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The Bible1 And U.S. Immigration2

by David D. Murray

Editor's note: This Article was written as humorous commentary.

The Bible3 teaches that we should have respect for governments and/or their righteous laws. (Titus 3:1 and Romans 13:1)" But the various books of the Bible have me confused especially Romans 13:1, which states, "Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God." I4 wonder, does this include former president George W. Bush? I certainly hope not, but wonder about Barack Obama, is he ordained by God? The Republicans don't think so. I further wonder, as an immigration lawyer and as a member of my snug, prosperous southern California community, replete with its illegal Mexican gardeners, domestic helpers, child monitors, dish washers, construction workers, office cleaners and agricultural workers, how best to follow the teachings of the Bible in my chosen occupation, so as to please God.

I'm troubled by some of the passages of the Bible as they relate to immigration and the rights of immigrants. Take for instance, Leviticus 25:44, which states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. People from neighboring nations are immigrants in a foreign land. It's OK to enslave them? According to the Bible it is. But the Bible says nothing about employment authorized visas. Evidently, the Bible has an attitude of open borders with no immigration restrictions, at least when it comes to slaves. The Bible, at least in Leviticus, also seems to support global assimilation and perhaps tolerance for those of other races and religions, as there is no admonition as to what religion, color, creed or sexual preference these slaves may be, so I guess the slave owners are equal opportunity employers. (But we know the Egyptians5 had Hebrew Braceros6). Leviticus 25:44 is obviously nationalistic in saying it's OK to have slaves, as long as they are from Mexico. Wait, I don't think the Bible said Mexico and in fact back then, I don't think Mexico had not yet been discovered, at least not by people from the Middle East. The Word of God in Leviticus just refers to people from "neighboring lands". How I ever imagined that might mean Mexico, God only knows.

Leviticus 25:44 seems awfully discriminatory and probably violates Title VII of the US Code7 , and so I wonder why I cannot own a slave from my own nation . . . is my only alternative to owning a slave from a neighboring nation to marry one of my own nationality? Notwithstanding the provision referring to slaves from a neighboring nation, a friend of mine claims that Leviticus 25:44 applies only to Mexicans, not to Canadians. I think he may be raciest and an immigration restrictionist. Why else would he want to keep Canadians out and allow Mexicans to come in? And why can't I own a Canadian, especially an educated one who will contribute to the good of the American society and pay taxes and speak our language, and look like us? And how about Scots? Now there's a hearty lot - and I among them, with my heritage in the noble Murray Clan of Atholl8 - but I guess Scotland isn't a "neighboring nation" anyway, so I need not be concerned about possibly enslaving the children of my ancestors. Instead, I'll look to my next door neighbor, Josť9, to provide me my slaves from south of the border, because Mexico is a neighboring land, even if it is not a neighborly land. I don't like cold weather, so I won't venture northward to Canada. Besides, Canadians demand too high salaries and say "aroond" and "aboot" and "eh?". And some are from Newfoundland.

Applying the concept of biblically-sanctioned slavery to our present immigration system, it seems unnecessary to purchase slaves, when they willfully cross the southern border by foot, motor vehicle and airplane of their own free will, expressly intent upon finding employment where ever and what ever, for what ever wage is offered. Or - in the case of some unscrupulous H-1Bs10 - sometimes for less than that which is "offered".

Of course, the carrot of prosperity held over the border on the stick opportunity is a powerful magnet, luring people from all over the world to enter the USA any way they can. Once here, protected by our laws more than plagued by them, they can openly stand on street corners, protected by the 4th Amendment to the Constitution, unmolested, seeking employment, even though they are not employment authorized. It's almost like carrying a big sign that says, "Hey, I'm illegal, got no papers, can't find a real job, so hire me as a day laborer and I'll work for you cheap.11" As an added perk, they can participate in our country's economic prosperity, drive on our roads without driver's licenses or insurance, while enjoying all the social and political freedom (some even vote) offered to tax paying US citizens, not to mention free access to the soup kitchens, free medical clinics and food stamps and SSI for US citizen children, gratuitously offered by the most hospitable and companionate country on earth. It makes me proud to be an American.

