My latest oped in The Forest Grove Leader, a publication of The Oregonian:
My latest oped in The Forest Grove Leader, a publication of The Oregonian:
President Obama made some important immigration-related decisions last week, as Church World Service notes, that I wanted to lift up:
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Friday, August 19, 2011 – Humanitarian agency Church World Service applauds the Obama administration’s announcement Thursday that it would suspend deportation proceedings against many undocumented immigrants who pose no threat to United States national security or public safety, and instead would exercise prosecutorial discretion to focus enforcement efforts on cases involving criminals.
“This is a big and important step toward fair, humane, common sense reform of our nation’s broken immigration system," said Erol Kekic, Director of the CWS immigration and refugee program.
“President Obama’s decision puts national resources to the important goal of ensuring the security of our communities and stops wasting those precious resources on arresting, detaining and deporting low-priority cases, including individuals who were brought to this country as young children and know no other home,” Kekic said.
Church World Service is a long-time advocate of immigration reform that reunites families, protects all workers and provides a way for undocumented immigrants to earn legal status, including students who were brought to the United States as children and are undocumented.
The administration’s directive and new guidelines from the Department of Homeland Security echo in part the intention of proposed DREAM Act legislation, which would give young undocumented immigrants who are attending college or serving in the military an opportunity to work legally and attain legal status.
“We look forward to working with the Obama Administration on and holding it accountable for implementation of the new policy and with Congress on further reform, Kekic said.
Church World Service is one of ten voluntary agencies that helps resettle newly arrived refugees in the U.S. The international relief, development and refugee protection agency also provides immigration legal services for immigrants and refugees, working through its nationwide network of local affiliate agencies.
If you didn't catch it yesterday The New York Times reported on how an Episcopal bishop. United Methodist bishop and Roman Catholic bishop have sued the state of Alabama over a new anti-immigration law.
We need comprehensive immigration reform in our nation but the Tea Party Congress is blocking common sense reform proposed by President Obama, similar to a reform bill pushed by George W. Bush, that would protect our borders and provide a earned pathway to citizenship that has broad popular support from US voters tired of inaction on this issue.
Alabama has enacted draconian state legislation that goes against basic American principles and just as importantly infringes on the Constitutional rights of faith communities to practice their faith.
150 United Methodist Alabama clergy have signed a letter, mentioned in The New York Times article, explaining just wwhy this law is immoral and I wanted to lift up that letter by reprinting it here:
An Open Letter to Governor Robert Bentley, Senator Scott Beason, and Rep. Micky Hammon:
Forty-eight years ago, while sitting in a Birmingham jail cell, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote that, just as Christians have a moral duty to obey just laws, they also have a moral duty to disobey unjust ones. We are a group of United Methodist ministers from all across the state of Alabama who believe that HB 56 is an unjust law. Both proponents and opponents of the bill have described HB 56 as the “toughest immigration law in the country.” Among other measures to discourage illegal immigration, it gives police the ability to stop anyone they have a “reasonable suspicion” may be here illegally. It requires schools to verify the immigration or citizenship status of students. It denies bail to anyone arrested for being here illegally. And, it makes it a crime for a citizen to associate with undocumented persons, whether that be inviting them to one’s home or church or giving them a ride in a car.
We know that many who support this law are well-meaning individuals who are seeking to find the state's best interest: they are people who are worried about employment in this fragile economy and some feel that the state is strained to pay for services like health care, police protection, and education for those who may be here illegally. These are all valid concerns.
We believe, however, that many elements of this law are not in the state’s best interest. Teachers and principals are already stretched thin and have suffered tremendous budget cuts. Requiring them to also verify the immigration status of students will, in all likelihood, cost rather than save money and can only distract them from their most important task: preparing our children to succeed. Prohibiting bond to people who are here illegally means that more and more people will be kept in jails that are already overcrowded and understaffed. Finally, this law will most certainly be challenged in court and could cost the state millions of dollars at a time when nearly every state board and agency must accept budget cuts in this economy.
As Christian ministers, however, we believe that this law is not only impractical, but it also contradicts the essential tenets of the Christian faith. In Exodus 22:21, God commands the people, “You shall not oppress a resident alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt,” and in Leviticus 19:34 God says, “You shall love the alien as yourself.” In one of his most famous parables, Jesus used the example of the Good Samaritan – someone who was not considered a true Jewish citizen -- who stopped to help a battered and beaten man while the leaders of the people passed him by. And the apostle Paul taught us that in Christ there is “no longer Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female, but all are one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).
HB 56 would force many of our churches and many people in our churches to become lawbreakers, because we believe that God has called us to be a church in ministry to ALL people. United Methodists across the state welcome people regardless of immigration or citizenship status. Many of our fastest growing churches are Spanish-speaking, and we do not check people’s immigration status at the door. In response to Jesus’ admonition in the parable of the Last Judgment to feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, clothe the naked and welcome the stranger, many churches have ministries to care for those who are poor by providing them with food, shelter, and transportation. Again, we do not check people’s immigration status before inviting them into our church vans and cars. We United Methodist clergy will continue to be in ministry to all people and we call on all United Methodists to do the same. We call on the governor to call a special legislative session to review this bill, and we call on the legislature to repeal HB56.
Click here to see the list of signers.
We can be proud that clergy in Alabama are bravely standing up for God's justice.
John McCain is blaming the wildfires in Arizona on illegal immigrants, reports ABC News.
And what does the U.S. Forest Service have to say?
Tom Berglund, spokesman for the federal group managing the Wallow fire that McCain toured Saturday, said the cause of the fire has been determined as "human," specifically an "escaped campfire," meaning the campfire sparked beyond the confines of the rocks containing it.
Two "subjects of interest" have been spoken to, but as of now, no suspect has been named, Berglund said. When asked if there is substantial evidence that some fires were caused by illegal immigrants, as McCain said at a news conference Saturday, Berglund said: "Absolutely not, at this level."
"There's no evidence that I'm aware, no evidence that's been public, indicating such a thing," he said.
So without any evidence Senator McCain is just making some up to fit a political narative.
"The degree of irresponsible political pandering by Sen. McCain has no limits," Angelo Falcon, the president of the National Institute for Latino Policy, told CNN. "With the lack of evidence, he might as well also blame aliens from outer space for the fires."
McCain should abandon this kind of hateful politicking and return to his roots and embrace President Obama's comprehensive immigration reform plan instead of playing with fire.
