Sunday, April 25, 2010

Leviticus 19: The Bible, Immigration, and "the Alien"

On Friday, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer (R) signed into law the nation's most restrictive immigration legislation. (The New York Times's coverage begins here.) Under the new law, immigrants must always carry correct documentation, and law enforcement agents will have broad powers to detain those suspected of being in the country illegally (those who look Mexican?). It also allows citizens to sue government agencies if they feel immigration laws are not being enforced.

While illegal immigration is a pressing challenge for the nation, the potential ramifications of the Arizona law are frightening. Though Brewer promises scrupulous new training for Arizona police, it is hard to believe that the legislation won't result in widespread profiling and new brands of harassment.

Now, I don't mean to get too political in this blog--this is primarily a space for thinking about the Bible. That being said, I feel it necessary to remind anyone who will listen what the Torah says about immigrants:

"When an alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God" (Leviticus 19:33-34).

We have all been immigrants and strangers, write the authors of Leviticus. We should then treat new immigrants and strangers not just with tolerance, but with "love." (Rabbi Denise Eger expands on the notion very effectively in a recent post to her blog.) Here, the Torah urges basic adherence to the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. By contrast, Arizona's new legislation treats immigrants as if they are and always will be "others." A sad precedent.


  1. Gob Bless You, this is what I'm saying too.-

  2. Amen to that! Immigrants may have broken man made laws but here the gov't of Arizona is breaking God's law!!

  3. For a long time, Conservatives have pretended to be Christians, but this immigration issue is showing them for what they really are.

    Jan Brewer's new law stands in direct opposition to the Word of God, and is every bit as Satanic as Roe Vs. Wade.

  4. Remember that the israelites were invited by pharaoh to dwell in Egypt that is as legal as it can get. Genesis 45:17-18


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