Christianity Today asked a group of contributors how, if at all, the Bible should inform what a nation expects of immigrants. This is one of five essays in the series.
Last September, I traveled with a small group of evangelical women to El Paso, Texas, and Juárez, Mexico. We were hosted by Welcome, a collaboration between World Relief and the National Immigration Forum that offers an intellectual, theological, and personal understanding of the humanitarian crisis on our southern border. We met with local pastors and nonprofit leaders who have been providing shelter and care for migrants from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. We visited one of the shelters in Juárez that houses some of these migrants. We spoke with an immigration policy expert. We spent time with three border patrol agents to better understand the daily pressures they face protecting the border and caring for people in need.
When I was in El Paso, I heard a refrain: There is not enough. Not enough border patrol agents to process the migrants. Not enough detention facilities. Not enough judges. Not enough lawyers. Not enough discussion about changing the laws regarding legal entry and paths to citizenship. Not enough resources to house and clothe and feed and educate so many vulnerable people.
Certainly, the people and organizations at the border need more resources if they are going to care for immigrants in a humane way that honors the image of God. At the same time, citizens express their concern that the US is not prosperous enough to take on more people. We hear politicians say immigrants will overburden our social welfare systems.
So we become convinced that there is not enough. Not enough to care for immigrants at the border. Not enough ...
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