By Bryan Fischer
Follow me on Twitter: @BryanJFischer, on Facebook at “Focal Point”
With regard to the immigration of aliens into ancient Israel, the Mosaic civil code was clear: there was to be one rule and one law for everybody. “[T]here shall be one statute for you and for the stranger who sojourns with you...You and the sojourner shall be alike before the Lord. One law and one rule shall be for you and for the stranger who sojourns with you.”
Contemporary application: if the native-born get punished for breaking the law, aliens should be punished too. There should be no free passes for breaking our immigration laws, period. To let illegal aliens off the hook for committing felony violations of our immigration law (if you try to cross illegally more than once, it’s a felony) while punishing the native born for felonies is to violate the fundamental biblical principle of justice, full equality under the law.
Unless we are willing to give the native-born a free pass to commit the felony of their choice with no punishment, then fairness dictates appropriate sanctions for those who break our immigration laws.
And since the current administration actually wants to reward illegals who break our laws by putting them on a guaranteed path to citizenship, the only way for the president to preserve equality under the law would be to guarantee to the native-born that not only will they not get punished for breaking the law, they will actually be rewarded for doing so.
The Numbers passage is speaking specifically about spiritual practices, about approaching God in worship. This indicates that if aliens wanted to come to Israel, they were required to give up their native religion and superstitions and adopt the faith of their host nation. This goes directly to the issue of assimilation. If someone was not willing to fully assimilate – spiritually as well as culturally – into the host nation of Israel, they weren’t given a place. The refusal of immigrants to embrace the host nation’s most deeply held values would be guaranteed to fragment the culture of the nation, and would be suicidal. There was none of this multicultural nonsense that is fragmenting our society today.
Israel is the only nation in history for which God directly established immigration policy. If we were to apply today the principles he set for Israel then, this would mean, at a minimum, that we would expect immigrants to the United States to affirm and believe in the superiority of Western civilization in general and the Judeo-Christian system of values and truth claims in particular over alternative value systems such as sharia law.
Immigration is a privilege, not a right, and our policy should be to admit to our shores only those with a commitment to a full assimilation to American culture, adopting our values, our heroes, and our history.
The Moabite woman Ruth was the ideal immigrant. When she moved with her mother-in-law Naomi to Israel, she left behind her gods, her religion, and her primary allegiances. “Your people shall be my people, and your God my God” (Ruth 1:16). Because of her willingness to embrace the deepest values of her new nation, she found an honored place in the genealogy of King David and Jesus Christ.
One final point. Immigrants to the United States should not be on welfare, period. Those who are committed to assimilate themselves fully into American culture may be welcomed, but we must expect them to supply their own needs through the labor of their own hands, and not become dependent on taxpayer funded welfare.
In ancient Israel, according to Deuteronomy 24:19-22, farmers, olive growers and vintners were forbidden to make a second pass through their fields, olive groves, and vineyards. They were to leave the gleanings for the “sojourner” as well as the widow and orphan. Aliens could eat, but they would have to go out into the fields themselves and gather food. Nobody was going to do that for them. Compassion was found, not in providing for them, but in giving them an opportunity to provide for themselves.
This was the provision the immigrant Ruth accessed, working in the fields of Boaz from early in the morning til late at night to meet her needs and the needs of her widowed mother-in-law (Ruth 2:1-7).
Many were drawn to ancient Israel as they are drawn to the United States as lands of opportunity and prosperity. But there was no welfare system for aliens. They could come as long as they supported themselves and refused to become a burden on the native-born population.
America is well within its rights to insist that newcomers to our shores be self-sustaining and in a position to contribute to our nation’s well-being rather than being a drain on taxpayer resources. We should insist on admitting only newcomers who will add to our economy, not detract from it.
So ancient Israel offers a paradigm of what a sensible and sane immigration policy looks like. It’s simple: don’t break the law (that is, come in through the front door instead of breaking in through a window), fully assimilate (become an authentic American, not a hyphenated American), and support yourself. If you commit to those things, you will be welcome here. If you don’t or won’t, perhaps it’s best for you to stay where you are.
(Unless otherwise noted, the opinions expressed are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Family Association or American Family Radio.)