One of the most heartening things about the immigrants rights movement today is the involvement by U.S. citizens who are people of faith. Thousands turned out in the streets around the country -- side by side with immigrants -- to demand humane immigration reform and to express outrage at Arizona legislation that cracks down on immigrants. The concern for immmigrants' rights is mirrored in migration theology, a growing area of scholarship that examines what the Bible has to say about how we treat "the stranger among us."
Migration theologians frequently cite Leviticus 19: 33-34. "When an alien lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him. The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt. I am the Lord your God."
The focus of migration theology is on the treatment of the "alien" in terms of charity and justice; they need our help and, according to the Biblical tradition of hospitality, we must respond. (See NCR, September 18, 2009, "Theology in the Age of Migration.")