In context with the proposed Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) I wonder, should these alien slaves be allowed to earn credits toward a "path to citizenship12" for their years of toil in sweatshops, gardens, kitchens and poultry factories? - Credits that would allow them to purchase their bondage from their masters? Yes 'um, yes 'um. Sure do, says the liberal left pinko commies, as they take us one step closer to Lenin's tomb. No way, Jose, says the righteous right, with God on their side, and its mighty self-appointed leaders such as Lou Dobbs and Pat Robertson, as they slice and dice their way through humanity without care or concern, like O.J. on a Saturday night in Brentwood. No way will these right-wingers ever agree to allow the slaves to purchase their indenture so long as employers are not sanctioned by the wrath of God, or at least the US immigration service.

I would like to sell my youngest daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in the Bible by Exodus 21:7. But in this day and age, I wonder what would be a fair price to ask for her13? I certainly could not sell her in America, because thanks to Abraham Lincoln, we have civil laws prohibiting slavery. We know that parents in some countries, pursuant to cultural laws, sell their daughters into slavery. In Afghanistan14 they call it "marriage," but a 10 year old? They justify this practice as a means of supporting their war-torn and destitute families, but I doubt the price they get over there for their offspring would be attractive to an American immigration lawyer as his road to retirement, so I guess I'll keep practicing law and my daughter can marry her tattooed biker boyfriend in Fontana15. He's an illegal Mexican, so he'll have to return to Mexico to file the I-601 waiver. I doubt it will be approved. That will solve my problem.

I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. He is not an illegal alien, but I think at one time he was. According to the Bible, in Exodus 35:2 it clearly states he must be put to death. I wonder, should I kill him? And I wonder further, if I work on the Sabbath in my law office am I morally obligated to kill him myself? Perhaps that would depend upon whether I am Christian, Jew or Muslim, but on this point I am unclear and since I am none of the above, I guess it doesn't much matter, except as an intellectual exercise. Anyway, suicide is against the laws of man and if I commit suicide I will no doubt be prosecuted. I wonder what sentence I would receive. I think I need a good criminal lawyer.

In furtherance of that endeavor, and since most illegal aliens are either Christian, Jew or Muslim, perhaps I should cross reference the Bible16 with the Koran17 and the Torah18. But a more important question is, should we allow those who have broken, or those who prospectively intend, on arrival in the United States, to break the Sabbath, to enter the United States as either nonimmigrants or as immigrants? That's a serious question, because they have broken, or are intending to break the law of God and therefore cannot be of "good moral character," so how could they ever become US citizens? Worse, those who have demonstrated "preconceived intent" have committed visa fraud at the very least and are barred from admissibility or once here, to adjustability under the immigration laws, because that's the law of the land (INA 245, et al. and 8 CFR 245, et al. - read'em and weep). Perhaps it would make a difference if the Sabbath work was performed by an alien after arriving in the US with no provable preconceived intent, in lawful nonimmigrant such as an J, L, H or E, or whether the work was performed by an illegal or an overstay, or whether or not they subsequently married an American citizen after breaking the Sabbath, thus making them INA 245(c) exempt if the illegals had some sort of a qualifying application filed on their behalf before April 30, 2001, or if not, then if they made an inspected entry, because INA 245(i) eligibility is no longer available to those not grandfathered in. There could be a law drafted that would address this and it would most likely be as convoluted and confusing as the previous sentence. I'll propose it to my Congressman when he sobers up and perhaps he will enlist my services to assist in the drafting of the law, but I doubt it; I didn't contribute enough to his campaign last year.

Leviticus 21:20 troubles me because it states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that before I had lasic surgery, my vision was 20/400. I guess that's a defect. Does it matter if the defect was caused by God at birth, or by man after birth? But I don't have that defect any more. Now, my sight is 20/20 at a distance, but since I am over 50 (well over 50), I need to wear reading glasses (I buy them at the car wash for ten bucks) for close up work. Is this still considered by the Bible as a defect? Or is it just old age? Do I blame God, or do I thank God that I am not blind? Again, I'm confused. While I don't believe this defect was not caused by God (or maybe it was) it was not corrected by man and is therefore still a defect, because my sight is not perfect and according to consumer protection laws, products that are not perfect are defective, especially if they cause injury. Just ask Ford Motor Company19. So far my far-sightedness has not caused injury. Knock, knock on wood and reach for the white cane. Of one thing I am certain; my 20/20 hindsight vision has always been good and I once again wonder, does my vision need to be 20/20 all around to approach God's alter, or is there some wiggle room here? Does this rule apply as well to persons from neighboring lands? Even if they are slaves? I'm really confused on that point.

