In past tirades, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called out “all people of faith in our country” hypocrites for not demanding a stop to immigration policy enforcement. Pelosi quoting the Bible and chastised people of faith for not calling for a path to citizenship for DACA recipients. She also critiqued “people of faith” for not demanding an end to the separation of children from families of illegal immigrants during the prosecution of adults.
However, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has a habit of quoting a line that she says is in the Bible but does not, in fact, appear anywhere in the holy book. “To minister to the needs of God’s creation is an act of worship. To ignore those needs is to dishonor the God who made us,” Pelosi often says. Slate found that the California Democrat has delivered the line 11 times between 2002 and 2018 on the Congressional Record.
In any case, the question is, does God support open borders?
What are some Biblical arguments for open borders? Here are a few often-cited:
- Jesus commanded us to “love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:31) And in the story of the good Samaritan, Jesus made it clear that our “neighbor” was anyone we came in contact with who had a need — not just legalized citizens.
- The “stranger” was to be treated with compassion. “You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you once were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Ex. 22:21). They were to remember that they too were once aliens in a foreign land, and thus they were to treat strangers with dignity and compassion.
- Jesus tells his disciples about the necessity of “welcoming the stranger” (Matt 25:35-40) – this was the righteous response to the tragedy of a fellow human being.
- The story of God’s people is definitely one of movement. And perhaps the most famous refugee of them all was Jesus. In what is frequently a forgotten side note in his story, Jesus and his family were forced to flee to Egypt to avoid the infant massacres of King Herod.
- Other arguments hinge on expanding the idea that Jesus wants to expand the Church’s influence over the entire world – Mark 16:15 – “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.” Presumably, one could not do this effectively without open borders.
What are some Biblical arguments for borders? Here are a few often-cited:
- God establishes boundaries of the nation and defends them – here are 7 Biblical verses that talk of this.
- God admonishes his followers to not be unequally yoked to people on a merit basis (same beliefs) – here are 15 Biblical verses that talk of this.
- God instructs his followers to obey the laws of the land (this would include immigration law) where one lives – here are 35 Biblical verses that talk of this.
But one of the most powerful arguments for borders was exemplified in the story of the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve. Picking up the story in Genesis 3:22-24:
22 And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and also take from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” 23 So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. 24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.
In other words, Adam, or “man” in general (perhaps metaphorically or literately – the principle is the same), did not want to take the empirical truths from God directly; rather, he wanted to decide the truth for himself. Hence, God places a wall (better than the Trump wall) to not allow “man” into his kingdom. How a “man” can get into his kingdom is another story. So no, God does NOT have an open border policy to get into his kingdom. The principle of borders is apparent in God’s thinking.
So which argument is right?
When the topic of illegal immigration comes up with some conservatives in right-wing politics, far too often, we hear language that is derogatory toward these folks that go far beyond just the legalities of immigration. For example; Illegals are taking jobs, they cost too much money, they are not like me, … yes, even language that says they are stinky and of low class.
Are these really good arguments to be against illegal immigration? Is it all about … me me me? If God is against illegal immigration, is this the kind of language he would use? It gives the open borders folks ammunition to demonstrate that the legal immigration folks a narrative of merely being selfish and self-serving – caring little for our fellow “man.”
Is it possible that both these arguments are true if properly set within a good understanding and are not necessarily mutually exclusive?
Consider the following:
- Yes, we are our brother’s keeper – see many Biblical references here. The “stranger” is to be treated with compassion.
- However, there is nothing that says God would endorse illegalities. Things must be done lawfully and in order (see here 52 verses on order). A lawful society is a peaceful society – to do otherwise will only sow chaos and harm for all concerned – 1 Corinthians 14:33: “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace …”
- It is also clear that God would want to protect the “flock” (or a set of peoples or nations) from external nefarious elements to ensure the “flock” can flourish – see Biblical references here.
- But what of the stranger in need? To ensure the stranger integrates well into the “flock” in the event they would migrate, iron sharpens iron – Proverbs 27:17. See here 36 more Biblical references on individual improvement. In other words, allowing the “stranger” to continue with bad behavior does not help the “stranger.” Much of the illegal immigration that occurs today only serves to encourage the sending migrants’ poor behavior and the countries they come from – e.g., human trafficking, crime, and 3rd world countries not dealing with their bad governance.
Perhaps Nancy Pelosi simply does not understand the nuanced principles concerning the migration of peoples among nations. Seeing only one side of this issue will only serve to harm more people in the end – both sending and receiving countries. But, unfortunately, Nancy most likely really doesn’t care, as migrants are mere pawns in her political narrative to achieve her own selfish political goals.
Perhaps conservatives as well need to understand these nuanced principles to have better arguments against open borders and illegal immigration policies. Let us know your thoughts on these arguments in the comment section below.