1 year, 4 months ago
Title 8, Section 1182 of the U.S. Code provides in relevant part:
Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.
Bryan Fischer adds the following very informative analysis.
The Constitution gives Congress unilateral authority over the issue of immigration and citizenship in Article I, Section 8: “The Congress shall have Power … to establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization.” In Article I, Section 9 we find that until 1808 the individual States had authority to decide which persons were “proper to admit.” After 1808, deciding who was eligible for immigration into the United States was the exclusive province of the central government. Congress has unilateral authority to decide who it is “proper to admit” to the United States, and there are no limitations on that authority.
There is no constitutional right, of course, to immigrate to the United States. It is a privilege, not a right. And we the people have given to Congress authority to set parameters for immigration for our protection, our cultural unity, and our national security.
This is all well and good, but Bryan gets to the real meat of the issue when he addresses the Biblical data.
For those of us who are evangelicals, there is a second question, which is of greater importance than the first. We not only want to know if an immigration ban is constitutional, we want to know if it is biblical. Did God himself ever impose such an immigration ban?
The answer is yes. With the fledgling nation on the edge of the Promised Land, God instituted a permanent ban (“forever”) on immigration into Israel from two nations, Ammon and Moab.
“No Ammonite or Moabite may enter the assembly of the LORD. Even to the tenth generation, none of them may enter the assembly of the LORD forever.” ~ Deut. 23:3 (ESV)
This was not an arbitrary ban. It was not imposed on either the nations of Edom or Egypt, as Deut. 23:7 makes clear. There were good common sense reasons for God’s ban on the Ammonites and Moabites. “They did not meet you with bread and with water on the way, when you came out of Egypt … and they hired against you Balaam the son of Beor … to curse you” (Deut. 23:4).
Ammonites and Moabites were not allowed to immigrate because of their historic animosity toward the people of God and their commitment to weaken them and defeat them. Where such conditions exist today, a similar ban on foreign immigration would have biblical precedent.
Now obviously exceptions could be made and were made on a limited basis. Ruth, for instance, was allowed to immigrate into Israel from Moab. Ruth rejected the ancient hostility of her people toward Israel and embraced its culture and its God. “Your people shall be my people, and your God my God” (Ruth 1:17). In other words, she happily assimilated in every way, included in religious matters, to her newly adopted nation.
She was not only welcomed, but found a place in the line of descent that led to the birth of the Savior of the world.
The bottom line: a ban on immigration from nations which have demonstrated abiding hostility toward the United States is both constitutionally and biblically permissible.
This is effective medicine. Usually when so-called Christians talk about immigration, they wax emotional on the need for us to care for people. State policy and security are the last thing on their minds when they say things like that.
I often hear Leviticus 19:34 cited – “The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt; I am the LORD your God,” (NASB). Folks often do this to shame Christians into accepting open borders.
But as the Biblical data above shows, shaming people isn’t on the list of seminary-approved Biblical hermeneutical techniques. One way to tell that the emotional Christian isn’t thinking through this issue is that she latches onto the problem of the moment, rather than seeing the broader implications of her position. For example, she may want to take in Syrian immigrants, but she doesn’t give poor Chinese equal numbers, of Kenyans, or Ethiopians (who are more likely to be Christian), or the poor in Bangladesh.
The U.S. can’t take in everyone, and the logical end of the emotional position that wants to take them in is not only the destruction of what wealth remains within family structure in America, it is the destruction of the social, cultural and religious heritage of the country. There isn’t enough wealth to go around – there isn’t even enough wealth to pay our own bills. The root problem here is that the Church has no business declaring state policy concerning immigration. The province of the church is the administration of grace, while the province of the state is the administration of justice. Confusing the two means the state is involved in redistribution of wealth, and the Church is trying to influence policy concerning national security.
Each of these institutions should mind their own business, and in the case of the state, that means the country’s policy has no business considering graciousness, kindness or love when it comes to immigration. As Clint Eastwood said, “A man’s got to know his limitations.”