IMMIGRATION, DREAMERS, AND THE BIBLE
DOES THE BIBLE HAVE AN IMMIGRATION POLICY? IS PRESIDENT TRUMP RIGHT ON IMMIGRATION? August 9, 2019
While limited, the Bible had a clear immigration
policy. First, there was to be no setting immigrants
(or as the Bible calls them, strangers, aliens,
or sojourners) apart from society. Everyone
had to follow the same laws. This was a key
policy point. Numbers 15:16 (Old Testament)
– “There is to be one law and one ordinance for you and for the alien who sojourns with you.” Same in Numbers 9:14. Old Testament law required aliens to also worship God just like the Jews as we see in Exodus 12:49. So There was no welfare in Bible times. But Old Testament law required farmers and vineyard owners to leave a little left behind of the harvest. That way widows, orphans, and aliens could get that to live on. So they still worked for their food. You see that in Lev. 19:9, 10; “Now when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest... you shall leave them for the needy and for the stranger. … “ Same in Ruth 2:2,3 and other passages. So since there was no welfare or certainly no educational credits, nothing in the Bible would support benefits for Dreamers in America.
Aliens got the same legal protection under the law as the Jews. They were not to be treated cruelly.
There was nothing to help them assimilate into the Jewish culture such as public schools or citizenship classes. If they wanted to get a start in the new land of Israel they had to learn the language if needed and live like the Jews.
Here's a major policy point: aliens were
in effect required to become Jews. God
didn't let the Jews bring other religions
into Israel. They would have different gods.
Other religions would not honor Him who
gave Israel to the Jews and would introduce
idolatry into the land.
In many, many passages God clearly says he hates
idolatry. In fact, He still does. Deuteronomy
16:16 (the Old Testament) said all the men,
wherever they were in Israel, had to attend three big feasts every year: “Three times in a year all your males shall appear before the LORD your God in the place which He chooses, at the Feast of Unleavened Bread and at the Feast of Weeks and at the Feast of Booths, and they shall not appear before the LORD empty-handed.” So everybody, native Jews and immigrants alike, had to bring a choice animal or sample of fruit or grain as a sacrifice to the national temple.
Everyone was also required to keep the Sabbath. That means no one could work on Sundays. Everybody rested. Exodus 20:10.
They could not become king: Deut. 17:15 – “... you shall surely set a king over you whom the Lord your God chooses, one from among your countrymen you shall set as king over yourselves; you may not put a foreigner over yourselves who is not your countryman.” Descendants of immigrants could assume authority. But not those of the first generation.
Immigrants or foreigners could become permanent slaves: Leviticus 25:46 (Old Testament). But Hebrew slaves were freed every seven years and ALL slaves were freed every 50 years in the Year of Jubilee.
SO TO SUM UP THE BIBLE'S IMMIGRATION POLICY:
1. Aliens, or immigrants, were required to assimilate into society by their own efforts, 2. they followed the same religion, and 3. they got equal protection under the law. But they didn't get any welfare. But then there was no welfare for anyone. Thus Israel was a pretty homogeneous, united society. They were not all the same race but they followed the same values, laws, and religion. As a foreigner, outsider, or alien the main thing wasn't your legal status. It was whether you were going to become an obedient Jew. Immigrants, then, got no special treatment or benefits. Like everyone else they earned whatever they got and by the same rules.
Israel was unique among ancient nations for several reasons. Its treatment of imigrants was just one example. By following Biblical sanitation and health codes, public health was better than that of surrounding countries. Prohibiting work on Sundays, or the Sabbath, improved mental health by giving people and even animals rest. Slavery of both Jews and aliens was regulated. In fact, Lev. 25:10 said that slaves were to be freed every 50 years in what was called the Jubilee. Women had rights of divorce and property ownership. Other things made Israel different; these are just a few ways. When Israel followed God many things went better for them.