President Obama gave a powerful speech today on the need for comprehensive immigration reform. The vast majority of Americans want immigration reform and U.S. churches - sometimes divided on difficult issues - are largely united behind the president's vision and want politicians to stop playing politics with this important issue. Reform would add $1.5 trillion to our economy over the next decade and help create nearly a million new jobs while increasing consumer spending by $5 billion a year. People on those right-wing talk shows keep repeating their mantra of "ship all the illegals" home. That would cost a quarter of a trillion dollars - to start with - and take another 2.5 billion of our of economy. It is time to turn off the radio and to get serious about the business of our nation.
I preached on this very issue just two weeks ago. Why is this so important to Christians? We want people to play by the rules and follow laws but also recognize that the system is broken. Those who follow Christ cannot just look at borders. We have to look at faces - the faces of men, women and children - and see within those faces the face of God. In keeping with that spirit, Christians across the U.S. have advocated for compassionate reform that creates a pathway to citizenship and protects families in keeping with the best traditions of this immigrant nation. President Obama's plan moves us in the right direction and I urge you to support his efforts.
Religious leaders across the United States have been pressing for passage of the Dream Act. Today the White House reports on their activities in support of this important piece of legislation:
It’s been an incredibly busy week as we continue to work with our allies in Congress and across the country to try to get the DREAM Act across the finish line.
Here is a quick update. It looks like the House and Senate could take up the DREAM Act as early as this week. From the White House and Obama Administration we continue to do all we can, with everyone from the President to Cabinet and Senior officials working to highlight how important the DREAM Act is to our economy, our security, and our nation.
As you know, the DREAM Act is common-sense legislation drafted by both Republicans and Democrats that would give students who grew up in the United States a chance to contribute to our country’s well-being by serving in the U.S. armed forces or pursuing a higher education. Because it just makes sense, the DREAM Act has long enjoyed bipartisan support. It is limited, targeted legislation that will allow only the best and brightest young people to earn their legal status after a rigorous and lengthy process, and applies to those brought to the United States as minors through no fault of their own by their parents. These are young people who know no other home. Here is some of the work we have been doing:
- Secretary Duncan participated in a call with Conservatives for Comprehensive Immigration Reform about the DREAM Act and posted an oped in The Hill saying “Passing the DREAM Act will unleash the full potential of young people who live out values that all Americans cherish — a strong work ethic; service to others; and a deep loyalty to our country. It will also strengthen our military, bolster our global economic competitiveness and increase our educational standing in the world.” Later that day he hosted a call with over 100 University Presidents on the importance of the DREAM Act.
- Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, Cecilia Munoz and I participated in a DREAM Act web chat on WhiteHouse.gov taking great questions like whether the legislation would encourage people to come to the United States illegally (it would not) and whether the DREAM Act can be implemented by the President via Executive Order (it cannot, which is why he is strongly urging Congress to do the right thing by passing it). Secretary Solis, Valerie Jarrett, Cecilia Munoz and I participated in a conference call with hundreds of people across the country as well to give them an update.
- On Wednesday, Joshua DuBois, Director of the White House Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and over 100 faith leaders from across the country participated in a conference call about why the DREAM Act is the right thing to do.
- Under Secretary of Defense Dr. Clifford Stanley spoke out in support of the DREAM Act saying "Throughout past and current conflicts, those who are not yet citizens have answered the call to defend their adopted nation...Allowing DREAM Act-eligible youth the opportunity to serve this nation would continue this tradition of service, while expanding the market of high-quality patriotic youth, to the advantage of military recruitment and readiness."
- On Thursday, Secretary Napolitano held a conference call with reporters in which she made it clear that the DREAM Act is important for our law enforcement, and will help us better focus our resources so we can enforce immigration laws in a “way that makes sense,” targeting criminals.
- On Friday, Secretary Locke hosted a call with University Presidents Dr. Carlos Campo, President of Regent University, Dr. Gene Block, Chancellor, UCLA and Dr. Eduardo Padron, Miami-Dade College to talk about the importance of the DREAM Act to our country’s competitiveness. Secretary Locke said, "These are kids that can be our future scientists, our doctors, our military leaders and our educators. Some of them are our future entrepreneurs who will build the next Google or Intel that will generate hundreds of thousands of good paying jobs for our country."
- The White House also released a fact sheet and a top ten list on why we need to pass the DREAM Act, highlighting myths and facts about the legislation as well as highlighting real stories, key supporters of the bill and over 50 editorial boards that have come out in support of the DREAM Act .
So it’s the end of a busy week, but we will keep gearing up for more action next week as Congress heads toward votes. Keep up with what we're doing on WhiteHouse.gov.
‘Cursed be anyone who deprives the alien, the orphan,
and the widow of justice.’
All the people shall say, ‘Amen!’
- Deuteronomy 24:19 (NRSV)
The GOP killed off the Dream Act today with the threat of a filibuster in the U.S. Senate. Resurrection of the legislation is uncertain.
It is a defeat for justice and a sign of things to come.
The Dream Act is supported by the National Council of Churches and Church World Service (CWS) - along with evangelical Christians and many people from other faith backgrounds. CWS explains the act this way:
The DREAM Act (Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors Act) would allow undocumented immigrants who entered the U.S. before age 16 and who have been in the U.S. for at least five years to earn legal status if they pass background checks, attend college, or serve in the military for at least two years.
Church World Service says its support for The DREAM Act is consistent with the agency’s 64-year-old commitment to providing disaster assistance, social and economic development, and protection for displaced persons domestically and worldwide.
“These are young people who have grown up in our communities and mastered English. They include honor roll students, star athletes, talented artists, and aspiring teachers, doctors and entrepreneurs,” said Erol Kekic, Church World Service Immigration and Refugee Program Director. “They dream of contributing to the future of the United States. In many cases they don’t even remember their parents’ home country and consider the United States their home.
“Through no fault of their own, they face unique barriers to higher education and employment,” he said. “Denying them opportunities will only stifle their potential to benefit the U.S. economy by pursuing higher education and serving the United States.”
And what would be the impact if the Dream Act failed to pass Congress, as happened today:
Kekic says if Congress fails to act this year on at least The DREAM Act, “Another entire class of outstanding, law-abiding high school students will graduate without being able to plan for the future. Some will be removed from their homes to countries they barely know.
