Should Christians apologize for enforcing immigration laws?

John Bazemore AP A protester reacts during a rally protesting Georgia’s new immigration law on the Capitol steps Monday, June … Continued

John Bazemore


A protester reacts during a rally protesting Georgia’s new immigration law on the Capitol steps Monday, June 28, 2011 in Atlanta.

If the law goes into force, “all illegal aliens will leave Georgia.” In one federal judge’s view, that is a bad thing. Over the last week, I have done two interviews on Fox News explaining Georgia’s new immigration law and the ACLU’s lawsuit against it. This is an issue ripe for an “On Faith” discussion.

Although Georgia’s law has been compared to Arizona’s much-debated SB 1070, it is not an exact replica. Earlier this week, a federal judge issued an injunction against the most legally controversial parts of HB 87 which are: the authorization for police to investigate immigration status after a crime has been committed, the penalties for transporting and harboring illegal aliens, and the penalties for helping illegal aliens enter Georgia.

The injunction was not a surprise. The judge, U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Thrash , a Clinton appointee, made no secret about the problems he had with the law during oral argument.

Brant Sanderlin


Georgia State Rep. Matt Ramsey R- Peachtree City, speaks during the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2011. The committee heard comments from the public on House Bill 87 aimed at illegal immigration.

Ultimately, the Supreme Court will decide the constitutionality of these new laws. Arizona, Utah, Indiana, Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina have already passed tough new immigration laws that have or will be challenged in court. These state laws are all a result of the federal government’s admittedly “limited resources” to tackle the illegal immigration problem our country is facing.

Rather than focus on the constitutional issues, with the Supremacy Clause issue being the most prominent, let’s discuss the faith issues surrounding the question of how to handle illegal immigrants.

I will be the first to admit that many of the illegal aliens in the United States are here for personal economic reasons. While their purposes for being here may be far from nefarious, they are criminals who have knowingly violated the law.

Biblically, we are instructed to obey laws with only one exception: those that are in direct contradiction to God’s commands. The Bible does not provide governments with a model for our modern immigration challenges or prescribe border security policy.

Unfortunately, our current immigration laws are unenforceable nationally. While the federal government has the authority to deport illegal aliens, we know that it does not have the ability to do so effectively. Securing our borders is a top priority when it comes to defending our national sovereignty. Yet, securing the borders is not enough because there are millions of illegal aliens already here.

There are basically two options. One is to pass a law similar to one the Southern Baptist Convention has endorsed that creates a pathway to citizenship or legal residency for some illegal immigrants. The other option is to provide the resources and the authority, both to federal and state law enforcement officials, necessary to fully enforce existing laws. Either way, employers should be responsible for the role they play in illegal immigration, too. The federal government has created the E-Verify system and thankfully the Supreme Court recently held that states may mandate its use.

At the ACLJ, we often represent people seeking asylum or refugee status from all over the world. These individuals enter “by the gate” and voluntarily submit to the legal process. Their situation is often far different from economically-motivated illegal immigration.

There are some Christians who oppose tough immigration laws and seize on verses like this one to justify their position:

In my opinion, this verse has little bearing on illegal aliens. A “sojourner” is defined as a temporary resident . This implies intent to return home at some point, very different from many illegal aliens here for economic reasons who would be happy to stay in the United States in perpetuity. Legal immigrants deserve the treatment described in the verse, as do individuals with temporary worker visas.

Illegal aliens, whatever their intentions may be, must face the consequences of breaking the law. There is no reason for Christians to be apologetic when it comes to enforcing the law.

How do you think the government (federal and state) should handle the problem of illegal immigration? Does your faith guide you on immigration?

  • vickie105

    The real question is, would God please tell these mindless, overpopulating, baby machines that it is OK to use birth control?

  • adrianmartha10

    Malachi 3:5

    “So I will come near to you for judgment. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive aliens of justice, but do not fear me,” says the LORD Almighty.

  • beverett54

    Acts 22 verse 25 tells us that Paul felt that laws need to be respected when dealing with citizens. He used the citizen card to avoid being scourged. Doesn’t this at least give us pause pause when we hear someone say the illegal immigrant has the same rights as a citizen?

  • usapdx

    NO! What right does any human have to enter ANY nation UNLAWFULLY? All nations have borders, laws, and governments. The only nation in the world without people of unlawful entry or homeless is the VATICAN.

  • TopTurtle

    Sorcerers beware!

