Friday, February 11, 2011

Immigration Reform: Justice, Mercy and Humility

Newt Gingrich and Howard Dean met at George Washington University on Tuesday, February 2nd for a debate. What seems to be a constant source of conflict for Americans was not an exception for these political figures: immigration reform. While there was talk on both sides of secure borders, immigration reform looked very different on both sides of this debate.

While many important topics were not spoken to, including reforming the process to acquire visas, policing work visas, adjusting immigration laws to reflect the current economy, and the process for political asylum, there is a line drawn between two political parties, which often define how Americans view issues such as immigration reform. While one side argues the issues of safety and job security, the other argues freedom should be accessible to all. What if there is a moderate position that doesn’t include political affiliation? What if there is a side defined by the teachings of a crazy God, who put aside all things to draw near the poor, needy, and broken? While I will not define this side, I do believe that there are clear expectations in scripture applicable to this issue.

Micah 6:8 gives a clear summary of the life God called his people to live throughout the Old Testament: …to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with our God. God is concerned about justice. He longs for people to be reconciled to one another, which comes through acting justly. For example, Leviticus 19 talks about the laws that God desired to share with the people, which covered commands to leave food for the poor and foreigners, to not rob your neighbor, to pay a fair wage, and to not pervert justice or show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great. It is clear that God desires us to see people as just that, people. To judge people, based upon their immigration status, not who they, is an example of injustice. God wants us to help the poor, marginalized and weary who flee to our country. Throughout history, the law has been important to God, so this does not mean we break the law, but that we redefine the law to reflect justice.

We must love mercy. God showed the greatest favor towards the alienated by sending Christ, who gave all people access to eternal citizenship through His act of mercy. Can we allow those who have broken the law, out of necessity, a second chance? Can we make it easier for people to gain citizenship, even if it means forgiving a legal offense? This is something to think about. To walk humbly with our God… humility calls us to look at ourselves clearly. Humility calls us to see and admit our sinfulness and imperfection. Walking in humility calls us to abandon pride and look at others without holding yourself (the “better” self) as the standard. Honestly, if we were in the shoes of an illegal immigrant desperately fleeing to America to escape genocide in Sudan or prostitution rings in Asia, would we wait for the legal process to ensue? Humility calls us to see our own imperfections, to admit that we do not always follow the law completely ourselves. Let’s take time to meditate and reconsider this issue from the eyes of God with justice, mercy and humility.What to explore this issue more? Check out

Immigration Reform: Justice, Mercy and Humility

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