One of the biggest news stories of the summer broke on July 29th with the temporary injunction set down by U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton, stopping several measures in an immigration bill signed into law by Governor Jan Brewer and set to go into effect Thursday. Effectively, this injunction prohibits law enforcement from more easily detecting those who are in this country illegally.
For many, this is an issue they cannot divorce from politics or race. But, how should a Christian view the matter of illegal immigration? That is a different question than whether or not we should embrace those who seek to lawfully enter our nation from other nations around the world. Bible truth is truth, recognizing no political party of skin color. To ask how a Christian views any matter is also to ask what the Bible may have to say about it or issues involved with it. While there is no verse that explicitly deals with illegal immigration, there are biblical principles to consider.
Lying is sinful. There are no situations that make lying OK. Paul urged the Ephesians to lay aside falsehood and speak truth (Eph. 4:25). The end for liars is most undesirable (Rev. 21:8). If one claims something to an employer, landlord, or law enforcement officer that is not true, that one is lying. How often do those hiring and harboring illegal immigrants knowingly lie or deceive?
Disobeying a nation’s laws is disobeying God. Romans 13:1-4 says, “Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.” Many people go through the proper channels for applying for citizenship. Even if a nation is lax in enforcing its laws, a Christian will not knowingly subvert the governing authorities in either harboring illegal immigrants or attempting to be in a nation illegally. A Christian should be averse to being a party to anything rightly labeled “illegal.”
One is to submit to every human, governmental institution (1 Pet. 2:13ff). Obviously, the only exception is if that entity seeks to get us to disobey the Lord’s commands (cf. Acts 5:27-29). Otherwise, we must submit to them and in so doing we are “doing right” (1 Pet. 2:14-15).
I would never want to defend or advocate something that, objectively viewed, is termed “illegal.” Perhaps the desire of some to rationalize on this issue is a product of a greater problem our culture has with law and authority. The child of God, however, will be reminded “to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men” (Titus 3:1-2).