“This tragedy will cause the United States to lose a vital asset: an educated generation of promising immigrant students who have demonstrated a commitment to hard work and a strong desire to contribute to the United States. Their future is dependent on a pathway to lawful permanent residence and eventual citizenship,” he said. “We must consider and prioritize the future of this nation, the future of those who can be among tomorrow’s leaders, by enacting The DREAM Act.”
Today's failure to pass the Dream Act puts the United States on the wrong side of justice. Those who failed to end the threat of a filibuster may have made partisan political points but they hurt children and that will forever be part of their legacy - and ours.
This is not the Beloved Community that The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther, Jr. dreamed of or the community God calls us to be.
Action Alert from United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries
At the end of this new school year, approximately 2.8 million students will graduate from high schools in the U.S. But approximately 65,000of these graduates will neither attend college, enlist in the armed forces, get a decent job, nor otherwise live a full life. Their restricted future is not due to their lack of motivation, but stems from the immigration status passed on to them by their parents. These young men and women grew up on American soil and respect the laws of this country, yet they bear the inherited title of “illegal immigrant.” It is not only socially irresponsible but also morally unacceptable to cut off young people from opportunities and the bright future that could be theirs, and to leave them no recourse and without hope. Further, the United States has already made a substantial investment in these youths. It is not good for communities or wise fiscally to throw it all away. The Dream Act will grant these youths the opportunities they now lack: the chance to study, to work, to serve in the Armed Forces, to be a part of the American Dream. We have a short window of opportunity to get this passed. Urgent action is needed!
At the end of this new school year, approximately 2.8 million students will graduate from high schools in the U.S. But approximately 65,000of these graduates will neither attend college, enlist in the armed forces, get a decent job, nor otherwise live a full life. Their restricted future is not due to their lack of motivation, but stems from the immigration status passed on to them by their parents. These young men and women grew up on American soil and respect the laws of this country, yet they bear the inherited title of “illegal immigrant.”
It is not only socially irresponsible but also morally unacceptable to cut off young people from opportunities and the bright future that could be theirs, and to leave them no recourse and without hope. Further, the United States has already made a substantial investment in these youths. It is not good for communities or wise fiscally to throw it all away.
The Dream Act will grant these youths the opportunities they now lack: the chance to study, to work, to serve in the Armed Forces, to be a part of the American Dream. We have a short window of opportunity to get this passed. Urgent action is needed!
Dear Mayor Doyle and Councilor Bode:
I was pleased to hear that the city of Beaverton would be celebrating Mexico's bicentennial this month and disheartened to learn that Washington State resident Lars Larson has once again attacked an Oregon city. Actually, attacking Oregonians seems to be the full-time job for this Washingtonian.
As you know, Mexico is a great neighbor to America. Both nations share a history of being colonies that finally gained independence and freedom. We share a tradition of working generation to generation to improve on the dream of democracy. Oregon has been blessed to welcome people from Mexico and Mexican descendents as new citizens and neighbors. Like immigrants before them, they contribute to our state community.
Mr. Larson and his partner in crime Bill O'Reilly have unfairly attacked Beaverton (where I lived as a child and where I attended public school) for celebrating Mexico's bicentennial and not the 4th of July. Hogwash. In middle school and high school a high point of every summer was celebrating America's Independence at the Oak Hills 4th of July parade and fireworks display. Neighborhoods, community groups and houses of worship throughout Beaverton celebrate the 4th of July proudly each year.
A city-sponsored celebration of the Mexican bicentennial simply acknowledges the deep relationship between our two nations and the rich diversity of the Beaverton community. I'm afraid that Mr. Larson and Mr. O'Reilly are less interested in the truth than in using immigration and race as partisan political issues during a campaign year. As a minister in the United Church of Christ (a multicultural and multiracial denomination),I find their actions to be reprehensible. They seek to divide Americans - to divide Oregonians - when our nation needs unity. The city of Beaverton should be commended for reaching out in ways that strengthen the common good of our state.
Thank you for your leadership and public service.
The Rev. Chuck Currie
I had the chance this week to talk with Michael B. Dougherty of The American Conservative, a publication started by Pat Buchanan, about comprehensive immigration reform and other issues on Bloggingheads.tv. Take a look.
This morning I had the opportunity to talk about the need for comprehensive immigration reform and the problems with Arizona's new law with 1190 KEX's Paul Linnman.
You can download an audio podcast of the short interview here:
(some browsers - like Firefox or Google Chrome - will allow you to simply click on the link and listen...otherwise click with the RIGHT mouse button on the hyperlink and choose “Save Target As” and save to your desktop or other folder – once downloaded click on the file to listen).
Now On ITunes
You can now subscribe to my podcasts on ITunes by clicking here.
National Weekend of Prayer and Action for Immigrant Justice, will take place July 29- August 1
Church World Service reacted yesterday to the injunction placed on certain parts of Arizona's immigration law.
Other Christian bodies are also commenting, including national officers and conference ministers of the United Church of Christ:
July 29, 2010
We, as leaders of the United Church of Christ gathered in retreat on this historic day, applaud yesterday's federal court decision to stop the implementation of key provisions outlined in Arizona Senate Bill 1070, which were scheduled to take effect today, July 29, 2010. The court's analysis of constitutional law confirms our concerns that this law unjustly singles out specific members of our communities based solely on suspicion of their legal status.
We thank all those voices that, in the days since the passage of this law, have spoken so clearly about the injustice of such a law and who have acted in ways that, no matter how seemingly insignificant, have compelled the court to take action and caused others to think more seriously about the impact of such legislation.
In April, Arizona passed new legislation governing immigrants; legislation that the UCC's Southwest Conference calls "the harshest anti-immigrant legislation in the country ... that codifies racial profiling and creates an atmosphere of suspicion, hatred, and scapegoating of immigrants and U.S. Citizens. (For more information go to http://www.ucc.org/justice/immigration.)
When the alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God."
-- Leviticus 19:33-34
We have witnessed and have learned of the immense pain, suffering, and fear already inflicted upon immigrant families in and beyond Arizona as a result of this law. As Christians, we are called to love our neighbors. The Bible is clear in calling us to welcome strangers in our land, and to love them as we love ourselves. In these times, listening to the voice of the still-speaking God, we will learn how to respond to these new sisters and brothers residing among us.
