Reforming Immigration

I love America.  I love our history, the rich legacy of our ancestors leaving their homes in some far-off land and coming here to begin a new life.  Their hopes and dreams are what built this country and we can learn so much about ourselves by learning their stories.  We came from Spain, from Italy, from England and Africa.  Some of us lived here before the rest of us showed up.  We came because we couldn’t worship God as we were led to worship Him.  We came because our potato crop failed and we were starving.  We came to escape war and torture and genocide.  We came to have a better life.  We came on ships with hundreds of others just like us.  We came on ships with chains around our feet and hands.  We walked across a land bridge from Asia.  We landed in a Boeing 737 at LAX.  We paid a coyote three year’s pay to smuggle us into a southwestern desert.
We’re white and black, brown, yellow, and red.  We’re all those colors mixed together.  But our hearts are red, white, and blue.  Together we formed a nation born out of our love of God, and freedom, and self-determination.  We’ve stood together when the world needed us and defeated the evil of despots, tyrants and thugs.  We’re still fighting them today.  And we fight with each other, too—over states’ rights and women’s rights, over civil rights and human rights.  We argue about Wall Street and main street, over taxes and health insurance, about almost anything.  These days, we’re arguing a lot about immigration.
Some of us want to build a wall around our country and keep everyone out.  Others want to have open borders and let everyone in.  Most of us, I believe, are somewhere in the middle.  We call it “comprehensive immigration reform.”  For me, that means having enough agents and troops to keep our borders and ports secure from the terrorists who want to kill us just for being American.  I’d like to have a system that deports criminals who came here from other countries.  I don’t think we should issue entry visas to people whom we know are trained terrorists.  I don’t think we should have to rely on flight attendants and passengers to keep people from blowing up airplanes. 
But there are millions of peaceful people living and working in our country who came here illegally.  They came here for all the same reasons my ancestors and yours probably came to this country.  They aren’t terrorists, they’re families.  Can we somehow round them all up and send them back to Mexico or Guatemala or Viet Nam or Cambodia?  No. Realistically, no one thinks this could ever happen.  Should we try?  For me, the answer is “no” again.  I believe we should remember our own stories, our own history.  I believe we should consider that each of us would probably do anything in our power to feed our children, even if that meant stealing a loaf of bread.  Even if that meant entering another country illegally.  Did they break our laws?  Yes.  And while we’re arguing with each other over what to do with them, their kids are learning to speak English and studying the Revolutionary War and playing Little League baseball.  Their kids are becoming just like “us.”  In another generation, their grandkids will be our schoolteachers and doctors, our policemen and our priests.  While we’re arguing, they’re helping us to build our future.  It’s not a perfect solution, but those are pretty rare.  As Christians, we’re called to care for one another, to be Christ to one another.  The same Christ whose mother and foster father sneaked Him illegally into Egypt to escape a tyrant and find a better life.

“You can’t legislate intelligence and common sense into people.” 
                                             —Will Rogers (1879 – 1935)

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Marie
    Jul 03, 2012 @ 16:04:52

    Excellent! 🙂 well-rounded and lacking in hyberbolic rhetoric. lovely to see that still exists in writing today.


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