A Call for a Christlike Immigration Policy

For over a century, at the base of the Statue of Liberty, we have proudly exhibited the historic principle upon which we have become who we are: 

“Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me…”

As a nation, we are now implementing a new immigration policy that flies in the face of that historic principle.  The new policy is aimed at screening out the less fortunate and only welcoming the healthier, wealthier, higher educated, higher skilled, and those from the “right” countries.

In a twisted application of President Kennedy’s revered words, the new policy asks not what we can do for others but asks what others can do for us.  In short, the new policy is a self-seeking, selfish policy of prioritizing our own needs while ignoring the needs of those around us.

Furthermore, for those interested in the idea of the United States being a nation with a foundation of Christian values and principles, this new policy not only flies in the face of our historical principle as stated above but also flies in the face of Jesus’ teaching.  Consider Jesus’ words in these two passages:

 “Then Jesus said to his host, ‘When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid.  But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind,and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.’” (Luke 14:12-14, NIV)

 “And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.  Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”  (Luke 6:33-36, NIV)

In these passages, Jesus was concerned about more than financial planning or dinner parties.  Jesus was giving us a life principle:  As his followers, we should love—and show it through kindness and generosity— to those unable or even unwilling (Jesus spoke of our “enemies”) to reciprocate.  As he himself summed it up, he was teaching us to, “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” 

The Apostle Paul reiterated and affirmed this principle in Philippians 2:3-4, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

While that might sound ideal and look good on paper, isn’t it risky?  Dangerous? Unsafe? Costly? 

Yes, it is risky, dangerous, unsafe, and costly.  Jesus’ life led to his death and the truth is, living like him is risky and costly.  As Jesus said, “Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.” (Matthew 10:38)  And he repeated the principle, “Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.’” (Matthew 16:24)

The question we need to cerebrate (“think deeply, ponder, turn over in your mind”), and pray about, is this: Is our position on this issue being formed more by our own logic and natural desire for comfort and security or by the teachings and example of Jesus?

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