Therefore, in accordance with our mandate found in the Holy Scriptures and actions of the General Synod, we continue to call for national comprehensive immigration reform legislation to establish a safe and humane immigration system, consistent with our values, that:
- creates a process for undocumented immigrants to earn legal status and eventual citizenship;
- upholds family unity as a priority of immigration policies;
- protects immigrant and native-born workers in their workplaces;
- aligns border and internal enforcement policies with humanitarian values and due process protections
- provides every detainee with access to their attorney, family, and faith leader, and ensures humane treatment in accord with state, federal, and international law; and
- allows undocumented young persons who grew up in this country to work, pay in-state tuition for higher education, and join the military, and be eligible for legal status and eventual citizenship (the DREAM Act.)
We commit to be in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Arizona today and in the days ahead as they encounter serious community tension and hostility. We call upon our members to participate in worship services, nonviolent rallies, and other events all around the nation. Above all, we pray that God's grace and peace will be evident among us.
Geoffrey A. Black, General Minister and President
John Dorhauer, Southwest Conference Minister
Linda Jaramillo, Executive Minister of Justice and Witness Ministries
Douglas Anders, South Central Conference Minister
Susan Towner-Larsen, Minister for Conference Relations
Steve Sterner, Executive Minister for Local Church Ministries
Jim Antal, Massachusetts Conference Minister and President
Felix C. Villanueva, Southern California Nevada Conference Minister
John R. Deckenback, Central Atlantic Conference Minister
Karen Smith Sellers, Minnesota Conference Minister
Gary M. Schulte, New Hampshire Conference Minister
Judith Youngman, Interim Conference Minister, Michigan Conference
Edith Guffey, Associate General Minister
Rita M Root, Interim Conference Minister, New York Conference
Bob Molsberry, Ohio Conference Minister
Cally Rogers-Witte, Executive Minister for UCC Wider Church Ministries
Mary Susan Gast, Conference Minister Northern California Nevada
Marja L. Coons-Torn, Penn Central Conference Minister
Charles L. Wildman, Connecticut Interim Conference Minister
David S. Moyer, Wisconsin Conference Minister
Alan N. McLarty, Penn West Conference
Charles Barnes, Conference Minister, Rhode Island Conference
Kent Siladi, Conference Minister, Florida Conference
Sheldon Culver, Conference Minister, Illinois South Conference
Randy Hyvonen, Conference Minister, Montana-Northern Wyoming Conference
Michael Denton, Pacific Northwest Conference of the United Church of Christ
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops released the following statement:
WASHINGTON— As chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Migration, Bishop John C. Wester of Salt Lake City applauded the July 28 decision by U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton to halt some of the most controversial provisions of Arizona SB 1070 from going into effect the next day. Bishop Wester lamented the status quo on immigration as “unacceptable” and called for the Federal government to act immediately on immigration reform.The news service of the Episcopal Church USA reported:
"It is the right decision,” Bishop Wester said. “Any law that provides legal cover to profiling affects all members of our communities, including legal residents and citizens. It is a very slippery slope. What is needed now is for Congress and the Administration to live up to their responsibilities and address this issue by passing immigration reform."
The U.S. Catholic bishops believe that any comprehensive immigration reform bill should contain the following elements: a legalization program that gives migrant workers and their families an opportunity to earn legal permanent residency and eventual citizenship; a new worker visa program that protects the labor rights of both U.S. and foreign workers and gives participants the option to earn permanent residency; reform of the U.S. family-based immigration system to reduce waiting times for family reunification; and restoration of due process protections for immigrants, including asylum-seekers. In the longer term, policies that address the root causes of migration, such as the lack of sustainable development in sending nations, should also be part of the equation.
[Episcopal News Service, Phoenix, Arizona] Activists hailed a federal judge's July 28 decision to partially block sections of Arizona's controversial immigration law and said they will proceed with prayer vigils and protests as planned for July 29, the day the law was to take effect.
"I think in one sense this is a victory in our democratic process of checks and balances," said Bishop Kirk S. Smith of the Episcopal Diocese of Arizona. "I think it's a victory that confirms our American sense of compassion and fairness.
"I pray that this will open the way for a future more thoughtful and humane resolution of our immigration crisis," added Smith, a scheduled speaker at a 6 a.m. July 29 interfaith prayer vigil at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, part of a daylong series of anti-immigration law demonstrations and events in downtown Phoenix and elsewhere.
Hours before SB1070, which seeks to identify and deport undocumented persons, was to take effect, U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton said crucial aspects of the law simply could not be enforced.
Specifically, she cited requirements that immigrants carry citizenship papers at all times and that police officers check immigration status during traffic stops, detentions and arrests. Also halted was a section barring undocumented workers from applying for or soliciting employment.
Bolton said the law puts unfair burdens on legal immigrants. "There is a substantial likelihood that officers will wrongfully arrest legal resident aliens," said Bolton, who was appointed to the federal bench by former President Bill Clinton. "Preserving the status quo is less harmful."
She also barred sections that forbid police from releasing anyone arrested until that person's immigration status is determined and that allowed police to make warrantless arrests if there is a belief the person has committed an offense that allows them to be removed from the United States.
Other aspects of the law, including provisions against the smuggling of undocumented persons, will go into effect at 12:01 a.m.
The ruling restored peace of mind — at least temporarily -- for many of her 300-member Spanish-speaking congregation, said the Rev. Canon Carmen B. Guerrero, canon for peace and justice for the Arizona diocese.
"My phone has not stopped ringing today," she said. "Families in the congregation feel they can breathe a sigh of relief. They don't have to be afraid. They don't have to fear their husband might not come home because he got caught somewhere. It's an enormous opportunity to breathe again."
But Guerrero said the struggle "isn't over, it's just postponed."
She added, "It's important from a church perspective to let people know that God really does listen to prayer.
"I spent half my sermon last Sunday talking about being persistent in prayer, about not giving up and continuing to plead our case to God. So I'm excited about the ruling," she said.
Now perhaps there is an opportunity to "look at a more humane way of dealing with immigration reform and take a serious look at border protection without having to mix the two together," she said.
A fourth-generation Mexican American, Guerrero said nonetheless Bolton's decision was a big relief because those who were born here or had become American citizens still felt targeted "because it (SB1070) had to do with our appearance."
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, who signed SB1070 into law in April, called the ruling "a bump in the road" and said she planned to appeal it, all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.
