Now is the time to harness Christian support for immigration justice and meet the increasingly desperate need at the U.S. and Mexico border.
Since October, 52,000 unaccompanied children from Central America — many fleeing violence and poverty — have arrived at the border. The U.S. system for processing those seeking asylum is overwhelmed; it’s prepared to handle 8,000 at most.
Biblical support for welcome of immigrants is easy to find. Variations of “love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt” (Deut. 10:19) are repeated throughout the Pentateuch. It’s as if God is speaking directly to the U.S., a nation founded by those who sojourned here for the promise of a better life.
The Bible commands love for all people — whether stranger, neighbor, immigrant, refugee or friend.
It’s easy to see why immigration justice has united Christians, as evangelical writer and political activist Jim Wallis explained on the podcast, The Good Fight.
“If you talk to Republicans, Democrats, the White House, business allies and law enforcement, they’ll tell you when immigration reform passes . . . the faith community will have been the key leveraging force in that broader coalition,” he said.
That force is apparent now as the wider Christian church publicly decries the inhumanity of sending God’s children back to danger. Congregations — from Southern Baptists to Catholics, Lutherans, Unitarians and Quakers — are praying together and offering their resources to migrant children.
Mennonite Central Committee has pledged $30,000 to help ensure migrants are treated humanely (see page 11), prompted especially by Matt. 18:5, “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.”
Anabaptist and other Christian church leaders are blogging, giving interviews and speaking out with reference to Matt. 25:35.
“For I was hungry and you gave me food,” Jesus said. “I was a stranger and you welcomed me in.” Those coming to the U.S. are all strangers to us for now, and they are hungry, thirsty and they need clothes.
Working together, Christians have the ability to influence policy makers as well as welcome those in need. Let’s make sure the Anabaptist witness is firmly in place, urging action taken with Jesus in mind.