He enacts justice for orphans and widows, and he loves immigrants, giving them food and clothing. — Deuteronomy 10:18
An interesting undercurrent in the Bible is the presence and place of immigrants. The tone is set in Genesis 12, with Abraham leaving home to seek God’s promise of establishing a new nation through him. Scripture details people wandering away from their native lands, usually for seeking safety from violence; this is why Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus immigrated to Egypt.
What would it feel like to leave everything you’ve known, and the people you love, and go somewhere with strange customs, language, and government? Visit an English as Second Language class and you’ll get a good idea. Vulnerability is the only word that comes to mind.
So it’s not surprising that the command to “love immigrants” runs throughout the Bible. We are to provide them a new home. And in the process, they make our home better. They remind us that we all share the basic fears, needs, hopes, and dreams. The more we welcome immigrants into our community and nation, the more we reflect the beautiful tapestry of God’s dream for humankind.
Anyway, we’re all immigrants, aren’t we?
PS–For a beautiful song about the immigration experience from an Irish perspective, see this YouTube clip of “Isle of Hope, Isle of Tears.”