Title

You Were Told to Love the Immigrant, But What if the Story Never Happened? Hospitality and United States Immigration Law

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-1-2016

Abstract

The biblical narrative served as an inspiration in creating the government of the United States and grounds Christian ethics. People of faith must decide how to interpret and live out the narrative in the present day. The Bible, which is full of stories about exile, should therefore shape our response to immigration. Craig Mousin examines what the Bible says about the treatment of immigrants and applies current immigration law to imagined cases of biblical figures. All of them, including Jesus, would have been denied entry, deported, or forced to live as undocumented immigrants. Mousin then situates immigration within the context of the Vincentian tradition. Vincent de Paul (who also would have been denied entry) had members of the Congregation “assume the vulnerability of the immigrant” when he sent them to minister to refugees and other marginalized groups. He believed that by extending hospitality, one could experience God. Vincent also recognized the equality of all humanity and urged that “faith united with reason” should guide the treatment of refugees. This contrasts with immigration law, which decides who is worthy of entering the U.S. and who is not. Mousin discusses how undocumented immigrants, women with children, and unaccompanied minors should be treated according to Vincentian hospitality.

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