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Because it is Sunday and the Republicans are all concerned by immigration, I thought I would see what kind of guidance I could find for them in the King James Version:

Leviticus 24:22 Ye shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger, as for one of your own country: for I am the LORD your God.

I don’t know for sure, but it doesn’t look like the Bible approves of immigration laws.


1 Michael { 04.03.06 at 7:48 am }

Immigration laws are OK (there are rules about who may be, or become, a member of the Jewish community in the Torah). But what’s absolutely not OK is having one set of standards for people who are in the community and people who are outside of it, but resident among it.

Hmm. Paging Nino “Vaffanculo” Scalia….

2 larkohio { 04.03.06 at 8:17 am }

Very difficult question, the whole immigration thing. The borders are out of control, and this is, (so to speak) our house, so we should be able to know who is coming into our house. I do believe in treating illegal immigrants with compassion and kindness, but there are no easy answers here.

3 Bryan { 04.03.06 at 8:18 am }

Actually, Sections 241 and 242 of Title 18 of the US Code make it a crime to violate the civil rights of an “inhabitant” of the US, not just citizens, and Border Patrol agents have been prosecuted for violating those restrictions.

4 Steve Bates { 04.03.06 at 12:26 pm }

As you contemplate immigration-related matters, please recall that the Bill of Rights contains the word “person” four times and the word “citizen” not at all. The truly fundamental rights belong to everyone here, citizen or noncitizen, legal or illegal immigrant. (For clarity: the Fourteenth Amendment does extend the notion of “citizen” to more “persons.” But the original first 10 amendments say nothing about citizenship. Human rights and fundamental civil liberties belong to everyone.)

Of course laws can be made which control our borders (and as Bryan has pointed out, they could also be enforced); of course people can be deported if they enter illegally. But while they are here, legally or otherwise, they have most of the same constitutional protections afforded U.S. citizens.

The fact that Mr. Bush has often behaved, allegedly in pursuit of his war on a noun, as if illegal immigrants lack these basic constitutional rights has polluted the immigration discussion. Reasonable people can reasonably disagree on immigration policy… who should come here and under what circumstances, whether people should be admitted without any possibility of a “citizenship track,” etc. etc. But as long as fundamental human and civil rights in the Constitution are being blatantly violated… and they are… the discussion is bound to generate more heat than light. Stop jailing people without charge. Stop denying people an attorney. Stop torturing or physically abusing people who are imprisoned or otherwise in custody in the U.S. or territories it controls. Then we can talk reasonably about immigration.

5 Bryan { 04.03.06 at 2:01 pm }

Immigration laws are civil, not criminal. You aren’t currently thrown in prison for unauthorized entry, you are deported. The only reason people end up in “detention” is because their countries refuse to accept them back, or they are contesting deportation.

Hiring undocumented workers is a crime.

Now they want to criminalize the immigration laws and suck local law enforcement into the process.

We need to take our borders seriously, and passing laws doesn’t do that, spending money to secure them does. Too many people die sneaking into the country, and something needs to be done about it. Physical barriers aren’t going to get it, as the undocumented workers that the contractors will hire to build the barrier will put in gates. The coyotes and drug cartels will be sure of that.

Everyone in this country has the rights guaranteed by the Constitution, no matter how they got here. That’s why the immigration laws aren’t part of the criminal code. If you make them crimes you have to supply attorneys, hold bail hearings, have jury trials, etc. the whole Federal criminal court process. I don’t think the idiots in Congress understand that.