Richard Land, head of the The Ethics and Liberties Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, said earlier this month:
The recent passage of the new law in Arizona is a cry for help from the citizens of a state made desperate by the federal government’s shameful and flagrant dereliction to its duty to control the nation’s borders and to enforce its laws. This is manifestly a federal responsibility and the U. S. government has failed in its responsibilities to its citizens under both Democratic and Republican administrations.The Arizona law is a symptom, not a solution. While I sympathize with the plight of the beleaguered citizens of Arizona, the law they have passed faces severe challenges....Proper reform should consist of a program that provides an earned pathway that requires an illegal immigrant who desires to remain legally in the U.S. to undergo a criminal background check, pay a fine, agree to pay back taxes, learn to speak, write, and read English and get in line behind those who are legally migrating into this country in order to apply for permanent residence after a probationary period of years. They must also acknowledge and pledge allegiance to America’s governmental structure, the duties of citizenship and our core values as embodied in the Declaration of Independence. People who fail background checks or who refuse to comply with this generous opportunity to earn legal status, should be deported immediately.This is not amnesty. Amnesty is what President Carter gave the draft dodgers who came home from Canada with no penalties, no fines, and no requirements whatsoever.It should be remembered that most of these undocumented workers who have broken the law (and thus should be penalized) came here in order to work whereas most of our home-grown criminals break the law in order to avoid work.While the government focuses on enforcing the law, Christians are mandated to forgive and reflect God’s grace toward all people within their communities, including illegal immigrants. The recent SBC resolution encouraged “churches to act redemptively and reach out to meet the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of all immigrants.”As citizens of the Lord’s heavenly Kingdom, we have a divine mandate to respond compassionately toward those who are in need.There is neither the political nor economic will in the U.S. population for forcibly rounding up 12 million people—many of them who have children who are American citizens—and shipping them back to their country of origin. Politics and public policy are the “art of the possible.” The reality is that it is not feasible for the United States government to attempt to deport 12 million people. There has to be another way to resolve this issue.In hopes of providing a biblical solution to this matter, I have joined with other Evangelicals in calling for bipartisan immigration reform that:
• Respects the God-given dignity of every person;The reality is that we have been, and are, a nation of immigrant settlers, and the descendents of such settlers, who braved oceans and many obstacles to come to this matchless land of opportunity to become Americans. Whether our ancestors came early, or late, we are Americans, whatever nationality may be used to describe our heritage before we arrived. We should, and we will, always have room in this great nation for those who are willing to embrace theAmerican dream and the American ideals that both inspired that dream and define it.
• Protects the unity of the immediate family;
• Respects the rule of law;
• Guarantees secure national borders;
• Ensures fairness to taxpayers; and,
• Establishes a path toward legal status and/or citizenship for those who qualify and who wish to become permanent residents.
Land has come out in strong support of President Obama's immigration goals:
"President Obama laid out the elements for an immigration policy that will mend the social fabric of our nation. ... The president has acted like a statesman, not a politician. Statesmen are concerned with the next generation; politicians are concerned with the next election. It's time for Congress to step up and be statesmen."Watch President Obama discuss his hope for immigration reform:
Religious leaders are planning a weekend of protests aimed at supporting reform....
.... (the) National Weekend of Prayer and Action for Immigrant Justice, will take place July 29- August 1 in Chicago; Oakland; Cincinnati; Milwaukee; Toledo; San Francisco; New York City; Houston; Philadelphia; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Albany, New York and is coordinated by Interfaith Worker Justice. Actions include marches, rallies, prayer vigils, civil disobedience, educational forums, and worship services, sermons, and homilies about immigration, as hundreds voice their opposition to SB-1070 and demand a just solution to the broken immigration system that gave rise to this draconian law.Click here for more.
From Church World Service:
NEW YORK CITY, July 28, 2010--Church World Service welcomed U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton's temporary injunction against the implementation of parts of Arizona's controversial new immigration law SB 1070, scheduled to take effect Thursday (July 29), and reiterated its call for a federal fix of America's broken immigration system.
"While temporary and partial, Judge Bolton's injunction feels like a small victory," said Joe Roberson, CWS Associate for Operations. "Most importantly, it's an opportunity to re-emphasize that only fair, humane, comprehensive federal immigration reform will fix America's broken immigration system. For its part, CWS will continue to press the U.S. Congress for immigration reform that prioritizes family unity, protects the rights of all workers, reforms inhumane detention and deportation processes, makes the visa system efficient, and provides a pathway to earned legal status for undocumented immigrants now in the country."Founded in 1946, Church World Service is a cooperative ministry of 36 Christian denominations and communions.
Additional information on immigration reform and the church can be found on the website of the National Council if Churches. Interfaith resources can be found here.
The story would be shocking if it didn't come from Arizona where the governor seems to be channeling George Wallace circa 1968:
A group of artists has been asked to lighten the faces of children depicted in a large public mural at a Prescott, Ariz., school.
The project's leader says he was ordered to lighten the skin tone after complaints about the children's ethnicity. But the school's principal says the request was only to fix shading and had nothing to do with political pressure.
The "Go on Green" mural, which covers two walls outside Miller Valley Elementary School, was designed to advertise a campaign for environmentally friendly transportation. It features portraits of four children, with a Hispanic boy as the dominant figure.
R.E. Wall, director of Prescott's Downtown Mural Project, said he and other artists were subjected to slurs from motorists as they worked on the painting at one of the town's most prominent intersections. "We consistently, for two months, had people shouting racial slander from their cars,"
Wall said. "We had children painting with us, and here come these yells of (epithet for Blacks) and (epithet for Hispanics)...."
City Councilman Steve Blair spearheaded a public campaign on his talk show at Prescott radio station KYCA-AM (1490) to remove the mural.
In a broadcast last month, according to the Daily Courier in Prescott, Blair mistakenly complained that the most prominent child in the painting is African-American, saying: "To depict the biggest picture on the building as a Black person, I would have to ask the question: Why?"
Blair could not be reached for comment Thursday. In audio archives of his radio show, Blair discusses the mural. He insists the controversy isn't about racism but says the mural is intended to create racial controversy where none existed before.
"Personally, I think it's pathetic," he says. "You have changed the ambiance of that building to excite some kind of diversity power struggle that doesn't exist in Prescott, Arizona. And I'm ashamed of that."
