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the crime of illegal immigrants

“If you have the right to divide the world into Italians and strangers, I claim the right to divide the world into the disinherited and oppressed on one side, the privileged and oppressors on the other. The former are my countrymen, the latter my foreigners.”

– Don Lorenzo Milani (1923-1967), Italian catholic priest

“Do not mistreat an alien or oppress him, for you were aliens in Egypt.”

– Bible, book of Exodus, chap. 22, v. 21

Brazilian Government announces amnesty to irregular immigrants on 7/2/09 (photo: Isaac Amorim) This article is motivated by two pieces of news announced almost simultaneously: in Italy, a law was passed which turns into a crime the entry or stay of a foreigner in Italian territory without the proper visa; while in Brazil, an amnesty was sanctioned which grants regular status to about sixty thousand foreigners. My family comes partly from Governador Valadares, a Brazilian city famous for sending many of its citizens abroad, but that is not the only reason I should be sensitive to the painful situation of illegal immigrants throughout the world. As a Christian, I read in many texts in the Bible that the people of God has a duty of protecting the rights of orphans, widows and foreigners. Hospitality is –- or should be -– a Christian virtue.

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