Immigration in the Scripture

Part of the Micah Corps internship is linking faith with social justice, so we frequently use scripture in our presentations. Using it allows us to connect with our own faiths and the faiths of the people we speak to. This summer I am working with immigration and a verse we use in most of our presentations is Deuteronomy 10:19. The New International Version reads, “And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.” This version of the scripture seems fairly straightforward. As Americans it applies in a particularly strong way, since all but about 2% of us1 have an immigrant history. We were once new to this country just like current immigrants are today.

Immigrants Arriving at Ellis Island in 1902
Immigrants Arriving at Ellis Island in 1902

The scripture asks us not just to accept these foreigners, but to love them as we would our own. So what does it mean to love one another the way the scripture asks? I think the best definition comes from 1 John 3:16-18. “16This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 17If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 18Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.”

To love the foreigner with actions and truth there are a number of things you can do. Call your representatives and ask for compassionate immigration reform, tell them you support the expansion of DACA2 to include parents, or say that you want legislation that keeps immigrant families together in safety. To love the foreigner in truth, remember that you too were a foreigner either here or in Egypt. Truthfully, you and the foreigner are alike for the very reason we set one another apart. Instead of thinking of the ‘them’ and ‘us,’ think of the ‘we’ that exists in the family of Christ.

– Ella Sherman

For more information on DACA, check out the second link below.

1 1.4% of the American population is Native American, Native Alaskan, Native Hawaiian and Native Pacific Islander combined.

2 What is DACA?

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