Torah For Today: Criminals being deported, leaving family behind
Under the Nationality and Borders Bill, foreign criminals will no longer be able to cite human rights to avoid being deported.
So, what does the Torah say about criminals being deported, leaving their family behind?
To deport anyone from the land in which they grew up is, in old-fashioned terms, to exile them. Saul pursued David as a suspect usurper and David complained: “For they have banished me from treading on the Lord’s inheritance.”
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When sought by the authorities for the crime of fratricide, Prince Absalom fled to his grandfather, the king of Geshur.
Jacob was obliged to exile for more than two decades, for having appropriated Esau’s blessings and earned his hate. His return home was tense and frightening.
Moses was banished from his home for a similar period and parted from his family, which caused considerable grief for them. He did not believe that his brother would be happy to see him after all those years had passed. So much so, that God had to insist: “Go out to meet your brother Aaron, and when he sees you, he will be happy, inwardly.”
Moses foresaw that fraternal separation following banishment dampens the outwardly expressed joy of reunion. But God knows the innermost struggle of the self, and sees what we don’t.
Torah law insists that immigrants are treated with the same consideration and support as the native citizen, and that we should love them as ourselves. The foreigner is, however, bound by the Noahide laws, and infringement of those can prove fatal.
Thus, the right to acquire a new citizenship is not automatic, and relies upon a requirement to respect the law of the land in which you choose to live, and failure to do so may incur a permanent severance from one’s family by exile or deportation.
- Rabbi Ariel Abel CF works at Liverpool Legal, a law practice in Liverpool associated with E Rex Makin & Co Solicitors