Immigration is one of the most pressing issues on the national agenda. In this accessible book, an internationally recognized immigration expert helps readers think biblically about this divisive issue, offering accessible, nuanced, and sympathetic guidance for the church. As both a Guatemalan and an American, the author is able to empathize with both sides of the struggle and argues that each side has much to learn.
This updated and revised edition reflects changes from the past five years, responds to criticisms of the first edition, and expands sections that have raised questions for readers. It includes a foreword by Samuel Rodríguez and an afterword by Ronald Sider. This timely, clear, and compassionate resource will benefit all Christians who are thinking through the immigration issue.
Foreword by Samuel Rodríguez
Preface to the Second Edition
1. Hispanic Immigration
Invasion or Opportunity?
2. Of Immigrants, Refugees, and Exiles
Guidance from the Old Testament, Part I
3. The Law and the Sojourner
Guidance from the Old Testament, Part II
4. Welcoming the Stranger
Guidance from the New Testament
5. Where Do We Go from Here?
Afterword by Ronald J. Sider
Appendix: Selected Resources
"The issue of immigration has been one of the most complex issues to navigate for Christians committed to truth, justice, and mercy. As an evangelical leader, I am profoundly appreciative that Danny Carroll has provided an insightful treatise grounded in biblical erudition and pastoral sensibilities. Christians at the Border is one of the most compelling and welcome contributions in the national dialogue concerning immigration."
Rev. Gabriel Salguero, president, National Latino Evangelical Coalition (NaLEC)
"M. Daniel Carroll R.'s second edition of Christians at the Border could not be coming out at a more crucial time in our country's history, when evangelicals of all political stripes are joining together to push for sensible immigration reform. This updated version reinforces the biblical call for Christians to 'welcome the stranger' and further lays out the case for viewing our country's immigration policy through the lens of Scripture. As the son of an immigrant, as an academic, and as a theologian, Carroll deftly paints a picture of the struggles and merits of Hispanic immigration and why the American church benefits by embracing these brothers and sisters. This is a must-read for any Christian who is interested in immigration reform."
Jim Wallis, president and founder, Sojourners; author of On God's Side: What Religion Forgets and Politics Hasn't Learned about Serving the Common Good
"Immigration is one of the most urgent issues affecting the church in the United States today. Christians at the Border challenges Christ-followers to address the topic, first and foremost, as Christians committed to the authority of Scripture. Daniel Carroll combines thorough analysis of the biblical texts related to immigrants and immigration with a deep, personal understanding of the many ways that immigration affects people made in God's image. Every Christian seeking an informed, biblical understanding of this complex topic should read this book."
Matthew Soerens, US church training specialist, World Relief; coauthor of Welcoming the Stranger: Justice, Compassion, and Truth in the Immigration Debate
"As Christians, our decisions for politics, ministry to the afflicted, and church engagement must begin with a thorough biblical study on the subject. This book sets the biblical foundation for understanding the issue of immigration, so that we start from the same point as together we explore difficult questions about this issue. The second edition also includes examples of how some evangelical communities are applying these biblical implications. Carroll's book is a tool for communities who are seeking to first ask the right questions and then fulfill the Great Commandment and the Great Commission with the immigrants among us. Thank you, hermanito!"
Alejandro (Alex) Mandes, executive director, Immigrant Hope, immigranthope.org
"As a Christian who cares about justice and the church's ministry to immigrants living in our nation, I am so grateful for Danny Carroll's book, Christians at the Border, which offers a biblical and compelling case for God's concern for those on the margins of society. A must-read!"
Noel Castellanos, CEO, Christian Community Development Association (CCDA)
"Christians at the Border dialogues fairly with other views and offers a sensitive and balanced call to Christian ethics on immigration. The book both examines direct commands in Scripture and highlights biblical models and principles, the same way that nineteenth-century biblical abolitionists argued their case for justice."
Craig Keener, professor of New Testament, Asbury Theological Seminary
"Danny Carroll's lovely Christians at the Border is the best available treatment of how Christians should feel, think, and act concerning the issue of immigration. In a remarkably concise way, Carroll offers key historical, legal, and (most importantly) biblical considerations relevant to Christian engagement with immigration--and immigrants. The book is enriched profoundly by the author's own bicultural background and perspective, which makes it possible for him to speak to both Hispanic and Anglo readers with equal insight and grace. This is the book that needs to be in every Christian's hands right now as our legislatures debate immigration--and in the days and years that follow."
David P. Gushee, Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics and director, Center for Theology and Public Life, Mercer University
"This book is a must-read for pastors and parishioners, and also for politicians and policy-makers. The cry for justice that echoes through the pages of the Bible resounds afresh through the scholarly care with which Danny Carroll makes his compelling case in Christians at the Border. Just and comprehensive immigration reform remains an urgent and pressing concern in the United States and beyond, and Carroll nourishes the debate with a clear and convincing analysis of the biblical imperatives that call for the church to be firm in its advocacy on behalf of our immigrant sisters and brothers."
Jean-Pierre Ruiz, St. John's University, New York
"In a crowded field of raised, often strident voices debating the 'immigrant problem,' M. Daniel Carroll R. wades in, joining other Christian Latina/o scholars, to remind us that the church has a responsibility to view important issues through interpretive lenses that differ from the world's. The Bible, not political wrangling or economic benefits, must be the determining lens for the church. In his book, Carroll argues that when analyzed through scriptural texts, immigration is never about resolving a problem but about heeding God's mandate for hospitality and care for the neighbor. Through careful exegetical work, Carroll reminds us that we all are sojourners, challenged to cross the borders of intolerance and xenophobia and ultimately subject to the divine mandate that we are each our brothers' and sisters' keepers. Evangelicals in particular and Christians in general will appreciate its timely argument."
