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Faces on Faith:Religious ideals, political goals of immigration policy

By Staff | Mar 8, 2013

Rabbi Selwyn Geller

United States immigration policy affects its economy and social structure. It, therefore, made the front page of the New York Times on Feb. 27 when Rep. Robert W. Goodlatte of Virginia charged the Obama administration with using immigration policy to further its political goals.

It furthered its goals with sequestration against the necessary and proper goals of immigration policy.

Pope John XXIII of blessed memory referred to immigration policy in his great 1963 encyclical, Peace on Earth.

“There are some countries where there is an imbalance between the amount of arable land and the number of inhabitants; others where there is an imbalance between the richness of the resources and the instruments of agriculture available. It is imperative, therefore, that nations enter into collaboration with each other, and facilitate the circulation of goods, capital and manpower.”

Free trade and free labor give all nations more food, clothing and shelter. The Pope had a religious ideal for economic and immigration policies. He supported this with a view of work that Yahoo is changing.

“We advocate in such cases the policy of bringing the work to the workers, wherever possible, rather than bringing workers to the scene of the work.”

His approach to labor would ease the problems of migrating men and women that leave their countries without employment for lack of work. John XXIII also was conscious of the problem of political refugees from rogue policymakers and dictatorships.

“The deep feelings of paternal love for all mankind which God has implanted in our heart makes it impossible for us to view without bitter anguish of spirit the plight of those who for political reasons have been exiled from their own homelands … In defining the scope of a just freedom within which individual citizens may live lives worthy of their human dignity, the rulers of some nations have been far too restrictive … These refugees are persons and all their rights as persons must be recognized … And among man’s personal rights we must include his right to enter a country in which he hopes to be able to provide more fittingly for himself and his dependents. It is therefore the duty of state officials to accept such immigrants and – so far as the good of their own community, rightly understood, permits – to further the aims of those who may wish to become members of a new society.”

“The good of their own community rightly understood” favors the migrants that contribute to national economic functions and social structures. As Psalm 24:1 expressed the religious ideal in a pastoral and agricultural economy: “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.”

Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians reads: “Eat whatever is sold in the meat market without raising any question on the ground of conscience, for ‘the earth and its fullness are the Lord’s’.”

Muhammad also dictated in Qur’an 4:13. “Unto Allah belongeth whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth. And we charged those who received the scripture before you, and (we charge) you, that ye keep your duty toward Allah. And if ye disbelieve, lo unto Allah belongeth whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth, and Allah is ever absolute, owner of praise.”

Our president and congress and the prime ministers and parliaments of other nations must have the courage to overcome the competition and gridlock of world politics. It does us no good.