I cannot suggest what that should mean for you. One cannot legislate love. I can only remind you that in Scripture it is accepted without controversy or question: God loves the stranger, the “ger,” and commands us to do likewise.
Perhaps that invites us to consider three possibilities for a just immigration policy:
- To advocate for border policies that are effective against illegal migration and that allow authorities to carry out the critical task of identifying and preventing terrorists and dangerous criminals from entering the U.S. It is entirely reasonable to advocate for an immigration policy that ensures that our borders are secure.
- To advocate for border policies that ensure the humane and compassionate treatment of the “ger,” consistent with American humanitarian values, and recognize that the measure of a society is in how it treats the most vulnerable – especially women and children. This implies a repudiation of unnecessarily harsh or cruel measures of deterrence, including the separation of families and detention measures that led to the dehumanization of detainees. It is entirely reasonable to advocate for an immigration policy that ensures compassionate and humane treatment of all persons.
- To advocate for policies that create opportunities for hardworking undocumented immigrants who are contributing to our country to come out of the shadows,regularize their status upon satisfaction of reasonable criteria and, over time, pursue options to become legal residents or citizens. The majority of Americans today support a path to residency or citizenship for law-abiding undocumented immigrants.
What I am proposing is, in the words of Shakespeare, justice seasoned with mercy. And it is based on three simple axioms: 1) We are all originally from somewhere else – we were once the “ger”; 2) If we do not learn from our past we are destined to repeat it, and so we start with acknowledging what is hateful, cruel, or immoral, and refusing to do it; and 3) God loves the stranger and commands us to do likewise.
Justice seasoned with mercy.
From “A House Divided: Engaging the Issues through the Politics of Compassion” by Mark Feldmeir – Chalice Press