Patrick Garry
The Nativity’s real lesson on immigration
By Patrick Garry
January 8, 2022

We never tire of hearing the Nativity story about the birth of Christ. It is perhaps the most beloved of all biblical stories. And its power and inspiration make the whole world a better place, if even for only a day.

Like all powerful stories, the Nativity story is often used to apply to some contemporary cause or issue. Recently, the story has been used to promote an immigration lecture by the Left, which is usually the last group to cite biblical messages. Nonetheless, this past Christmas season liberals lectured that America violates the Nativity lesson when enforcing its immigration laws at the southern border. To liberals, apparently, the Nativity lesson means that America should abandon any border enforcement and open the country to anyone who wishes to enter, at any time. By not welcoming any and all comers, America acts like the much-reviled innkeeper, who told Joseph and Mary that there was no room at the inn.

This application of the Nativity story, however, is misplaced. And it is misplaced because the Left confuses the roles of the different actors in that story.

Two outside events occur in the Nativity story that force Joseph and Mary into the stable. The first event is the census, which brought Joseph and Mary from Nazareth to Bethlehem and in need of accommodations. The second event was the denial of the innkeeper, who refused a room at the inn. As generation after generation have retold the Nativity story, no one ever criticizes the census. No one ever claims that the census was unjust. Instead, all criticism focuses on the innkeeper. Consequently, to the Left, the customs agents at the border and the nation’s immigration laws are akin to the unkind and uncaring innkeeper. But that is not the appropriate analogy.

The nation’s immigration laws are more like the census requirement in the Nativity story. These are the laws that legitimately govern the movement and accounting of citizens or residents of a nation or kingdom. On the other hand, the innkeeper represents what happens to people once they have complied with their nation’s or kingdom’s laws. How are people to be treated once they come to occupy a place to which they have been legally required or admitted?

No one disputes that Joseph and Mary were rightfully required to be in Bethlehem; but once there, the innkeeper treated them with indifference to their wellbeing and safety. Now, to analogize the actions of the innkeeper with the events taking place in modern America, it is the Left that exhibits a similar kind of indifference. In fact, the Left goes one step beyond the innkeeper in its indifference.

The Left isn’t just denying the refugee or abandoning the refugee; the Left is exploiting the refugee. Despite all the criticism of the Right for attempting to enforce the nation’s immigration laws, the Left has never, not once, put forth a specific legislative reform package. Not once has the Left committed itself to any kind of immigration law reform. Instead, the Left sits back and lobs accusations of racism whenever the Right seeks to enforce immigration laws. The Left uses the plight and sufferings of refugees not to change the law but to exploit that plight for political purposes – for the aim of painting conservatives as racist and thereby solidifying the votes of racial minorities.

Pushing to get any and all comers into this country, as long as they are of a racial or ethnic group seen as a Democratic constituency, liberals care little of what happens to these people once they enter the U.S. The Left sentences these new arrivals to a life of poverty and dependency by not making sure they learn and speak the English language – a vital tool for gaining their independence and prosperity in America. The Left restricts the opportunities available to these new arrivals by trapping them in failing public education systems and denying them the same educational choices that elite liberals enjoy. The Left opens the doors of this country to religious-minded immigrants, and then ridicules and marginalizes that religion once the immigrants are settled. The Left restricts the economic freedom of new arrivals by imposing suffocating regulations on the industries and types of work that new arrivals are most likely to pursue. The Left encourages swarms of refugees to mass at the border, where they then flood into border towns in which they will be crowded into overrun housing and schools and hospitals. The Left pronounces the right of refugees to come to the U.S., but then leaves those refugees to compete with increasing numbers of other refugees for the limited jobs available to them.

We all know the innkeeper said no to Joseph and Mary. However, we have no evidence that the innkeeper lied, that in fact there was room at the inn. But the Left is being deceptive to the immigrants and refugees that it pushes to settle in America. The Left wants these new arrivals in America, but it wants to keep them dependent on government aid so that they will be reliable Democratic voters. The Left wants to open the door to America, but does not want that door to lead to freedom, dignity and opportunity.

To listen to the Left on immigration is to discern a message of extreme libertarianism. The Left appears to reject any regulation whatsoever of immigration into this country. But we know that to be false. The Left constantly pushes to expand the reach of governmental regulation throughout society. It makes no sense that liberals would want to completely de-regulate an area that has been regulated since the birth of this nation. No, libertarianism does not explain the Left’s stance on immigration. What explains that stance is raw political self-interest.

Now, which political party in America seems more like the innkeeper?

© Patrick Garry


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Patrick Garry

Patrick Garry is a professor of law at the University of South Dakota, and Director of the Hagemann Center for Legal & Public Policy Research... (more)


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