  • AmericaPieHole

    This is a full scale invasion of our country and everyone sits around talking about the rights of the invaders. The people coming across the southern border are lawless people that come from lawless countries and they will break any law that gets in their way. They are here to take everything they can. Our schools, hospitals and social services are stretched to point of breaking. Many Americans are out of work because of these foreign nationals. They have depressed the working wage to where American can not afford to take these jobs. Those that support and aid this invasion are no less then traders of this great nation. Wake up folks we are losing this country!

  • AmericaPieHole

    The correct reasoning to the illegal alien problem was best articulated early in 2005 by Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff. In one of his first interviews he was asked how would he stop illegal immigration his response was candid, “seek them out, apprehend them, prosecute them, confiscate their wealth and deport them”. He never repeated this statement because his boss GWB squashed all reasonable logic on this issue. If we start enforcing the law with just the elephants in the room the problem would soon go away and everyone would benefit except those that are now illegally scamming the system.

  • wmpowellfan

    When the Bible calls for Christians to be “meek,” that doesn’t mean “be a door mat for criminals who will take advantage of you.”

    Churches and other organizations that aid and abet illegal aliens are supporting the invasion of the United States, and they are making it possible for illegals to steal identities and commit other fraud, and to take jobs and resources from deserving citizens.

  • wmpowellfan

    From WAPO, July 1:

    “SAN DIEGO — Federal prosecutors want a Mexican man sentenced to life in prison for striking and killing a Border Patrol agent with a drug-laden Hummer as the officer laid spike strips in an attempt to puncture the vehicle’s tires.

    “…A jury deliberated only two hours in April before convicting [Jesus] Navarro of second-degree murder and conspiracy to distribute marijuana in the death of Agent Luis Aguilar at a campground in California’s Imperial Sand Dunes near the Arizona border in January 2008.”

    Those who encourage illegal immigration have blood on their hands.

  • Patriot12

    The real question should be – “shouldn;t the reconquistas like the one in the photograph and the millions of other foreign nationals who invade and abuse our national sovereignty and justice system, as well as the Catholic Church et al, LaRaza, CASA, the Democrats, Obama, Nappingtalano and the Chamber of Commerce apologize to and beg pardons from the American people for promoting illegal immigration and then…….pay the illegal alien fares for one way bus tickets home?”

    And,if the Catholic Ep[iscopal, Methodist and S. Baptist Churches continue to push unjust immoral political agendas like amnesty, they should lose their tax exempt status as violations of the Constitution and law.

  • Patriot12

    If Navarro was an American, he would have been sentenced to death.

  • TaxpayerCitizenMom

    Wouldn’t want to “deprive aliens of justice” so I think it’s time they started making amends for their crimes: They should be prosecuted for tax evasion for working for cash while they steal our jobs, return the $billions they obtained here illegally to U.S. taxpayers, serve time for identity theft, and for the hit and runs committed while driving without insurance, and so on.

  • ThomasBaum

    To those who consider themself Christian:

    Have you ever thought of the story of when Joseph was told to take Mary and Jesus and flee to Egypt?

    Do you think that he went to get the proper paperwork in the middle of the night?

    I do not know what the immigration laws were back then but this is something to think about?

  • YEAL9

    Should Christians apologize for enforcing immigration laws? No!! If we would stop hiring illegal immigrants and then we would not need any immigration laws!!

  • wmpowellfan

    Your comment contains the two words at the heart of the issue: “immigration laws.” America is a nation of laws.

    Immigration laws exist to protect our economy, security, culture and public health. We are no longer willing to tolerate those who flout these laws for their own selfish interests, and to the detriment of our nation.

  • YEAL9

    Many contemporary historical Jesus scholars after thorough review of the documentation have concluded that there was no angelic visit and no flight into Egypt.

  • david6

    Everyone who lives in the United States has ancestors who lived elsewhere and ancestors who immigrated. You have no idea if the person in the photo is a citizen, yet you let your reactionary bigotry go full steam ahead.

    The GOP talks a good game about immigration, but they are the ones who created the problem under Ronald Reagan and they refuse to fix it. They have too many employers who like having undocumented workers they can exploit.

  • david6

    The GOP wants millions of undocumented workers to be living in the United States. They refuse to make changes in the law because employers benefit from being able to exploit those who work here illegally. As long as the GOP refuses to lay blame at unscrupulous employers and refuses to punish them, there will be no fix.

  • david6

    Talk to the GOP — they want these people here.

  • toneme

    How is enforcing a law legal?

  • toneme

    When I travel legally to another country, I must obey their law! Please explain to me why illegals in USA are exempted?