We learned as children that the Bible says rich men (it is unclear if this applies to women) have as much chance of entering the Kingdom of God as does a camel passing through the eye of a needle (Matthew 19:24), therefore I guess immigration lawyers will never see the Kingdom (Lord knows we're all rich, with the fees we charge), since I can't even thread a needle with my poor close-up eyesight, even with my reading glasses on. So I guess Leviticus 21:20 applies to me, because I am not 20/20 up close. In fact, up close, I'm not sure what I am.

Comparing these Bible quotes is getting burdensome and I am getting more and more confused as to how to balance all this against my need to make a living practicing immigration law and my desire to assist law-abiding aliens achieve the American dream while at the same time following the letter of the law. Well, I guess it was a dream before the financial crisis. Now, it seems China has the edge and is holding the US hostage with their ownership of more US Treasury Bonds than the entire national debt when Bill Clinton left office. Go figure. As to hostages, the Bible at 2 Kings 14:14 says, "He took all the gold and silver and all the articles found in the temple of the Lord and in the treasuries of the royal palace. He also took hostages and returned to Samaria." It kind of sounds like what the Bush administration did during its eight-year reign of terror on the US Treasury.

I wonder if China will actually take hostages, or will they only use their power to ransom concessions by the US government. I wonder if those concessions will require the US to give permanent residence to 12 million Chinese as a part of any proposed CIR compromise? It seems China is in a better bargaining position on that point than Mexico, yet this is exactly what Mexico wants the US to do. Again, I'm confused and I really didn't know how the Bible would resolve this, until I read Numbers 35:32, which says, "Do not accept a ransom for anyone who has fled to a city of refuge and so allow him to go back and live on his own land before the death of the high priest." I wonder if this applies to Mexicans or Chinese?

I, as most of my male friends except Hippie Rick20, get my hair trimmed (but not often enough - a throwback to the late '60s, I guess), including the hair around my graying temples and the tips of my beard when I have one, even though this is expressly forbidden by the Word of God in Leviticus 19:27. The book of Leviticus does not suggest any punishment for cutting my hair, but if it is keeping with other passages of the Bible that deal with the breaking of God's laws, I guess it will result in my death. How then should I die? In Palestine, young boys would gladly stone me to death if I were Jewish, but what to do with a Christian poses a real problem, unless, of course, I were viewed as a nonbeliever (Koran 4.89-4.91; 17.33; 27.21) and could be dealt with accordingly under Muslim law - thank God I'm not in Iran, Iraq or Afghanistan, or Palestine for that matter.

I guess the Koran would cover atheists, since they would be considered nonbelievers even more than Christians and Jews, since God and Allah appear to be the same - at least to everyone but Muslims. Of course, illegal aliens, even atheist ones, who either escaped or survived a stoning could apply for Political Asylum in the US, so long as they had "dry feet21," and upon the showing of a well founded fear (of what I'm not quite sure), could skate right on to a Green Card on the basis of religious persecution - especially the atheists, because everyone persecutes them. But at least due to the social and political freedom in America, they could let their hair grow to any length they want, a'la 1969, or shave it all off, a'la 2009, Leviticus 19:27 notwithstanding.

But they still can't get married to a same sex partner because in the Bible, 1 Timothy 1:10 says, "The law is for people who are sexually immoral, or who practice homosexuality, or are slave traders, liars, promise breakers, or who do anything else that contradicts the wholesome teaching." However, if they die and arise from the dead, they won't have to worry about that, because according to Mark 12:25, when the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. The Bible does not say if this applies to persons from foreign lands who have been welcomed to the United States, and who have become US citizens, but it can be expected that due process of law applies here, so I wonder if even gay people can become angels, but only if they arise from the dead, but even then if they are not rich and can't get their camel through the eye of a needle.

Thank God, in America, we have rights, guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, unlike in biblical days and before the Tea Party. I've often thought that in addition to BC and AD, there should be TP. But all we have is Temporary Protected Status (TPS)22 for some lucky Hondurans and a few other select countries whose citizens have suffered the wrath of God - but not the victims of the recent hurricanes and now the earthquake in Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, where some people (the ones with "wet feet23," are dying to get assistance from the USA. Somehow it all seems so ironic.

Speaking of the wrath of God, Romans 1:18 says, "The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness . . ." I wonder if God sees US employers who knowingly violate immigration laws by hiring undocumented aliens as being wicked? Certainly, they are suppressing the truth, if not outright lying and cheating on their taxes. Perhaps they will suffer the wrath of God and ICE can back off and let the chips fall as they may.

