Jesus and the Torah Teach about Immigration

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Jesus said, “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.  For. . .  I was a stranger and you did not invite me in. . .”  (Matt 25/41 & 43)

The Torah says:  “Do not deprive the foreigner or the fatherless of justice, or take the cloak of the widow as a pledge.  Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you from there. That is why I command you to do this.

“When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.  When you beat the olives from your trees, do not go over the branches a second time. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow.  When you harvest the grapes in your vineyard, do not go over the vines again. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow. Remember that you were slaves in Egypt. That is why I command you to do this.”   (Deut 24/17–22)

People are debating about our immigration policy.  Many of the most vocal voices are those of U.S. Christians who believe that “illegal immigrants” should be rounded up and deported.  No human being is illegal to the God of Christianity.  More specifically, the stranger, the foreigner, is someone God, in both Covenants, commands us to treat with justice and generosity.  My prayer for the conversion of those Christians whose desired treatment of the foreigner, the stranger, is based on racial discrimination, fear, and ignorance:  Lord, replace their stony hearts with hearts of flesh. “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”  (Ezek 36/26)

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