Faces in the mural were drawn from photographs of children enrolled at Miller Valley, a K-5 school with 380 students and the highest ethnic mix of any school in Prescott.
Click here to see the mural and for the full story.
Trying to erase people from history is nothing new. Isn't that one of the spoils of war? Those in power write history. Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States offers up many stories of those the powerful hoped to erase from memory. Prescott, Arizona's attempt to erase people of color from their own consciousness is racist, yes, but hardly new.
Reading this story last night (besides making my stomach sick) brought to mind this story told by Biblical scholar John Dominic Crossan as to how the role of women in the early Christian church was erased - also through the defacing of art:
In 1906 a small cave was discovered cut into the rock on the northern slope of Bülbül Dag, high above the ruins of ancient Ephesus, just off the mid-Aegean coast of Turkey. To the right of the entrance and beneath layers of plaster, Karl Herold of the Austrian Archaeological Institute uncovered two sixth-century images of Saint Thecla and Saint Paul. They both have the same height and are therefore iconographically of equal importance.
They both have their right hands raised in teaching gesture and are therefore iconographically of equal authority. But while the eyes and upraised hand of Paul are untouched, some later person scratched out the eyes and erased the upraised hand of Thecla. If the eyes of both images had been disfigured, it would be simply another example of iconoclastic antagonism since that was believed to negate the spiritual power of an icon without having to destroy it completely. But here only Thecla’s eyes and her authoritative hand are destroyed. Original imagery and defaced imagery represent a fundamental clash of theology. An earlier image in which Thecla and Paul were equally authoritative apostolic figures has been replaced by one in which the male is apostolic and authoritative and the female is blinded and silenced. And even the cave-room’s present name, St. Paul’s Grotto, continues that elimination of female-male equality once depicted on its walls.
We take that original assertion of equality and later counter-assertion of inequality as encapsulating visually the central claim of this book in terms of Christianity itself. The authentic and historical Paul, author of the seven New Testament letters he actually wrote, held that within Christian communities, it made no difference whether one entered as a Christian Jew or a Christian pagan, as a Christian man or a Christian woman, as a Christian freeborn or a Christian slave. All were absolutely equal with each other. But in 1 Timothy, a letter attributed to Paul by later Christians but not actually written by him, women are told to be silent in church and pregnant at home (2:8-15). And a later follower of Paul inserted in 1 Corinthians that it is shameful for women to speak in church but correct to ask their husbands for explanations at home (14:33-36).
Those pseudo-Pauline, post-Pauline, and anti-Pauline obliterations of female authority are the verbal and canonical equivalent of that visual and iconographic obliteration of Thecla’s eyes and hand in that hillside cave. But both defacements also bear witness to what was there before the attack.
Just think how long it has taken us to reclaim some of these very important lost stories (Diana Butler Bass' A People's History of Christianity: The Other Side of the Story A History of the Grassroots Movements in Christianity that Preserved Jesus's Message of Social Justice for 2,000 Years and Their Impact on the Church Today is another excellent text to read in this spirit).
Another similar story - more modern - comes from South Carolina during the New Deal. Back then the federal government, through the WPA, paid artists to paint murals. Not all were well accepted:
Stephan Hirch’s mural for Aiken, South Carolina, Court House had to be covered by a drape almost immediately after its completion because local people felt that the woman depicted as Justice looked like a mulatto.
The school's website appears to be down but I urge people of faith to reach out to their principal and with both respect and kindness ask him not to bow to racist political pressure.
Miller Valley Elementary School
Jeff Lane, Principal
900 Iron Springs Road
Prescott, Arizona 86305
Update: Principal Lane, showing courage, admited today that a mistake had been made and that the mural would not be changed. So now I encourage you to call his office and thank him at 928-717-3268. Thanks, Kurt, for writing in with this great news!
Update: Here's some good news...Councilman Blair has been fired by the radio station that airs his program.
One of the important public policy issues that unites many mainline Christians, Roman Catholics, Orthodox churches, and a great number of evangelicals is the need for immigration reform. You can read recent news on this subject from the National Council of Churches here and additional information from Faith in Public Life here. I'll be in DC this week with other faith leaders talking about ways to effectively communicate the moral issues involved with reform.
Church World Service offers this great resources for additional study:
This weekend the Central Pacific Conference of the United Church of Christ took action by putting our conference on record opposing to two anti-immigrant ballots measures Oregon voters will consider this fall. Any sacred conversation on race needs to include our national response to the struggles of Hispanic people.
RESOLUTION for Central Pacific Conference Annual Assembly
OPPOSE OREGON ANTI-IMMIGRANT BALLOT INITIATIVES.
Signed by: Catherine Rolling, Ainsworth; Rev. Susan Leo, Bridgeport; Rev. Chuck Currie, Parkrose
Our immigration system is broken and needs comprehensive reform. We, as people of faith, want an opportunity to support proposals that include legalization with a path to citizenship and family unification. However, legislative proposals making their way to the November 2008 ballot in Oregon will further divide our communities and increase hate, fear, and racism, thus contributing to anti-immigrant sentiment, by attacking an already vulnerable people, known by people of faith as children of the Creator.
Whereas: Oregon ballot initiative petition (IP) #19 proposes to add a section to the Oregon Revised Statutes requiring English immersion in public schools as proposed by Bill Sizemore and Alan Grosso and filed in the Secretary of State’s office on April 18, 2006:
- prohibits teaching public school students in languages other than English for more than two years.
- would have a severe impact on immigrant children's opportunities for quality education.
- would take away local control and classroom decisions about individual learning levels and special needs of students, thereby punishing immigrant and refugee children, regardless of their legal status, and
Whereas: Oregon ballot initiative petition (IP) #112 named “Respect for Law Act” proposed by Mehran Smith and Shahriyar Smith of Oregonians for Immigration Reform and filed in the Secretary of State’s office on July 10, 2007:
- effectively forces undocumented immigrants further into the shadows.
- diverts local government resources away from community safety, health and education needs.
- moves police, fire fighters, teachers, social workers, and health care workers to act as immigration officers.
- encourages racial profiling, unreported crime, school dropouts, and public health and safety calamities.
- imperils public safety by restricting driver’s licenses forcing immigrants who must drive to maintain their employment and care for their households to continue driving as unlicensed motorists.