I understand from Leviticus 11:7 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean. I certainly don't want to be unclean, but wonder if may I still play football if I wear gloves? Or are footballs now made of some synthetic product, thereby making my concern moot? Perhaps soccer is the ultimate solution, since only a shoed foot touches the ball, and this Bible verse most likely accounts for this sport's invention back in the days when pigs still died for the sake of the game of American football. Upon inquiry, I have been assured that Soccer shoes are not made of pigskin. In fact, no shoes I know of are made of pig skin, except Hush Puppies24. Can I still wear Hush Puppies? And if I do, am I subject to stoning, as authorized in Leviticus 24:16? Perhaps, but only if I blaspheme God. How this relates to immigration, I do not know, except that many of the best soccer players, and fans, are aliens, and some are even immigration lawyers.

And finally, my uncle Mort (yes, the one who is sawed off and short and brews up a gallon or two - Mountain Dew25, that is) has a farm in Indiana. He routinely violates Leviticus 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend) - her dresses also have buttons instead of hooks, but I won't pursue that subject until I find myself in Amish Country, around Goshen, Indiana26. Uncle Mort also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot, as mid-western farmers are prone to do . . . I think it's because they spend a lot of time out in the fields alone, wishing some of those Mexican, Canadian and Scottish slaves wanted to toil the cold and icy fields of northern Indiana, rather than the warm, sunny valleys of California or the balmy citrus groves of northern Florida.

I wonder if it is really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone these perpetrators (Leviticus 24:16), uncle Mort included? Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair, as we are supposed to do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Leviticus 20:14). Well, to be safe, I'll just not eat anything that is planted, I'll go naked, keep my mouth shut and sleep alone. Life will be spare, cold, boring and lonely, but I am sure to be sainted and in my next life I will assuredly return in a form higher than my present caste of immigration lawyer.

I know, I might be accused of blasphemy and I'm therefore damned and going to Hell, all because I do not understand the connection between immigration and the Bible, if in fact there is one, and if the Bible is the law of the land, or if the Immigration & Nationality Act27 is the law of the land. But if I have blasphemed the name of the Lord, then I apologize to Him and to you, dear reader, and I beg you consider providing me an Amnesty for my transgressions and to not carry out the punishment (which might be compared to deportation, only a little more final) mandated by Leviticus 24:16, which says, "And he that blasphemeth the name of the Lord, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him: as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name of the Lord, shall be put to death." I just wonder who the "stranger" is - could he be a Mexican? It seems the stranger, the Mexican28, is being singled out, even though it I, the Anglo, who stands accused of blasphemy, once again proving, there just ain't no such thing as justice, especially because the punishment is death.

Yes, God's Word is eternal and unchanging and as we can see, may often be directly applicable to immigration and the issues immigration lawyers face on a daily basis, both practically and philosophically. But beware the false profits, err . . . I mean, prophets and distortions of even the holiest book in the world. Now, drink three Bloody Mary's and go out and sin no more29. Peace be with you30 in your quest for CIR and beyond.

End Notes

1The Bible has many versions and translations. In writing this article, quotations of Bible passages were taken from various versions of the many commercially published books that collectively appear to be accepted as "The Bible".

2While the Bible passages referred to are believed to be correct, commentary on them is intended to be humorous and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the author. If you don't have a sense of humor, don't read this article.


4While the author speaks in the first person, the opinions and anecdotes contained in this article are fictions of the author's imagination and bear no relation to reality. Again, If you don't have a sense of humor, don't read this article.



7The Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Pub.L. 88-352, 78 Stat. 241, July 2, 1964)




11They don't really carry such signs, but you can see it in their eyes.


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About The Author

David D. Murray is an attorney at law, with offices in Newport Beach, California, just south of Los Angeles. Mr. Murray has been a successful practitioner and consultant in connection with business and immigration matters since 1978. His law practice has an emphasis on Business and General Civil Litigation, Copyright, Trademark, and Trade Secrets Litigation, Contracts, International Transactions, and Business and Family Immigration. When not practicing law, or otherwise engaged in business endeavors, Mr. Murray is an avid Harley-Davidson motorcycle rider, collector of Chinese art, amateur guitarist and banjo picker, writer, poet, philosopher, backpacker, hiker, sailor, skier, and lover of the great outdoors.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.