I have heard many Christians say that they are voting for Donald Trump because they like his immigration policy, and I've just dismissed these claims as examples of ignorance in the church. More recently, however, I've heard several Christian leaders claim that Trump's immigration plan is biblical, and this really caught my attention. This is not some generic assertion of favor toward vague goals. This is a specific claim that the written policy of Donald Trump can be measured against the written Word of God and proven to be good. With that in mind, let's take a few moments to compare what Donald Trump has written about immigration with what God has written about immigration.
Trump's immigration plan is split into three sections:
1) Make Mexico Pay for the Wall
2) Defend the Laws and Constitution of the United States
3) Put American Workers First
In the first section, Trump provides this explanation for how he will make Mexico pay for us to build a wall along our southern border:
"Mexico must pay for the wall and, until they do, the United States will, among other things: impound all remittance payments derived from illegal wages; increase fees on all temporary visas issued to Mexican CEOs and diplomats (and if necessary cancel them); increase fees on all border crossing cards – of which we issue about 1 million to Mexican nationals each year (a major source of visa overstays); increase fees on all NAFTA worker visas from Mexico (another major source of overstays); and increase fees at ports of entry to the United States from Mexico [Tariffs and foreign aid cuts are also options]. We will not be taken advantage of anymore."
Trump's plan is to use the threat of economic oppression to force Mexico to pay for something that they neither want nor need. If Trump were to attempt this exact same ploy against an individual American citizen, he would be found unquestionably guilty of extortion, a crime which is strongly prohibited in America. More importantly, however, the use of extortion is condemned in Scripture. As we read in the book of Isaiah:
"The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil; He shall dwell on high: his place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure." (Isa. 33:14-16)
Trump promises that extorting payment for the wall from Mexico will guarantee us peace and economic security, but according to the Bible, it is those who despise the gain of oppressions who will have true peace and prosperity. Which path do you think America should follow?
In the second section of Trump's immigration policy, he proposes to increase the size of ICE to the level of a true federal police force that is large enough to accompany local police departments on raids. I fail to see how turning ICE into an actual police power could possibly be good for our nation, but the real surprise in this section of Trump's plan comes at the end. This entire section is supposed to be about enforcing America's current laws in regards to immigration, but then Trump decided to throw in this proposal:
"End birthright citizenship. This remains the biggest magnet for illegal immigration. By a 2:1 margin, voters say it’s the wrong policy, including Harry Reid who said 'no sane country' would give automatic citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants."
I realize that many Christians agree with Trump in this area, but let me recommend that you take the time to read the history of birthright citizenship (known to our forefathers as jus soli or "the right of the soil") before you agree to abandon a policy that traces its roots back to the very foundation of republican government - the Bible. Consider what God said to Ezekiel about the concept of birthright citizenship:
"And it shall come to pass, that ye shall divide it by lot for an inheritance unto you, and to the strangers that sojourn among you, which shall beget children among you: and they shall be unto you as born in the country among the children of Israel; they shall have inheritance with you among the tribes of Israel. And it shall come to pass, that in what tribe the stranger sojourneth, there shall ye give him his inheritance, saith the Lord GOD." (Ezek. 47:22-23)
According to God, the children of the strangers sojourning in the land of Israel were to be treated as if they were actually children of Israelites. Was God wrong in this? Did He expose Israel to grave dangers by proposing birthright citizenship? Was He insane to suggest giving automatic citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants? Which do you think is correct, Donald Trump or God?
The third section of Trump's immigration plan is entirely devoted to proposals for making it more difficult for legal (not just illegal but even legal) immigrants to compete with American citizens in the workplace. Trump and many Christians seem to think that the American government should be prejudiced toward enabling Americans to succeed economically before giving those same opportunities to foreign workers. But is this really the kind of attitude that Christians should have? Consider what God said to the nation of Israel about how to treat the foreigners living among them.
"One law shall be to him that is homeborn, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you." (Exo 12:49)
"One ordinance shall be both for you of the congregation, and also for the stranger that sojourneth with you, an ordinance for ever in your generations: as ye are, so shall the stranger be before the LORD. One law and one manner shall be for you, and for the stranger that sojourneth with you." (Num 15:15-16)
"Ye shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger, as for one of your own country: for I am the LORD your God." (Lev. 24:22)
"But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God." (Lev 19:34)
Over and over again throughout the Scriptures, God forbade His people from passing laws that gave precedence to citizens over foreigners. I know that you've been taught for years that every government must take care of its own people before it cares for the safety and well being of foreigners, but that is not the policy that God established for the nation of Israel. Which do you think is correct? Was God a fool to command that foreigners be given equal treatment under the law? Or are we fools to take the opposite approach?
After reading through Trump's immigration policy and comparing it to Scripture, I have come to the conclusion that Trump's plan is far from being biblical.
Bill Fortenberry is a Christian philosopher and historian in Birmingham, AL. Bill's work has been cited in several legal journals, and he has appeared as a guest on shows including The Dr. Gina Show, The Michael Hart Show, and Real Science Radio.
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