Thursday, April 30, 2009

Reformed Immigration Policy

Immigration is a loaded word. Depending on how you feel, there are those who foam at the mouth at the slightest suggestion of the word. For those, images are conjured up, dark men sneaking under fences, raising our crime rate and raping our women. Huddled men standing in parking lots waiting and begging to work. There are others who like me are taking a stand for immigration reform because of my Christian values (read Romans) and standing apart from some of my xenophobic neighbors. There is a distinction between begging for money and working for the money. There is great disparity between the man who asks for money for his next “escape,” and the other who support his family from hundreds of miles away. This also applies to my sisters who cross the border and are subjected to harsh treatment and many suffering in modern day slavery.
What causes my point of view? After taking two trips to Guatemala and seeing firsthand the squalor and extreme poverty, I can tell you that to survive in some parts of the country are limited. Statistics have proven the average age of a Guatemalan is 45 years old, and the life expectancy is 62. There is little work and minimal if any support from the government. Years before during a famine in El Matasano mothers had to choose which child survived and which starved to death. Imagine the horror of listening to the screams across the village. My church is working with a local agriculture committee and assisting to install micro drip irrigation systems. Not only are the families surviving, they are able to sell their extra food to earn an income. Keeping the men in the villages that are vital in their families and communities. But not all villages have this sort of assistance. What options do they have?
Here are a few myths that need to be addressed and can be researched. Most immigrants are illegal. More than seventy percent are legal residents. My Irish mother is one. Most crimes are committed by illegal immigrants. This is another fallacy The FBI reports – How about a drain on our health care? Not true. Over two billion dollars are collected by social security and never collected. Immigrants cannot seek health care unless it’s an emergency.
Franklyn was concerned about the Germans who were taking over his Pennsylvania, “ “So if the Germans, who were persecuted and suffered from prejudiced men, how did the Native Americans treat us? The land was a gift from God. They could not understand why we wanted to trade for land. What fools we must have appeared like, but is power the answer. We’re on the face of the earth for a short period. Imagine if we could live in peace.
So, what are the root causes for immigration and what can I do to show my support for my brothers and sisters in Jesus’ name? Write an essay? Sure I can do that, my intention is to look for others support and show my support. How? By finding other groups who support immigration reform.
When a man is stabbed by a group of young men there is an underlying hatred that is percolating in some parts of this island. When most a family is killed by an arsonist since the landlord removed the fire escape, there is a need to take a stand and unite. When a family walks through our neighborhood, we say hello and welcome. Just a smile can be a beautiful act of kindness and peace that can transcend the violence. In Jesus’ name I commit myself to this cause.

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