Another article I wrote for the Undocumented blog has now been posted.
“Many church members are too afraid to come to church anymore.” I was attending a meeting of ministry leaders when the well-respected Hispanic pastor stood to share. He told us how the police had begun parking near their church building on Sunday mornings, watching as church members came to the service. “Some of our members have been deported,” the pastor said plainly. Others, regardless of their immigration status, were afraid to risk an encounter with law enforcement and had begun skipping Sunday worship.
The debate about immigration reform is confusing and there is much about the technicalities that escapes me. Here’s what was not confusing as I listened to this man grieve over those he has been called to pastor: experience matters. The way he thinks about immigration is strongly shaped by his real life experience with it. And if experience has shaped his perspective then it has no less shaped yours and mine.
Read the rest at Undocumented.tv.
Not that it was needed, but a report yesterday from the Applied Research Center provides yet more evidence of the devastation caused by our country’s deportation policy. This time the focus is on the children of those deported, over 5,000 who are now housed in the foster care system with no clear pathway to reunite with their parents.
These children, many of whom should never have been separated from their parents in the first place, face often insurmountable obstacles to reunifying with their mothers and fathers. Though child welfare departments are required by federal law to reunify children with any parents who are able to provide for the basic safety of their children, detention makes this all but impossible. Then, once parents are deported, families are often separated for long periods. Ultimately, child welfare departments and juvenile courts too often move to terminate the parental rights of deportees and put children up for adoption, rather than attempt to unify the family as they would in other circumstances.
The current presidential administration has been incredibly aggressive when it comes to deportation and the rhetoric from most of the Republican candidates is equally ugly (see Michelle Bachmann and Herman Cain). Those of us whose faith compels us to side with the immigrant (with or without papers) are left wondering what courses of action outside of politics we can pursue that best serve the dignity of the voiceless.
How do you think about this issue? Will immigration and deportation policy affect how you vote in the next presidential election? In addition to advocating for policy change – a critical need – are there other actions that can be taken?
At 17 he went to look for another future. He left his friends from the Instituto Nuevo Amanecer, where he was a junior, behind in Honduras. He left his passion for soccer, the evangelical church where he used to sing, his siblings—Wilfredo, 25, and Iris, 19—and he left Juana, his mother. He took with him the 1,000 Honduran Lempiras that he had saved to make the monthly payment on the piece of land and left with his cousin José Giovanni Gonzalez, who was 22 years old.
Yesterday, to commemorate Labor Day, The New York Review of Books translated five of the stories of 72 migrant workers who were killed last August as they attempted to cross the border into the United States.
An article I wrote about the Sabbath and undocumented immigrants is now up at UnDocumented.tv.
Does anyone keep the Sabbath anymore? I’ve come to the conclusion that the fourth commandment is the most ignored of the Ten Commandments. If we did keep Sabbath, I wonder how our thoughts about our undocumented neighbors might change.
The Old Testament books of Exodus and Deuteronomy each contain the Ten Commandments. In both books the forth commandment is relatively the same – Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. – but the rationale for a weekly day of rest and worship is different. In Exodus (20:8-11) the people’s work is to cease because God ceased the work of creation on the seventh day. In Deuteronomy (5:12-15) work ceases as a testimony to the people’s new identity; they once were slaves in Egypt but had been rescued by God’s “mighty hand and an outstretched arm.”
In these two versions of the fourth commandment we find two profound reasons for stopping our work for weekly rest and worship. First, we are reminded of the character of the God in whose image we are made. Second, we are reminded of our former identity as slaves and our new identity as the people of God.
Read the rest on the UnDocumented.tv site.