Thursday, July 24, 2014

Treating all Immigrants with Dignity (by Steve C. Halbrook)

While nations have a duty to secure their borders, this does not give them a right to mistreat immigrantswhether they are illegal or not:
You shall not wrong a sojourner or oppress him, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt. (Exodus 22:21)
As being made in God's image, immigrants are to be treated with the utmost dignity. One should not react to our immigration crisis with hatred, as racists and extreme nationalists are prone to do. Neither should immigrants be met with vigilantism. There should be compassion for immigrants who seek refuge from a hard life or persecution. Christians should share the Gospel with them.

A nation should protect its borders, but it should not dehumanize illegal immigrants in the process; neither should it unjustly assume that all illegal immigrants are violent criminals just because some are. (Would we, after all, assume all Americans are violent criminals just because some are?)

While some might take the statement "You shall not wrong a sojourner or oppress him" to mean that barring any immigrant from entering a nation is oppressive, I don't see how that follows. Someone trying to illegally find a way to cross a nation's border is not yet a sojourner in the landand even the sojourner within the land is not above the law, so that arresting him doesn't necessarily amount to oppression. 

However, even in a scenario where an illegal immigrant is arrested and deported, he should be treated as kindly and as gently as possible.


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