- offers new voter registration restrictions which are unnecessary since there is no evidence that non-citizens are voting—and discourages registration by other marginalized populations, such as low-income, elderly and people of color, and
Whereas: These measures are an affront to the dignity, safety, livelihoods, and opportunities of our immigrant neighbors, and
Whereas: Jesus instructs us to welcome strangers - not mistreat them, and
Whereas: As Christians, our actions should reflect Jesus’ teachings, and
Whereas: As a nation of immigrants, our laws should reflect compassionate action toward those who come into our country for safety and opportunity;
Be it resolved: that the Central Pacific Conference of the United Church of Christ declares its opposition to Oregon ballot initiative petitions #19 and #112 and calls on local UCC affiliates and other faith communities to do the same.
I was proud to be a co-sponsor of the resolution and look forward to working with churches all across Oregon in defeating these measures.
This morning at Parkrose Community United Church of Christ our scripture readings included Deuteronomy 10:17-19 and Matthew 25:35-41. My sermon focused on immigration reform in light of what God expresses in Deuteronomy:
For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who is not partial and takes no bribe, who executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and who loves the strangers, providing them with food and clothing. You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.
Use the below link to download the podcast of the sermon for your iPod or personal computer.
(click with the RIGHT mouse button on the hyperlink and choose “Save Target As” and save to your desktop or other folder – once downloaded click on the file to listen).
Photo credit: Christian Peacemaker Teams
The U.S. Senate today voted to resume debate on the Secure Borders, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Reform Act (S. 1348). After considering a series of amendments, the Senate could take final action on the bill on Friday.
Take five minutes now to phone your two Senators and ask them to support:
Update: This news today from the General Synod of the United Church of Christ on the same subject....
General Synod supports immigration reform
Written by W. Evan Golder
June 26, 2007
On the same day that the United States Senate voted to reconsider stalled immigration legislation, General Synod delegates voted with only a handful of nay votes to support a resolution advocating for a humane immigration policy. The resolution declared that "the Militarized Border Enforcement Strategy of the United States government has been ineffective and inhumane."
Although the resolution acknowledged the existence of other immigrant communities that deserve our support and prayers, its primary concern was with immigrants from Latin America. Since 1993, when the United States began its current blockade strategy of border enforcement, more than 3,000 men, women and children have died attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexican border.
The resolution presented to delegates was a combination of three resolutions on this issue, originally presented, respectfully, by the Central Atlantic, Illinois and Southern California Nevada Conferences.
Under the leadership of the Rev. Rodney Sutton, Sr., of First Grace UCC in Akron, Ohio, the approximately 150 delegates on the immigration resolution committee heard presentations on each resolution. Nancy Escue spoke for Central Atlantic, the Rev. Michael Mulberry for Illinois, and the Rev. Art Cribbs for Southern California Nevada.
Sutton then led the delegates through a two-session process from which the single resolution emerged.
Along with Sutton, the Rev. Laura Westby of First Congregational UCC in Danbury, Conn., helped present the resolution to Synod delegates.
"We're motivated by the 3,000 who have died," she said, "the need for resources for our people, and the need for collaboration with other groups concerned with this issue.
"We see this as an issue of faith," she said.
The resolution calls for local churches "to advocate for a policy that allows immigrant workers and their families to live and work in a safe, legal, orderly and humane manner through an Employment-Focused immigration program (as opposed to employer-focused) that guarantees basic international workers' rights to organization, collective bargaining, job portability, religious freedom, easy and safe travel between the United States and their homeland, achievable and verifiability paths to residency, and a basic right of mobility."
It also urges conference ministers and local churches to seek out opportunities for face-to-face dialogue with immigrant communities, and that they study the immigration issue with such films as "El Norte" and "Babel" and books such as "The Devil's Highway" by Luis Alberto Urrea.
It also called for all UCC settings to join others in advocating for justice and providing services for those in the undocumented community most in need, e.g., abandoned immigrant children, abused women, and families facing or involved in the deportation process.
Action Alert from Church World Service
NEW YORK -- Humanitarian agency Church World Service is calling on its constituents to advocate for humane, equitable immigration reform with its June 5 - 8 "Take 5 for Immigrants" campaign.
Participants will take five minutes on each of those days to call their senators about key amendments being voted on that very day. "Action alerts" will be available by 11 a.m. (Eastern) each day at www.cwsspeakout.com
"The week of June 4 could be crucial in determining what kind of immigration reform the U.S. Senate will pass," said Joe Roberson, Director of the CWS Immigration and Refugee Program. "If all goes according to plan, senators will be voting on different parts of the bill (S. 1348) each day, aiming toward final action as early as June 7."
The goal of the "Take 5 for Immigrants" campaign is to proactively bring to the immigration reform debate the values of the U.S. ecumenical community to promote family unity, a workable immigration system, and the humane treatment of all individuals.
"There is so much at stake in every section of the bill that it would be irresponsible for us not to educate and advocate about each part as it comes before the senate for action," Roberson said. "Members of Congress need to bring their common sense, human empathy, realism, and fairness to the immigration policy debate."
Since the beginning of the debate, Church World Service has been calling for reforms that would:
Church World Service is the relief, development and immigration and refugee resettlement agency supported by 35 Protestant, Orthodox and Anglican denominations in the United States.
It has been truly stunning (and inspiring) to see massive protests erupt across the United States in opposition to draconian immigration legislation being proposed in the United States Congress. Over 500,000 people marched in Los Angeles this weekend.
Like with Iraq, there is great unity in the Christian community opposing these moves in Congress. HR 4437, the anti-immigrant legislation passed in the US House of Representatives, is opposed by both leading Protestant and Roman Catholic leaders. Click here to learn more about this legislation and click here for an action alert from Church World Service asking the US Senate to oppose the House legislation.
Many conservative political leaders hope to use immigration as a wedge issue in the 2006 and 2008 elections.
Here are a few of the statements issued by religious leaders on immigration in recent weeks:
There are several reasons the Catholic Church is involved in the immigration debate. The Old and New Testaments, as well as the encyclicals of the Popes, form the basis for the Church's position. In Gospel of Matthew, Jesus calls upon us to "welcome the stranger," for "what you do to the least of my brethren, you do unto me. " (Mt. 25-35, 40). The Church also is involved in the issue because many of the Catholic faithful are immigrants who need the support and assistance of the Church. Finally, the U.S. bishops believe that our current immigration system is not good for our nation and contributes to the human suffering of migrants. Thus, they seek to point out the moral consequences of a broken system.
