Servant Leadership and Presidential Immigration Politics: Inspiration from the Foot-Washing Ritual

01 Jan 2019

President Donald Trump’s immigration agenda has been criticized by pundits and scholars alike and has been thwarted by courts concerned about executive overreach. This Article contributes to this chorus of critics by viewing the current immigration regime from a Christian perspective on servant leadership, contrary to the stereotype that Christianity necessarily aligns with any one particular political brand. Jesus Christ’s entreaty that his disciples wash each other’s feet provides a useful lens through which to evaluate whether this Administration’s work effectively advances communitarianism, a value consistent with Christian immigration ethics. An examination of a range of immigration policies—from the Muslim Ban, to the separation of children and parents, to the prosecution of Good Samaritans as unlawful harborers—suggests it is difficult to defend the current regime on communitarian grounds as these policies seem gratuitously cruel. Indeed, this manufactured migrant suffering calls for the embrace of an alternative Christian value—cosmopolitanism—in recognition of the intrinsic worth of all human beings.