The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it. (Prov 27:12).
I’ve had both Christian and non-Christian friends asking the same question: How can a Christian support the latest crackdown on immigration and refugees? After all, doesn’t the Bible say to love your neighbor, help those in need, “do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor”? While we should certainly hold to all these things, how do we balance this with the biblical principle of secure borders and walls? King Solomon said “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.” (Prov 25:28). Recall the well-known Biblical event when Nehemiah rebuilt the wall around Jerusalem after lamenting on its destruction. There are many verses where God clearly supports borders and walls (Deut 32:8, Prov 23:10-11, 2 Chron 14:7, Psalm 122:7, etc).
So what gives, given the solid biblical positions for both love thy neighbor and secure borders? I would start by asking critics of the recent immigration ban, as imperfect as it is, to sincerely ask themselves if they are applying the same standard of how they treat “the least of these my brothers” to what they expect their government to do. For example, all those reading this who disagree with banning immigration from terrorist-ridden countries, likely won’t be sponsoring a Somali or Yemeni family in their house any time soon. This is especially true if they have a young daughter and the migrant family includes a young male adult. “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (1 Tim 5:8). I have many friends who are going, and have gone on mission trips, something very noble that takes courage. However, the vast majority wisely go to places that are reasonably safe. It would take a special kind of courage to venture into places like North Korea or Iran, or the alleys of El Salvador to preach Christianity. You cannot make a case from the Bible that God expected followers to regularly endanger themselves. “The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.” (Prov 27:12).
So how do we balance this? The refugee crisis in Syria is heartbreaking and we shouldn’t ignore it, but we also shouldn’t trivialize the threat made by ISIS that they will infiltrate through migration (they already have in Europe), and we shouldn’t trivialize the worldview we are dealing with. In just the last 30 days alone there were “168 Islamic attacks in 28 countries, in which 1209 people were killed and 1627 injured.” (https://tinyurl.com/jomqhyw). In light of these facts, it is absolutely mind-boggling when I hear Christians repeat the canard from the left that we are less safe with such an immigration ban. Another fact that is overlooked is the Bible setting ground rules for both sojourners and their hosts, that they are still to follow the law of the land (provided it doesn’t contradict God’s law, e.g. Joshua 2, Acts 5:29). Given this, should we ignore the fact that most Muslims in the US would prefer Sharia law, and a stunning 20% think it is justifiable if brought about violently? (https://tinyurl.com/p5eud6y). Should we ignore what happened in Lebanon? (https://tinyurl.com/jajdmkg). From my perspective, providing safe havens is a wise and reasonable approach, it meets the criteria for both love thy neighbor AND secure borders.
There is a level of prudence we ourselves exercise, but we then somehow find it easy to criticize similar prudence on a government level. We were in Italy a few years ago and stayed one block from the Vatican. Maybe I’m mistaken, but I’m fairly certain it was surrounded by a really high wall. I encourage the reader to google why this wall was built, as indeed “there is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecc 1:9).