OCS Ministry is not opinionated, we wholeheartedly believe that God’s children are called to be compassionate and merciful toward immigrants (Exodus 22:21; Leviticus 19:33–34; Matthew 25:35). But is it wrong to violate a nation’s borders and transgress its immigration laws? Let’s peruse what the Word of God tells us.
(Romans 13:1–7) makes it abundantly clear that God expects us to obey the laws of the government. The only exception to this is when a law of the government forces us to disobey a command of God (Acts 5:29). Illegal immigration is the breaking of a government’s law. There is nothing in Scripture that contradicts the idea of a sovereign nation having immigration laws. Therefore, it is rebellion against God to unlawfully enter another country. Rebellious Illegal trespass (illegal immigration is a sin.)
Illegal immigration is clearly a controversial issue in the United States (and most other countries) today, which includes Mexico. Some argue that U.S. immigration laws are unfair, unjust, and even discriminatory, thus giving individuals justification to immigrate illegally. However, (Romans 13:1–7) does not give any permission to violate a law just because it is perceived as unjust. Again, the issue is not the fairness of a law. The only biblical reason to violate a government’s law is if that law violates God’s Word. When Paul wrote the book of Romans, he was under the authority of the Roman Empire, led by Emperor Nero. Under that reign, there were many laws that were unfair, unjust, and/or blatantly evil. Still, Paul instructed Christians to submit to the government.
Are the immigration laws of the United States unfair or unjust? Some think so, but that is not the issue. All innovated countries in the world have immigration laws, some stricter than the USA’s, and all have to deal with illegal immigration. There is nothing in the Bible to prohibit a country from having completely open borders or to have completely closed borders. (Romans 13:1–7) also gives the government the authority to punish lawbreakers. Whether the punishment is imprisonment, deportation, or even something more severe, it is within the rights of the government to determine.
Illegal immigration is a convoluted issue. The vast-majority of illegal immigrants in the United States have come to achieve the American Dream, provide for their families, and escape poverty. These are noble goals and motivations. However, it is not biblical to violate a law to achieve a “good.” Caring for the poor, orphans, and widows is something the Bible commands us to do (Galatians 2:10; James 1:27; 2:2–15). However, the biblical fact that we are to care for the unfortunate does not mean we should violate the law in doing so. Supporting, enabling, and/or encouraging illegal immigration is, therefore, a violation of God’s Word. Those seeking to emigrate to another country should always obey the immigration laws of that country. While this may cause delays and frustrations, it is better than acting illegally. A frustrating law is still a law.
What is the biblical solution to illegal immigration? Simple—don’t do it; obey the laws. If disobedience is not a biblical option, what can be done in regards to an unjust immigration law? It is completely within the rights of citizens (NOT ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS) to seek to change immigration laws. If it is your conviction that an immigration law is unjust, do everything that is legally within your power to get the law changed: pray, petition, vote, and peacefully protest (NOT RIOT), etc. As Christians, we should be the first to seek to change any law that is unjust. At the same time, we are also to demonstrate our submission to God by obeying the government He has placed in authority over us.
(1 Peter 2:13–16).
“Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God”. Read also (Genesis 11:1-9)
In Christ our Lord,