Loida I. Martell-Otero, professor of constructive theology, Palmer Theological Seminary, Eastern University
"With scholarly depth and pastoral sensitivity, Carroll helps us understand not only the complex dimensions of migration but also how it brings us face-to-face with the crucified and risen Lord in our midst. Taking us beyond polemical debates, he examines our current policies in light of biblical faith and the gift and challenges of the reign of God. As this book becomes more and more of a classic in studies in theology and migration, it calls us to see the God who migrated to us in the Incarnation and in turn invites us to a homeward journey marked by compassion and solidarity."
Daniel G. Groody, CSC, associate professor of theology, University of Notre Dame
Praise for the First Edition
"With a foot in both cultures and a sensitivity to the arguments of all sides, Carroll presents Christians at the Border to sort through the complicated and confusing immigration debate with nuance. He goes further than many studies by examining the question with a theological and biblical eye, a factor frequently ignored in what is often a shrill debate. Perspective is what such a complicated discussion requires, and that is what this book delivers. Read and learn."
Darrell Bock, executive director of cultural engagement and senior research professor of New Testament studies, Dallas Theological Seminary
"Immigration issues grip American politics and opinions. But what does the Bible say? What is at the heart of the Christian view on immigration? Danny Carroll's voice on this issue is like no other. He is bilingual and bicultural; he is a Bible scholar and a committed Christian. Let him help shape your thinking and challenge your heart to be thoroughly Christian."
Leith Anderson, president, National Association of Evangelicals; pastor, Wooddale Church
"Combining prophetic zeal with a tender, pastoral tone, Professor Carroll calls on Christians to adopt a distinctively Christian disposition to the issue of undocumented immigrants and even more importantly to the people who find themselves in this situation. He argues convincingly that for Christians, the ethic of compassion and commitment to the well-being of the marginalized must take precedence over legality. If we heed his plea, immigrants will know when they encounter us that they have crossed the border into a land of distinctively gracious people."
Daniel I. Block, Gunther H. Knoedler Professor of Old Testament, Wheaton College Graduate School
"Danny Carroll's goal of providing Christians with a biblical and theological framework to participate in the US immigration debate as Christians is met brilliantly in Christians at the Border. He addresses both the complexities of the issues related to migration in a globalized world--within the specific history of the United States--and the broader biblical perspective that begins with the reality that all humans are created in the image of God. Even as he acknowledges that the Bible does not give us a specific policy blueprint, he demonstrates that Scripture provides important and clear principles that allow us to address the issue from a Christian perspective. Carroll recognizes that the political debate is complex, but he challenges us to use Scripture as the basis for our response instead of the positions advocated by our political perspectives. He invites us to balance respect for US law with the need to use biblical principles to work toward a change in immigration laws. Christians at the Border provides Christians of various political perspectives a framework from which to begin a conversation together about how to address the issue of immigration in the United States."
Juan Francisco Martínez, associate provost for diversity and international programs and associate professor of Hispanic studies and pastoral leadership, Fuller Theological Seminary
"Professor Carroll's grasp of the problems presented by immigration--political, economic, and familial--is balanced, restrained, and profound. On one level the book is a thorough presentation of the 'secular' facts, and on a deeper level those facts and problems are brought into contact with biblical and theological insight. Evangelicals will be well informed on both levels. Catholic leaders, too, with their steadily developed approach to the same problem, will find in Professor Carroll a complementary and supporting vision. The need for a specifically Christian approach, a vision of the welcoming of the stranger, is evident, and Professor Carroll supplies that need admirably. Protestants and Catholics of all political leanings need to pay attention to this book."
William M. Shea, director, Center for Religion, Ethics, and Culture, College of the Holy Cross
"This is a very well researched book. Danny Carroll R. has the kind of scholarly background in biblical studies and cultural anthropology that the subject calls for. He articulates well the facts, questions, and perspectives. He proposes answers, or at least gives suggestions, that are both compassionate and realistic, and he does so from a soundly biblical and distinctly Christian point of view. But this is not just a well-researched book. The author has both personal history and experience that make him the right person to approach the current immigration issues in a penetrating and sympathetic way. This man and his book deserve serious consideration in the current debate."
Richard E. Averbeck, professor of Old Testament and Semitic languages and director of the PhD (theological studies) program, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
"It is easy to look at the immigration issue through the lens of economics, national security, or even national identity. But Christ's followers are obligated to look at the issue through the lens of Scripture. As we do, we find not only that this topic is close to the heart of God but also that his laws have implications for the way we should respond today. In this biblical primer on immigration, Danny Carroll does not make policy recommendations but does provide attitude checks for believers as we enter the great immigration debate taking place in our country. With the skill of a biblical scholar, the heart of a prophet, and the rich background of a Guatemalan-American, Dr. Carroll speaks Solomonesque wisdom that will help us all."
Don Sweeting, president, Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando
"Christians at the Border is a timely, must-read book for the church in the United States. Hispanic immigration is having an impact on every facet of the American landscape. The thinking of many American citizens concerning Hispanic immigration is being shaped by heated and emotional political debate both locally and nationally. There seems to be no easy solution to this issue, and political demagogues only make matters worse by creating a culture of fear and anxiety for both citizens and immigrants. M. Daniel Carroll R.'s book helps us think through this complex issue clearly and soberly by presenting a well-documented historical and biblical perspective on immigration and people movements. This book will help the American church see God's heart on this matter and act sensibly, compassionately, and biblically toward the stranger or alien living and working among us."
Dennis J. Rivera, district superintendent of the Central Latin American District Council of the Assemblies of God, Denver, Colorado