Right-Wing Populism and Migrant Exclusion

A Christian Theological Critique


  • Caroline Brewster Boston College


Populism, Immigration Rhetoric, Judeo-Christian Values, Historical Jesus


This article will attempt to explain how Right-wing American populists who often pride themselves on their “Judeo-Christian” values have arrived at non-Christian (if not anti-Christian) perspectives on migration. Utilizing Donald M. Kerwin’s contribution to Christianity and the Law of Migration, this article suggests that we can better understand the method of constructing anti-immigrant rhetoric on a perceived Christian foundation through scriptural exegesis. Placing Kerwin’s chapter alongside various scriptural passages and other scholars’ work, this article will propose that Right-wing populists have constructed an ascriptural Jesus in order to justify certain tenets of the Right’s political agenda. One primary tenant of this political agenda is the exclusivism and nationalism inherent in the Right’s anti-immigration policy.