Opinions vary greatly over how America should handle immigration; and the recent presidential election captured perhaps the two most extreme positions. Hillary Clinton favored open borders with little to no security whatsoever. While this was not her public position it was discovered through leaked e-mails that contributed to her political downfall. Border security was not a priority for Hillary. But it was for Donald Trump.
Much of Trump's campaign focused on the flood of illegal immigrants pouring into the country and the fact that SOME of them have mischief on their mind. This is not true of ALL of them and Trump never said it was. He repeatedly said SOME of them are “murderers and rapists” and the statistics prove him right. He favored building a secure wall at the border and tightening restrictions on who enters the country; while making the legal process quicker and more efficient so that those who are qualified to enter could do so faster. The scope of this article is not to compare the policy positions, but rather to point out that the idea of securing the border is both Biblical and Christian in terms of it's philosophical and ethical moorings. In other words, it's not a sin for a nation to secure their country any more than it would be sin for a Christian to lock their doors at night to protect their family. Allow me to explain why.
In Old Testament times, building walls around cities was commended as a common sense means of national/ municipal security. Invading armies would rout Israel if they did not build walls and raise armies to protect themselves. One might say, “Why didn't they just trust God?” It goes without saying that God would and often DID protect Israel supernaturally. But that doesn't mean they were exempt from doing the hard work of securing their property. God often uses natural means to fulfill his supernatural purpose on the earth.
King David prayed to God, “By Your favor do good to Zion; Build the walls of Jerusalem.” (Psalm 51:18) And lest we be mistaken, the “walls” around Jerusalem were PHYSICAL walls for protection from enemies. These walls didn't show a lack of faith, but rather the presence of common sense. What nation will survive without borders? What nation will survive without walls? What nation will survive without armed security? Old Testament Israel had a vast army, skilled in warfare. Why would any earthly nation not have this? But some would question the Christian relevance of this. Is it “un-Christian” for America to have border security? Should we encourage unchecked immigration for the good of those who seek to enter? Even when some of those entering, do not seek our good?
At this point, I should probably point out that many Christians confuse the Church with the government. The Church has a role, indeed a command, to proclaim the gospel of Christ to all the world. If immigrants come to our nation, we should tell them of Christ and pray for their conversion. This is the church's job. But it is not the Federal government's job. According to Romans 13, a government's job is to safeguard the security and the liberty of it's people. The Bible says, “For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.” (Romans 13:3-4 NASB)
If a Christian argues that securing the border is “un-Christian” then they could just as easily argue that all police and military services are “un-Christian.” Police exist to keep the peace and protect the liberty of the citizenry. Likewise military personnel exist for the purpose of national defense. Securing the border is merely another plank in this overall plan to protect the citizens. Of course securing your own home is the first line of defense against evil forces that would harm your family. Jesus said, “But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have allowed his house to be broken into. You too, be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect.” (Luke 12:39-40 NASB) The context of Jesus's remarks was the 2nd coming of Christ. But the example he uses is very prescient. If a man knows his home will be broken into, he will take measures to prevent it. This is not sinful. It is righteous to protect his family; and it is logical to prevent a crime. Strangely enough, some people expect the government to show a level of hospitable stupidity that they would never do with their own property. People who consistently lock their doors at night and build fences around their property, all the sudden become pious when a nation seeks to do the same thing. You wouldn't unlock your door and fling it open at night inviting everyone in to do as they wish with your family. You wouldn't allow un-screened guests coming and going as they please when its your house and family. So why would you expect the nation to do this? Many people hold the government to a much different standard than they live by themselves. This way they can hypocritically point out how welcoming they are to immigrants the world over; all the while they themselves are doing nothing to deal with the potential problems that arise.
In conclusion, for Christians to have a Biblical idea of border security they must understand the distinction between America as a nation and the Church as a redeemed, spiritual people. As Christians we should welcome those who enter our church doors and minister to them with the gospel of Christ. We don't know their background and furthermore we don't care. We are called to love and to evangelize. We are called to point them to Christ. But this is not the role of the Federal government. To the contrary, we should desire the government to stay out of religious affairs and leave the preaching to us. The governments role is to protect the people; and this most surely involves border security. Some immigrants seek to enter our nation for righteous reasons. They are good, hard-working people who want a new start. Others are not so benevolent. Others, indeed are, murderers, rapists, and thieves. Terrorists have come in with the purpose of killing Americans; and many times this has happened. Only a nation that is both naive and insane will let this go on unhindered. We must take the counsel of Jesus and be “shrewd as serpents, yet innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16) Be nice and be “Christian” to those you encounter. But don't trash the governing authorities if they do their role, appointed by God, to brandish the sword for your protection. Their defense of us is not profane. To the contrary, it is in accordance with both Old and New Testament teaching. Let us be witnesses unto the world. But let us be WISE witnesses in the process.