God and the Illegal Alien: United States Immigration Law and a Theology of Politics

Robert Whitaker Heimburger*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Book/ReportBook

8 Citations (Scopus)


Illegal alien: this is what millions of men, women, and children are called under federal United States immigration law. How should Christian ethics respond to illegal immigration? This book tracks the emergence of the concept of the illegal alien in federal United States law, responding with resources from the Christian tradition.

As the alien emerges in medieval English law, where do migrants stand within God’s world? As U.S. Supreme Court Cases responding to Chinese migration make it possible to be an illegal alien, how can authorities govern immigration under God? As legislation enables nationals of neighboring Mexico to be called illegal aliens from the 1960s onward, how can neighbors practice justice and mercy?

A theology of politics points toward answers through readings of biblical passages from Genesis, Deuteronomy, the Psalms, Luke, and 1 Corinthians, read in conversation with Luther, Grotius, Barth, O’Donovan, and more.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages238
ISBN (Electronic)9781316817131
ISBN (Print)9781107176621, 9781316629833
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017

Publication series

NameLaw and Christianity
PublisherCambridge University Press


  • Immigration
  • Law
  • theological interpretation of Scripture
  • Old Testament
  • Hebrew Bible
  • New Testament
  • Immigration Law
  • Nationhood
  • Immigraiton law
  • Legal history
  • Common law
  • Coke, Edward
  • 1 Corinthians
  • Barth
  • territory
  • Chinese immigration
  • Luther
  • Genesis
  • Psalms
  • Deuteronomy
  • international relations
  • Aristotle
  • Grotius, Hugo
  • Luke
  • Christian ethics
  • Moral theology
  • Hobbes
  • political theology
  • Distributive justice
  • Corrective justice
  • Attributive justice
  • US-Mexico borderlands
  • Migration
  • Theology


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