The immigration issue has been a topic of importance lately. What is the proper decision, policy, and attitude we should take? Open borders? Closed borders? Monitored immigration? Initially when the nation was founded, immigration was open. Any and all were welcome. Slowly we began to regulate and require certain things of those who came into the nation. Citizenship requirements have changed. By the 1880′s we were numbering and giving minimums for those coming into the country.
What is the proper way to administer immigration? If we go for the Founder’s view, it would be a pretty loose interpretation. Basically, anything goes (or anything comes). That certainly doesn’t seem to be anything the majority of American’s would be willing to accept at present. Anyone’s opinion is really valid now when it comes to historical pretext. We have covered the entire field.
What is the role of immigration with regards to what God would prefer? I am not entirely sure. Here is our scripture for thought.
2 Nephi 1:6
“Wherefore, I, Lehi, prophesy according to the workings of the Spirit which is in me, that there shall none come into this land save they shall be brought by the hand of the Lord.”
This scripture seems to be pretty straight forward. NONE shall come UNLESS the Lord has brought them. This is a Prophet speaking. What is more, it is another Prophet who is recording the comments of another. In a sense, we have two witnesses of this statement. Moreover, Lehi himself states it is a prophecy.
That doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for play. Two prophets state, in positive terms, ALL who come to this nation will be brought by the Lord. The question is then, what about our immigration policy? If we try to limit it, are we acting against God’s will? For all these who come in still, even illegally, should we hold such a vindictive attitude towards them? Are we in a sense an Uzza reaching forth to steady the ark?
The statement seems like it would be still in effect? There doesn’t appear to be anything in the previous or following verses that would limit it to 1492 to 1827. Certainly, the LDS would not hold such a view. The LDS would hold this immigration lead by the hand of the Lord continued en mass at least through 1910. Why the change?
The gathering is to Stakes of Zion rather than to a central location now. But this doesn’t appear to be talking about a gathering, or even the covenant people. NONE seem so be a pretty exclusive statement for those who are covenant or not.
I suppose the real question is should we open the borders and allow all to come? Or is the Lord inspiring our politicians to limit the immigration while at the same time inspiring others to break that limiting?
LDS are expected to keep the laws of the land, but will the Lord inspire others to break those laws the Saints are expected to uphold? We hear cries all over against the Hispanic influx. Is this inspired and is man putting forth his puny arm to stop the flow that God has decreed? None shall come save it be by the hand of the Lord.
I really don’t know. But it certainly makes me think. Personally America is the idea of a tent of charity and of good will. To me it seems that all are welcome and we will welcome them with open arms.
In the Old Testament, the immigrant went by another name; stranger. Reminds me of the old western movies. Do a search of the Old Testament and you shall see quite a few laws and regulations concerning strangers. They were expected to hold the rest of Israel’s laws faithfully. Those out of the covenant were treated equally, but were restricted from covenant promises and practices.
One of the first scriptures that come to mind is the reminder the Lord gives to Israel. Strangers are to be treated well, after all, all Israel was a stranger in the land of Egypt. It is the old golden rule. Do unto others as you would have done unto you. “Also, thou shalt not oppress a stranger, for ye know the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Ex 23:9).
Strangers could buy and sell unfettered. They could even take some of those under the covenant as slaves (Lev 25).
Strangers were to be given the same laws as the covenant folk. Additionally, they were to be treated equally before the law. Even in breaking the law, the stranger was to be treated the same as the children of Israel (Num 15).
Strangers could even offer up burnt offerings. They were expected to live the same law of health (Lev 22).
Remember, Israel after wandering went into Canaan to take possession of the Land. The Lord even told them they were being given a land wherein they were going to be the stranger. The Lord was going to give them the land, despite what the residents thought. It was when the current residents fought back, and the residents along the way, that they lost their lives (Gen 17:8) They could very well have assimilated as many other societies have done.
This always brings new meaning to the stranger referenced Matthew 25. Whatsoever you have done to the least of these, you have done to me. But he uses the phrase ‘Stranger’ several times. “I was a stranger and ye took me in” (vs 35). “When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?” (vs 38). “I was a stranger, and ye took me not in; naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?” (vs 43-44).
“Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the Land of Egypt” (Deut 10:19).
“And thou shalt rejoice in every good thing which the Lord thy God hath given unto thee, and unto thine house, thou, and the Levite, and the stranger that is among you. When thou hast made an end of tithing all the tithes of thine increase the third year, which is the year of tithing, and hast given it unto the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, that they may eat within thy gates, and be filled; Then thou shalt say before the Lord thy God, I have brought away the hallowed things out of mine house, and also have given unto the Levite, and unto the stranger, to the fatherless, and to the widow, according to all thy commandments which thou has commanded me: I have not transgressed thy commandments, neither have I forgotten them:” (Deut 26:11-13).
Indeed, the stranger is even classified among the widows and orphans in a requirement for Israel to reach out to them (Deut 24).
Strangers could not take part of temple worship or passover. Unless, they were willing to be circumcised, then they were no more strangers (similar to citizenship??) (Ex 12).
I will leave it there. I have turned from the degree of immigration to how we should treat the immigrant. There doesn’t seem to be a qualification of whether they were living among Israel legally or not. God seems no respecter of persons. Why would we treat with harshness the stranger in our midst, legal or not?
Turning back to the original question, I would definitely lean towards open borders and open communication. It seems most arguments against open borders are for selfish reasons. Our jobs, our land, our territory and more. Perhaps we should re-evaluate.