It's official, Trump's asylum 'crisis' is actually based on legal immigration.
Immigration was once basically open to anyone:
- then, limits were written into law and administered by the Department of Labor
- next administration was moved to the Justice Department
- most recently, after 9-11, immigration enforcement was moved to the Department of Homeland Security.
Immigration has always been based on the same stories—hardworking ambitious people pulling up stakes for new opportunities and/or people fleeing danger and invigorating new communities when they arrive.
What's changed is that over many years political leaders have made this behavior appear dangerous, corrupt, and illegal—even on the occasions when it is actually totally legal according to our laws. This criminalization of immigration is so pervasive that the word "illegal" is now used as racial slur against people regardless of where they were born—that's crazy.
Unfair harsh treatment of immigrants isn't a new temptation, it's a political power grab that's been refined over centuries and the Gospel intends to reverse it. When Israel was tempted to take advantage of and stigmatize newcomers God warned them to remember that they too were once aliens. The New Testament is full of encouragement to practice hospitality, it's called philoxenia in Greek which literally means love the stranger, the opposite of xenophobia. Immigration is so close to God's heart that scripture uses it as an illustration to reflect our relationship with God.
As God's word changes hearts it has the power to literally and metaphorically free people from injustice and oppression. As the Holy Spirit works in the heart's of God's people I would love to see more of us be a light and rise above this madness by:
- not caving to pressure to call people "illegals"
- remembering their own family's immigration story
- talking about the many ways that immigrants are a blessing.