A Call for a National Day of Prayer for Undocumented Migrants Who Are Being Persecuted by Donald Trump

by John Ellis

The White House has called for today (Sunday, 11/1) to be a “National Day of Remembrance for Americans Killed by Illegal Immigrants, 2020”. The proclamation, an obvious ploy to shift the topic of conversation on the eve of the election, which you can read by clicking here, is signed by Donald Trump. Without question, it will create a buzz among his followers, achieving its intended purpose of reminding them why it’s important to get out and vote – according to the subtext, their very way of life and personal safety are in dire jeopardy. For my part, ashamed and disgusted by the pre-election gambit undergirded by racism[1] and self-serving cynicism, I’m calling for tomorrow (Monday, 11/2) to be a National Day of Prayer for Undocumented Migrants Persecuted by the Trump Administration.

First, though, it needs to be pointed out that undocumented migrants commit crimes, including violent crimes, at a much lower rate than “native” born Americans. While any murder is grievous, it’s beyond disingenuous to use the bully pulpit of the White House to stoke anti-immigrant hatred via the suggestion that there is a rash of murders at the hands of undocumented migrants. It is simply not true that American need to fear undocumented migrants. I encourage you to read this report from the Cato Institute about crime rates among undocumented migrants.

For my part, taking my cues from the Parable of the Good Samaritan, I believe that this country is financially capable of welcoming scores of migrants seeking a better, safer life for their families. Whether we as a country are existentially capable is another matter. The material means are there but the spiritual means are anemic across large swaths of this country’s populace. A sea change in priorities would have to sweep the nation before we truly began using the vast financial resources God has given us in the service of those who are hungry and suffering. Matthew 25:31-46 comes to mind.

Growing up, the refrain that the United States of America is the greatest country that has ever existed was drilled into me. This is the land of great opportunity, a meritocracy, where with hard work and determination anyone can better his or her life, I was told. That refrain is still being loudly sung by proud patriots, and it is heard around the world, reaching the ears of those who are suffering under oppressive political regimes, suppressed economies, and overall lack of opportunities. I have two children, and if they were hungry and at risk of violence, I would do everything in my power to improve their lives. Moving my family to the “land of opportunity” would be high on my list. However, some, like Trump, use the word “illegal” as a descriptor for those simply seeking the opportunities that are purportedly afforded in this country. I use the descriptors of brave and honorable. And for those who argue that there is a legal path open to migrants, I daresay that if that’s you, the complexities of the United States’ immigration code and policies are beyond your grasp. They are for me. It’s unrealistic (and may reveal more about your heart than you realize) to expect poor, suffering migrants to understand this country’s immigration policies. In fact, many of them are being manipulated and lied to by coyotes who are taking advantage of their understandable, honorable desire to provide a better life for their loved ones.

So, with those few thoughts jotted down, I now turn to the call for prayer. Below are a few suggestions for how to pray for undocumented migrants. No doubt there are many more that can be offered to our Creator who loves Image Bearers unestimatably more than He loves earthly systems and governments. Please join me and my family tomorrow in praying for our fellow Image Bearers who are being persecuted by the Trump administration.

Pray for the safety and comfort of those who are bravely making the journey to America’s borders. Pray that they will be protected from the predatory intentions of coyotes and that God will keep them safe and secure in their travels. Pray that upon their arrival to the United States they will be welcomed with open arms and treated with compassion and dignity. Pray that they will find the security and opportunites they seek.

No doubt, the reports of migrant children imprisoned in ICE detention centers after their parents were deported have crossed your newsfeeds. If, like me, those reports angered you, please join me in praying for those children and their parents. First and foremost, pray that they will be reunited quickly. Until that day happens, pray that God will protect the children from further trauma by miraculously guarding them against fear and loneliness. Pray that the parents will have wisdom to know how to best facilitate their reunion with their children. Pray that our government will see their sin, repent, and restore the families that our country has broken apart and traumatized.

Pray for the hearts of Americans who are hardened to the suffering of those who do not look like them. Pray that they will cease their worship of a culturally constructed way of life and that they will be convicted to use the resources God has given this country in the service of others. Pray that the descriptor of “good Samaritan” will be able to be applied to more and more Americans.

Pray that Donald Trump will be convicted of his racism and self-serving policies. Pray that he will humble himself before God and repent. If President Trump and his followers refuse to humble themselves before God and repent, pray for God’s imprecation. By God’s grace, we can rest assured that the wicked will face His divine wrath on the final Day, but the Psalms model for us the appropriateness of pleading for God’s justice to be poured on the unrighteous.

Soli Deo Gloria


[1] Aristotle’s theory of abstraction is instructive regarding Trump’s racism with the implicit moved into the explicit. While it’s not explicitly stated, the mental schemas of Trump’s racism are embedded in the content of the proclamation.

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