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President Obama Cites the Bible in Immigration Speech

President Obama Cites the Bible in Immigration Speech

U.S. President Barack Obama announces executive actions on U.S. immigration policy during a nationally televised address from the White House in Washington, November 20, 2014. Obama outlined a plan on Thursday to ease the threat of deportation for about 4.7 million undocumented immigrants. | (Photo: Reuters/Jim Bourg)

President Barack Obama appealed to the Good Book on Thursday evening when he addressed the nation regarding his executive order on immigration amnesty.

During his speech, Obama alluded to the Old Testament law that mandated that the Ancient nation of Israel look after the foreigners among them.

"Scripture tells us that we shall not oppress a stranger, for we know the heart of a stranger –- we were strangers once, too," said Obama.

"My fellow Americans, we are and always will be a nation of immigrants. We were strangers once, too. And whether our forebears were strangers who crossed the Atlantic, or the Pacific, or the Rio Grande, we are here only because this country welcomed them in, and taught them that to be an American is about something more than what we look like, or what our last names are, or how we worship."

Numerous passages of the Bible command believers to welcome the strangers among them, including Deuteronomy 10: 19 and Leviticus 19:34.

On Thursday, Obama spoke about an executive order he decided to issue that would grant a pathway to legal status for about 5 million immigrants who entered the country illegally.

The order also involved deporting undocumented immigrants with a criminal background and granting temporary citizenship for those with children born in the United States, known as "DREAMers."

The president has garnered praise from some groups for advancing objectives on immigration reform that have stalled in Congress.

He also has garnered criticism from others for reportedly overstepping his constitutional authority and bypassing Congress, specifically a Congress that will have a Republican majority in both houses next year.

Obama is not the first executive official to quote the Bible's stance on immigration when justifying a policy position on the matter.

In July, when offering to provide shelter for the undocumented minors who had entered the country, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick had similarly quoted the Bible.

"My faith teaches that if a stranger dwells with you in your land, you shall not mistreat him, but rather love him as yourself," stated Patrick.


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