The debate over border control and immigration policies has been a contentious issue in the United States for decades, with passionate arguments on both sides. I’ve written extensively on this issue before, arguing that a biblical worldview on immigration means that “securing our borders, punishing illegal immigrants for their unlawful entry and any subsequent criminality, ending sanctuary cities, and ensuring that no tax dollars collected from American citizens go to fund services for illegal aliens should be the top priorities for all Christian-based immigration ethics and advocacy.”
Despite the long-standing and even festering nature of this issue in American life, our political leaders have yet to identify or implement lasting solutions to secure our southern border. Some officials even estimate that “more than 6 million illegal immigrants have crossed our southern border in just 3 years. That is more than the population of 33 different States in this country. This illegal refusal to protect the States has inflicted unprecedented harm on the People all across the United States.”
Despite this invasion, progressive evangelicals continue to advocate for amnesty for illegal aliens and go so far as to paint Christians who desire a secure border as “xenophobic” or “racist.”
Nothing could be further from the truth. On the contrary, it’s not only good and just to desire a secure border, but Christians should pray to God that He would show us mercy as a nation and move in the hearts of our civil authorities such that they would secure the border once and for all.
As Christians, the call to prayer for the purpose of seeking divine guidance is a foundational aspect of our faith and practice. In 1 Timothy 2:1-3 the Bible not only commands us to pray for those who are in authority, but it goes as far as to instruct us on what we should pray for. Let’s take a closer look at this passage and see how one of its most immediate and practical applications for Christians in America today is to pray for a secure border.
2 Timothy 2:1-3: A prayer for peaceful and quiet lives
Written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and carrying the authority of God Himself as Scripture, Paul instructs Timothy and the Church today in 1 Timothy 2:1-3 like so:
“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.”
It’s good to be politically engaged: To go to rallies, to write petitions, and to vote. But when was the last time you prayed for those in political authority? For your mayor, your governor, your congressman, or the President? Remember that God rules over all earthly powers, and He can change their hearts — or their policies — in a moment: “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will” (Proverbs 29:1).
You should never become so focused on the day-to-day realities of earthly politics that you forget to come before the Heavenly King and pray for those who have been given authority — and who will answer to Him.
But what should you pray for?
Paul emphasizes the importance of prayer and intercession for those in authority, that “we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” Christians are called to pray for leaders and the result of those prayers, and their leadership, would be the overall well-being of society. This biblical foundation sets the stage for considering prayer for a closed border to achieve peaceful and quiet lives in contemporary America.
Application to the border crisis
As long as our border remains open, there will be no real peace in America. If we don’t have a secure border, we can hardly call ourselves a sovereign nation. No border, no nation. This is an existential crisis.
Border cities and states have been overrun by the massive influx of illegal aliens. And along with this, comes rising crime, an increase in human trafficking, cartel violence, drug trafficking, and a breakdown in cultural and societal cohesion.
Numerous studies and reports highlight the correlation between illegal immigration and increased crime levels in certain areas. According to the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), there is evidence of a higher crime rate among illegal immigrants, contributing to safety concerns for American citizens.
Drug trafficking is a major concern in the context of illegal immigration and open borders. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) reports that Mexican drug cartels are responsible for a significant portion of the illegal drugs smuggled into the United States. These cartels often exploit illegal immigrants as drug mules, taking advantage of their desperation to enter the country. This poses a significant threat to the peace and security of the United States. The porous border allows for the influx of drugs, leading to a surge in addiction rates and related social issues. By praying for a closed border, Christians seek to address the root cause of this problem and mitigate the impact on individuals and communities.
Specifically, the rising fentanyl crisis in America is directly tied to the open border. The United States is experiencing an increase in the sale of fentanyl-laced opioids. The DEA has issued a public safety warning about this increase, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that in 2020, the number of opioid-related overdose deaths increased from around 50,000 the previous year to nearly 70,000.
As the Council on Foreign Relations reports, “Overdoses involving synthetic opioids, primarily fentanyl, are the leading cause of U.S. deaths in people ages 18-45. In 2021, the overall death toll surged to 80,411, more than ten times the number of U.S. military service members killed in the post-9/11 wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
Most of the illegal fentanyl found in the U.S. is trafficked from Mexico using chemicals sourced from China.
Open borders and lax immigration policies also encourage the movement of human traffickers and their victims across international borders. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) estimates that human trafficking generates approximately $32 billion annually in the United States alone, and the lack of proper documentation and oversight associated with open borders and illegal immigration makes it easier for traffickers to exploit vulnerable populations, especially women and children, and evade detection by law enforcement.
Far from being compassionate, it’s actually cruel. For one, it’s cruel to the illegal immigrants themselves, who are often tricked into coming and extorted by coyotes, cartels, and other criminal elements. Many of them are raped on the journey and later forced into sex trafficking work or to pay off their “travel costs” as indentured servants.
But it’s also cruel to our immediate neighbors, our fellow citizens, when anyone, including our political or economic leaders, encourages illegal aliens, including human traffickers, drug cartels, and gang members, to enter through an open border.
Border towns, in particular, bear the brunt of the challenges associated with illegal immigration. The strain on local resources, law enforcement, and community cohesion can result in unrest and hardship for residents. But the ripple effects extend beyond border areas and are now affecting the entire nation.
For example, Denver Health, a safety net hospital, is losing so much money due to the overwhelming number of illegal migrants it’s had to care for recently that it is now in the red and having to turn away American patients. New York City, which has taken in more than 100,000 migrants since 2022, is trying to shelter them but recently forced some children into remote learning to use their school as a temporary housing site. And Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson, who estimates illegal immigrants cost the city an additional quarter-billion dollars in 2023 alone, expects leaders will either have to cut city services or increase taxes — or both.
So as you can see, praying for a closed border is a plea for stability, harmony, and improved living conditions for all Americans.
If we want to live peaceful and quiet lives in America, we must pray that those in high positions would secure our border. If we want to end the rise in illegal and deadly drugs, human trafficking, and violent crime, we need a secure border.
Therefore, the call for Christians to pray for a closed border is rooted in the biblical directive to seek peace and pray for those in authority, specifically that they would rule in such a way as to secure the conditions that Paul instructs us to pray for.
So, pray for a closed border in these tumultuous times. That is a biblical thing to pray for — don’t let any progressive tell you otherwise. It is an act of obedience to God and love for neighbor.
Originally published at the Standing for Freedom Center.
William Wolfe is a visiting fellow with the Center for Renewing America. He served as a senior official in the Trump administration, both as a deputy assistant secretary of defense at the Pentagon and a director of legislative affairs at the State Department. Prior to his service in the administration, Wolfe worked for Heritage Action for America, and as a congressional staffer for three different members of Congress, including the former Rep. Dave Brat. He has a B.A. in history from Covenant College, and is finishing his Masters of Divinity at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Follow William on Twitter at @William_E_Wolfe