In our policy on immigration, the National Council of Churches USA -- which represents 35 member denominations with more than 45 million adherents -- clearly states that under God, persons and nations are responsible to each other and for the welfare of all humanity. God mandates the Israelites in the Book of Exodus to "neither mistreat a stranger nor oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt."
As Christians we believe that we are called to advocate for policies and mindsets that do not foster hate and perpetuate fear and discrimination. That is why we strongly urge Congress and the President to pass comprehensive immigration reform that upholds the dignity of all people and reflects the principles for which our nation was founded. Except for Native Americans, who were here when the boat landed, and African Americans who were brought here on slave ships, and Mexicans who were the original inhabitants of most of the Southwest, once, we, too, were strangers in this land.
The Bible teaches us that we have all been created in the image of God and God expresses love and concern for all of humanity -- the condition of our lives as well as the condition of our souls. Developing policies based on hate and fear of those who do not look like us -- but, are nevertheless created in the image of God -- is contrary to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and bad public policy.
The Hispanic Coalition for Comprehensive Immigration Reform calls upon President George W. Bush and Members of the Senate to enact legislation that will address all facets and dimensions of the immigration issue. Our concerns stems from the immigration legislation recently passed by the House of Representatives and the subsequent proposals currently in the Senate.
As Hispanic Evangelical leaders we are concerned with the security of our nation and the simultaneous well being of our immigrant families of which the majority is of Latin American descent. We support immigration reform based on our Judeo/Christian value system that empowered this nation of immigrants to thrive while preserving standards of compassion and humane treatment to all who seek a better life
The Hispanic Evangelical church consists of approximately 20 million Hispanics in America. We wholeheartedly understand the legal, moral and political juxtaposition surrounding this issue. However, we believe that we can protect our borders, implement current immigration laws and present a viable solution to the undocumented immigrants currently in our nation within the framework of Biblical mandates and our Judeo/Christian Value System.
As American Jews, we recognize the need for a generous, fair and non-discriminatory immigration policy. For over 350 years, Jews have sought freedom and opportunity on America's shores, and many continue to do so today. As a community, we are especially aware that generous immigration policies have benefited Jews fleeing persecution and economic hardship, and we remember painfully the times when these policies have been unfairly restrictive. Having struggled to adjust to a society that did not always welcome our arrival, we understand some of the challenges faced by today's immigrants as well as the need for a firm commitment to our nation's security.
In addition to our historic experience, our tradition also demands of us concern for the stranger in our midst. The Torah contains over 36 references to this principle, including Leviticus' command, "When strangers sojourn with you in your land, you shall not do them wrong. The strangers who sojourn with you shall be to you as the natives among you, and you shall love them as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt" [19:33-34]. Throughout two millennia of diaspora and disenfranchisement, Jews have clung to this principle, which permeates not only our religious tradition but the American legal tradition as well.
As both Americans and Jews, we keep this principle in mind as we face the reality of the eight to twelve million undocumented migrants currently living in the United States, and the hundreds of thousands attempting to come each year. Experience has shown that tightening security at the border alone will not work, as long as thousands of people are still desperate to enter this country to work or to be reunited with loved ones. We need real solutions to the problems that plague our nation's immigration system, not just cosmetic fixes.
What would those solutions entail? Like many others in the faith community, as well as members of the labor, business, and legal communities, we believe that a program of earned legalization for undocumented migrants already living in the U.S. would provide an appropriate alternative to programs aimed primarily at detaining and deporting eight to twelve million people.
Add your voice to this growing chorus.
Interfaith religious leaders spoke out on immigration this week. The National Council of Churches reports:
Washington, March 2, 2006 -- As Congress prepares to debate changing immigration laws, prominent religious leaders, including National Council of Churches' General Secretary Rev. Dr. Bob Edgar, gathered Wednesday in Simmons Chapel at the United Methodist Building on Capitol Hill to call for comprehensive immigration reform.
The religious leaders, representing the Catholic, Evangelical Christian, Protestant and Jewish communities, expressed their concern for the current system as well as pending legislation that would bring undue harm to legal immigrants, asylum-seekers, and refugees in this country.
The leaders said they would support legislation to legalize illegal workers, institute a program for temporary workers and reunite families separated by immigration laws. The religious leaders said they were opposing a bill, H.R. 4437, the Border Protection, Antiterrorism and Illegal Immigration Act of 2005, that would stiffen enforcement and restrict immigration.
According to Edgar, the U.S. must develop immigration policies that uphold the dignity of all people and demonstrate justice to those who seek a home and a better way of life in our country.
"Throughout history, politicians have tried to convince themselves and others that the biblical call to love, the ministry of hospitality and the Sermon on the Mount are naive, impractical and irrelevant to our complex world," said Edgar. "But one cannot -- dare not -- suspend biblical principles simply to advance a political agenda. It comes from an authority higher than Congress, higher than Immigration and Naturalization Services, higher than the President of the United States, and it cannot be ignored," he said.
Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, the Archbishop of Washington, Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, and Rabbi Scott Sperling, Director of the Union for Reform Judaism's Mid-Atlantic Council, also participated in the interfaith press event.
You can bet that immigration will be one of the top topics in the 2006 mid-term elections. It is good to see Protestant and Roman Catholic leaders - along with our interfaith partners - on the same page.
Related Post: "The Gospel vs. H.R. 4437"
"You shall love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt." Deut. 10:19
"Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it." Heb. 13:2
Action Alert from Church World Service
The Senate Judiciary Committee’s version of comprehensive immigration reform is now being drafted. It is referred to as the Chairman's Mark and is scheduled to be marked up for introduction on March 2nd. It will compile several comprehensive immigration bills already introduced in the Senate , as well as the extremely anti-immigrant Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005 (HR 4437), which passed in the House in December with the Administration's support. (Look up your Congressperson's vote on HR 4437)
This House legislation (HR 4437) emphasizes enforcement, criminalizes undocumented immigrants, and jeopardizes anyone who assists them. It could lead to criminal penalties for Good Samaritans who help undocumented immigrants in need. It is vital that this legislation NOT be part of the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform legislation.
Please email, fax, and/or call your Senators immediately or call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask for their office. Visit the CWS Speak Out website to send an email and to look up contact info.
Ask the Senators to develop legislation that will:
Thank you for taking the time to speak out on this important issue!