The story of Iowa City pastor Max Villatoro captured hearts inside and outside the Mennonite Church this spring. Many were outraged when “Pastor Max,” as he became known, was picked up outside his home by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents and later unjustly deported to Honduras, separating him from his four U.S. citizen children.
For others, Pastor Max’s case brought tension between the biblical call to welcome the stranger (e.g., Exodus 22:21, Matthew 25:35) and to follow the rule of law (Romans 13). One email I received asked: “Why was Max Villatoro here 20 years, but he still is not a US citizen?”
That is an excellent question – without an easy answer.