Saturday, July 16, 2011

A Response to a Friend: Some Thoughts on Immigration

[This was written in response to a friend's challenges regarding an article about the local churches responding to a new anti-immigrant law in Alabama. Article: ]

[AP Photo]

I agree that people with principles usually love others -- so true, thank goodness.

I disagree with "no one is forced to break laws in order to enter another country," though I may not completely understand what you meant. If I was a father or mother abandoned by her husband in Guatemala, who could not provide food for the family because major corporations had displaced me on my farm or because current labor conditions were keeping me in extreme poverty for various reasons, I would definitely be forced to head to another place where I'd have a better chance of providing basics of life for my family, even if it included breaking the law.

I am so grateful because of where I was randomly born that my parents did not have to make that leave everything behind for the chance to be able to feed me or to keep the law. Perhaps if everyone could sponsor children in other countries through World Vision or Compassion, this would be another creative solution that would decrease border crossing.

Regarding California and the nation, the economic contribution from immigrants is significant. Perhaps that is another reason not much is changing very fast. As far as social problems, I am cautious about blaming certain people groups. Makes me very nervous. However, with so many losing their homes through the housing crisis, I cannot even begin to imagine the social problems stemming that, loss of property tax and more, from what many blame greedy banks for doing. Perhaps, some insurance companies are even causing social problems, but I better be quiet because I don't have statistics to back that up.

I have seen and read statistics very well stated and very inaccurate that create more fear and hate of undocumented people. I think if most people would become familiar with Comprehensive Compassionate Immigration Reform, they would really approve. I think a lot of what some people might like to see regarding getting citizenship is in that program.

Thank you for your debate. You speak your perspective kindly and you seem to have a clear perspective. We've both stated these comments before, so I know we are not trying to convince each other of anything or change each other's minds. I just want to be heard. I have heard you, too. Thanks.

From Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform:

Our shared principles include the following:

· We believe all people, regardless of national origin or citizenship status, are made in the "image of God" and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect (Genesis 1:26-27, 9:6).
· We believe there is an undeniable responsibility to love and show compassion for the stranger among us (Deuteronomy 10:18-19, Leviticus 19:33-34, Matthew 25:31-46).
· We believe that immigrants are our neighbors, both literally and figuratively, and we are to love our neighbors as ourselves and show mercy to neighbors in need (Leviticus 19:18, Mark 12:31, Luke 10:25-37).
· We believe in the rule of law, but we also believe that we are to oppose unjust laws and systems that harm and oppress people made in God's image, especially the vulnerable (Isaiah 10:1-4, Jeremiah 7:1-7, Acts 5:29, Romans 13:1-7).

We recognize that the current U.S. immigration system is broken and reform is necessary.

The biblical principles above compel us to support immigration reform legislation that includes the following elements:

· Enforcement initiatives that are consistent with humanitarian values;
· Reforms in our family-based immigration system that reduce waiting times for separated families to be reunited;
· A process for all immigrant workers and their families already in the U.S. to earn citizenship upon satisfaction of specific criteria;
· An expansion of legal avenues for workers and families to enter our country and work in a safe and legal manner with their rights and due process fully protected;
· Examining solutions to address the root causes of migration, such as economic disparities between sending and receiving nations.

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