Center of Concern | Mon, Oct 6, 2008
Immigration is one of the controversial and crucial issues facing the next president. Whenever the issue of immigration comes up, it is never long before you hear the impassioned cry, “But they’re ILLEGAL!”
Yes, and so is jaywalking. So?
When I hear that passionate appeal to legality, my mind’s eye sees the Holy Family, fleeing Herod’s massacre of the innocents, standing in Egypt surrounded by an angry crowd.
Millions of individuals and families are living here in the U.S. in violation of U.S. immigration laws. But as a Christian, I firmly believe we have to take a more penetrating look at the situation because we believe we are all subject to a Higher Law.
That higher law is God’s law of love and universal solidarity. We are all one family globally with the responsibility to take care of each other. This is the measure of the justice of all our immigration laws. In the face of this higher law of love and solidarity, they are pathetically inadequate and unjust.
If you want to be passionate about legality and illegality, be passionate about the illegality of our immigration laws in the face of God’s law!
When U.S. trade policies and agreements result in Mexican peasants losing their land and their livelihoods, God’s higher law of universal human rights overrules our compassion-less legal hurdles to immigration. They have a sacred, God-given right to migrate to where they can support their families.
When U.S. Immigration and Naturalization regulations demand the deportation of parents, separating them from their citizen-children, God’s law of the sacredness of family nullifies their demands.
We need to come together to address the root causes of immigration, recognize our shared responsibility for it, preserve the best in our values, build upon the social foundation of the family, and demand this approach of our political candidates.
Ask them some direct and pointed questions:
- What reforms do you propose for U.S. immigration policies that will treat migrants with dignity and respect, keep families together, allow people to migrate, and provide national security?
- How will you address the root causes of immigration related to our own domestic trade and agricultural policies?
- How do you propose to accomplish these reforms without treating our migrant brothers and sisters as criminals? How can we ensure that together we can build a strong economic future for all of our countries of origin?
When the debates and passions around immigration flare, keep the image of Joseph, Mary and Jesus surrounded by a crowd of irate Egyptians before you. It is a serious violation of our faith, our values, and the best of who we are to abuse the immigrants, reject them, wall them out, or deport them.
As you and your community approach this critical election, prepare yourselves with our resources on this volatile issue at http://www.coc.org/election2008/immigration.