The base of the Statue of Liberty includes this famous poem by Emma Lazarus:
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”
Well-intentioned, perhaps. But is it really so wise to send out an invitation to the world’s “huddled masses” of “wretched refuse” — in other words, losers?
Not according to the “Evangelicals for Biblical Immigration.” To be sure, they still welcome immigrants, but they advocate for what they call a “wise welcome.”
“Wise welcome?” That would seem to be code for being far more discriminating about whom one allows across the borders than that bleeding heart, Emma Lazarus.
Here’s the problem. Jesus seems to side with Emma Lazarus since he talked at length about the importance of embracing the least of these: those who are hungry, thirsty, strangers, naked, sick, and in prison. In short, he invited the huddled masses and wretched refuse of the world.
What is more, while John describes the New Jerusalem as having walls and gates, those gates will never be shut (Revelation 21:25).
But the Evangelicals for Biblical Immigration choose not to use Jesus’ teaching and the New Jerusalem as touchstones for determining just what a biblical immigration policy should be. Instead, they conveniently turn to the book of Nehemiah which chronicles the efforts of a charismatic leader to rebuild the walls surrounding a once great people so that they may regain their “God-honoring culture.”
So there you have it. If Jesus were around today, he’d build a wall, just like Nehemiah.