By Lee Williams @Lee_Wms
The U.S. border crisis could be the greatest missed opportunity for humanitarianism in the history of the United States.
Yes, you read that right: the greatest missed opportunity.
There have been many perspectives surrounding the border crisis, however the topic of humanitarianism has been quieted among protests and political jargon. As a Christian, I’d like to examine the immigration crisis through the lens of biblical scripture. The Bible clearly indicates that God charges civil authorities with maintaining order, protecting its citizens, and punishing wrongdoers. For example, Romans 13:1-3 says,
“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.”
Only a fraction of the undocumented immigrants will receive asylum, so ultimately most of them will be deported. However, the Bible also has some interesting passages regarding humanitarianism:
“When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.” – Leviticus 19:33-34
“You shall not wrong a sojourner or oppress him, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.” – Exodus 22:21
It does not take a political genius to see that our immigration policies require a massive overhaul, along with a fresh humanitarian focus on this topic. As our country debate the politics of this issue, hundreds of men, women, and children (many of them completely alone), are arriving each day to detainment centers, where they face cramped, prison-like conditions for up to a year (or more) as they wait for their court date.
Simply, “deport them all back to their own country!” isn’t the answer. We would, in effect, be sending the majority of these children to certain death. If poverty and crime do not claim them, then many of the children are at the mercy of drug cartels who kidnap them in order to profit from them on the international black market, usually from organ trade and sex-trafficking, or illegal smuggling into the U.S. by “coyotes”, where they’ll work as long-term indentured servants on plantations around the country.
We are currently reaping the results of lackluster immigration policies and an inability to act on prevention.This situation has proven that no matter how much we ignore the problem, it will only continue to become a bigger issue over time. Something must be done to fundamentally change the policies and the hearts of these people, even if they must be eventually deported.
The church has an amazing opportunity to show the love of Christ to these disadvantaged people once they enter our magnificent country, to feed them, clothe them, and to plant seeds of hope and compassion within their hearts.
For Christians, I must ask this: Wasn’t our savior and his parents once migrants in a foreign land, escaping certain death? Weren’t the Hebrew people taken in by the Egyptians during a time of prominence and fellowship?
Service from the church, and fellow religious institutions and congregations, could be the leaders in creating a cultural change in America in how these undocumented immigrants are perceived and treated. We could become those forefront civic leaders who inspire government to act when they have ignored.
Regardless of public opinion, there is great love within this country… and I pray for a day that our great love outshines our great wealth. We have been much too blessed to hoard our great influence.
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If you would like to contribute to the humanitarian response towards children being affected by the border crisis, please see these links: