Letter to the Editor: Calling for Immigration Justice

The following is a letter I submitted to the editor of my local paper. I live in a very rural part of Kentucky, one of the most staunchly conservative areas in the country. Lately I’ve seen a plethora of social media posts calling out Christians who support the current administration's escalation of anti-immigrant policies, but it occurred to me that many Christians where I live aren’t being exposed to that message.

So I decided to write a letter to the editor of my local paper. My community is heavily Evangelical and typically nativist. This letter represents an attempt to communicate with people who hold different beliefs than my own, and sway them toward the side of justice. I chose to also share it with you here as a chance to reflect on how I and we communicate with those who oppose justice and peace when we hope to persuade them.

To the Editor:

The immigration policies pursued by the Trump administration should be condemned by Christians if they want to truly live in accordance with the Bible.

The Old Testament abounds with calls to love the foreigner in our midst, to provide shelter and hospitality. Exodus 22:21 commands “Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner, for you were foreigners in Egypt.” This call is echoed dozens of times in the text. We are called not to strip our vineyards bare so the alien among us may be provided for. (Lev. 19:10) We are called to share the bounty of our nation with those who come here fleeing hardship.

It is difficult to imagine Jesus taking a pregnant mother away from her children, or sending an asylum-seeking journalist to his death, or sending domestic violence survivors back into the arms of their abusers. Christians ought to be appalled by the recent targeting of pregnant women, a particularly vulnerable demographic. Many women in such circumstances were victims of sexual assault along their journey and should qualify for asylum. How are these policies not depriving aliens of justice? (Deut. 24:17)

Priests installing water fountains in the desert for migrants are doing the Lord’s work. People calling for mass deportations and building walls are not. If you call yourself a Christian, you must be consistent in your beliefs. Otherwise you might find yourself sitting at the left hand of the Lord hearing the words, “I was an immigrant, and you deported me.”

-Beth Mckenney

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