points out that we consider our nation to be the “Human Rights Judge” of the world, yet we criminalize thousands of refugees each year and place them in the path of further danger.

According to the North Korean government, “the U.S. should take responsibility and allow those refugees to enter the country, settle them down, and guarantee the minimum living condition.  Instead, they are insulting refugees as illegal immigrants and group of bandits, and banning them from entry.” Does it take the most oppressive regime in the world to point out to us that WE are hypocrites?

The Heart of the Problem

Aliens.  Foreigners.  Immigrants.  No matter the label, they are humans.  And they are our neighbors.   In ancient times, people would often migrate to find safe, sustainable places to live.  God actually commanded the Hebrew nation to show consideration towards migratory peoples living in their land—people who were not citizens, not part of their society or religion, needy individuals living in their midst.   “If a foreigner stays with you in your land, do not do him wrong. Rather, treat the foreigner staying with you like the native-born among you — you are to love him as yourself, for you were foreigners in the land of Egypt; I am Adonai your God.”  In fact, farmers were instructed to leave the corners of their field unharvested so that any foreigners or needy could go and gather wheat for themselves along with any unharvested grapes.

Not only did Jewish law dictate compassion towards immigrants, but Jesus summed it up when He said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  Of course we find it more convenient to wall ourselves off.  The same racism that fueled the fire of “Manifest Destiny” in the 19th century is still alive and well today.  We act as if white Americans are entitled to more privileges than our Latino neighbors. And how dare anyone get in the way of “our progress!”

We have a lot of things standing in the way of our progress as a society, but the influx of Latino immigrants is not one of them.  The problem with illegal immigrants is that we  are deeming them “illegal” when they are in fact refugees.

 

What are some ways you can think of to promote compassion towards refugees in our country?  Comment below and let us know!  Or maybe you disagree with my perspective?  Feel free to share your own research on this topic!  

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One thought on “The Problem with Illegal Immigrants from a Biblical Perspective

  1. Cora, another deeply thought out and very important post! Since you live next to the border, I think you bring especially helpful insight on this issue. I’m glad to hear you humanizing a group up people that are so quickly written off as criminals.

    Since I actually love this piece and agree with the points you made, here are some thoughts for how you could continue to write about this topic, or ways of addressing similar topics in the future!

    It seems like the target audience for the post includes those who are anti-immigration. Many people who are anti-immigration probably would not state that their stance is based on “We don’t want to look at helplessness” or “we want to horde our own resources” even though I think you’re correct on these sorts of underlying psychological motivations. In topics like this, I think it is also helpful to state and respond to reasons that most anti-immigration people would give for not wanting to allow immigrants across the border. Sort of like addressing the counter-arguments. In a similar vein of thought, perhaps address the Bible passages that could be used in a counter-argument like OT passages about taking land from foreigners and going to war, etc.

    Looking forward to your next post 🙂

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