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Immigrants. Immigrants and the Scriptures Leviticus 19:32-34 When a stranger lives with you in your land, do not molest him. You must count him as one.

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Presentation on theme: "Immigrants. Immigrants and the Scriptures Leviticus 19:32-34 When a stranger lives with you in your land, do not molest him. You must count him as one."— Presentation transcript:

1 Immigrants

2 Immigrants and the Scriptures Leviticus 19:32-34 When a stranger lives with you in your land, do not molest him. You must count him as one of your own countrymen and love him as yourself – for you were once strangers yourselves in Egypt. I am Yahweh your God.

3 Immigrants and the Scriptures Old Testament Words used to designate the immigrant: stranger (gër), alien, foreigner, migrate Stranger (gër): -one who is not a member of a particular social group -not a member of the tribe (nomadic) -non-Israelite (monarchy) -tension between stranger as enemy and as one to whom hospitality is owed -fear that Israelites might adopt foreign ways and lose their way -contact between Israelite and foreigner seen as inevitable

4 Immigrants and the Scriptures Old Testament There are many instances where Israelites themselves are strangers. Genesis 12:10 Now there was a famine in the land. So Abram went down to Egypt to reside there as an alien. Genesis 17:8 And I will give to you, and to your offspring after you, the land where you are now an alien…

5 Immigrants and the Scriptures Old Testament Strangers are seen as the object of charity and are not to be oppressed. Deuteronomy 10:17-18 For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who is not partial and takes no bribe, who executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and who loves the strangers, providing them food and clothing. Deuteronomy 14:29 The Levites…as well as the resident aliens, the orphans, and the widows in your towns, may come and eat their fill so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work that you undertake.

6 Immigrants and the Scriptures Old Testament Strangers are granted equal rights with Israelites before the law. Deuteronomy 1:16 I charged the judges at that time: “Give the members of your community a fair hearing, and judge rightly between one person and another, whether citizen or resident alien…”.

7 Immigrants and the Scriptures Old Testament Theologically, Israel was a stranger in the land that belonged to Yahweh. 1 Chronicles 29:15 For we are aliens and transients before you, as were all our ancestors; our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no hope. Leviticus 25:23 The land should not be sold in perpetuity, for the land is mine; with me you are but aliens and tenants.

8 Immigrants and the Scriptures Old Testament Anawim: -poor, afflicted, humble, meek, those who have no rights in society (eg. widow and unjust judge in Luke 18:1-8) -widow, orphan, stranger Psalm 94:6-7 They kill the widow and the stranger, they murder the orphan, and they say, “The Lord does not see; the God of Jacob does not perceive.

9 New Testament The primitive Church included a large number of foreigners that eventually outnumber the Jewish members.

10 New Testament A Christian is never a stranger in the eyes of God for he/she is a citizen of the Kingdom of God. Ephesians 2:19-20 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone.

11 New Testament With reference to the present world Christians are strangers since they are citizens of the Kingdom of God although the Kingdom of God has already been established even if in an incomplete way. 1 Peter 1:17 If you invoke as Father the one who judges all people impartially according to their needs, live in reverent fear during the time of your exile.

12 New Testament When we welcome the stranger we welcome the Lord. Matthew 25:31-46 …then the righteous will answer him., “Lord when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” and the King will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.

13 New Testament The Holy Family went into exile…the flight into Egypt. Matthew 2:13-15 Now after they (the Wise Men) had left an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” Then Joseph got up, took the child and went to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, “Out of Egypt I have called my son.”

14 New Testament Jesus was a migrant/itinerant preacher. Luke 9:57-58 As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”

15 New Testament We are all strangers yet we are all citizens. John 18:36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here”.

16 New Testament The stranger becomes a model, an example. Luke 10:29-37 But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said ‘Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend’. Which of the three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?”

17 New Testament We need to break through the stereotypes of prejudice. Matthew 15:21-28 Jesus left that place and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon. Just then a Canaanite woman from the region came out and started shouting, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.” But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, “Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” but she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord help me.” He answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Yes Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” Then Jesus answered her, “Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed instantly.

18 New Testament Lazarus is at the gate. Luke 16:19-31 There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table, even the dogs would come and lick his sores. The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried…


20 Catholic Social Teaching and Immigration Papal Teachings Rerum Novarum (Leo XIII) …the right of a family to a life worthy of dignity Exsul Familia (Pius XII) …right to migrate in seeking a life worthy of dignity Pacem in Terris (John XXIII) …right not to migrate and right to migrate for just reasons John Paul II (1985 – New World Congress on Pastoral Care of Immigrants) …membership in human family and universal society

21 Catholic Social Teaching and Immigration Statement of Bishops Strangers No Longer – Together on the Journey of Hope By Bishops of USA and Mexico (2002)

22 Catholic Social Teaching and Immigration Statement of Bishops Five Principles: 1. Persons have the right to find opportunities in their homeland. 2. Persons have the right to migrate in order to support themselves and their families. 3. Sovereign nations have a right to control their borders.

23 Catholic Social Teaching and Immigration Statement of Bishops Five Principles: 4. Refugees and asylum seekers should be afforded protection. 5. The human rights and human dignity of undocumented migrants should be respected.

24 Catholic Social Teaching and Immigration Theological Concepts/Values that Speak to the Treatment of Immigrants: …hospitality …preferential option for the poor …this life is a journey, a pilgrimage, we are all migrants

25 … brother and sister, Enrique and Rosa Xuncas, who must leave their native Guatemala, cross Mexico to find work and a new “life” in the USA …Rosa on her death bed, “…we cannot return to San Pedro where we would be killed, in Mexico they already have too many people so we can’t go there, here in the U.S. they don’t want us…so where can we go? …perhaps only in heaven, after death, will we be at home.


27 Pastoral Letter on Immigration and the Protection of Refugees Episcopal Commission for Social Affairs Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops January 15, 2006 World Day for Migrants and Refugees

28  Recognition that all are aliens in this existence and long for a definitive home in heaven.  We are called to solidarity with migrant and refugees.  When people of different origins are welcomed God is revealed.

29 Catholic Perspective  Right to migrate  Right to protect one’s boarders  Compassion and openness  Rights of refugees according to UN charters  Defend rights of all migrants

30 Migration in Canada  18% of population born outside Canada  235,824 newcomers in 2004  12% refugees (not sufficient considering need)  Safe Third Country Agreement (should be eliminated)  Racial profiling with long delays  National interests and security before human dignity against Catholic teaching

31 Sanctuary  Long tradition in Churches  Protection of refugees with deportation order  Not being respected

32 Right to Appeal  Appeal mechanism is non-existant  Claim can be turned down by single officer at Refugee Board hearing  Recognized by parliament but not implemented

33 Separation of Families  Numerous requirements cause long delays  Slow administrative process  Families need to be together

34 Human Trafficking and Smuggling  Women and children (most vulnerable)  Exploited in the sex industry  Now recognized as crime in Canada

35 Migrant Agricultural Workers  Conditions not always respectful of human dignity  Extended work periods  Poor housing conditions  Lack of adequate medical attention  Employment insurance payments but no benefits

36 Poverty Among Newcomers  Suffer most from salary inequities

37 Welcoming Migrants in Christian Communities  Acceptance into communities  Renewal of life of Church  Private sponsorship of refugees

38 Christian Responsibility and Solidarity  Promote just international development so persons not forced to migrate  Christian community must be a model of acceptance and appreciation

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