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Archive for September, 2014

I apologize for my extreme negligence in posting. I’ve been struggling with health issues.

I am aware that I am probably incredibly liberal when it comes to Immigration. While I’m all for controlling who comes in, so that criminals, terrorists, and drugs are kept out of our country, I wish that we let in more people who wanted to come into our country to work and learn.

My feelings are biased by personal history. My family came here in the early twentieth century. We came during the massive waves of immigration from the turn of the century, during a time when, aside from the nauseating voyage to get here, if you could afford a ticket and you weren’t obviously ill, you probably were let in. During that time my great-grandparents, my great-aunts and uncles, my great-great-aunts and uncles, my great-great-grandparents, cousins…everyone, one by one, family by family, packed up their things and headed for a strange country because they wanted a better life, economically and politically. There was racism and hostility towards immigrants then too, but we were let in. Since that time, my family has worked hard, gotten degrees, served in the military…I like to think that we have contributed to our American society in our small way. I believe that the people who want to immigrate today want the same thing for them and their children. My family was given an opportunity and I feel that I am in no position to deny other families the same opportunity.

Right now, there are hundreds of thousands of children sitting in detention centers on the border, having endured far worse things than most of our ancestors did to be here, dehydration, exhaustion, and sexual and physical abuse. Right now, there are ethnic and religious minorities in places like Iraq that are fleeing persecution by groups like ISIS. This includes our Christian brothers and sisters. For any of you who don’t know, in places like Mosul, Christians were told they could either convert, pay a tax for their faith, flee with nothing but the clothes on their backs, or die.

I believe, that if any of those people want a chance here, we should give it to them. I think that our country has always been a nation of immigrants and for many years we operated under the approach that if you wanted to be part of our club, our American experiment, we’d let you have a shot, a chance to practice your religious beliefs in peace and to work your way up the ladder.

I understand the practical and political difficulties with this approach, I really do, but for me, this is a moral issue.

In the Book of Matthew, Jesus says: “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angers. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ They will also answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’” Mathew 25: 34-45

I believe that this verse is extremely clear and for immigrants and refugees, they are the stranger that we are meant to invite in. To turn them away, it is as if we turned away Jesus, our savior, himself. It would be a sin. As Christians, our moral obligations do not stop at our borders or to be people with the same nationality, religion, or skin color as ourselves. We have an obligation to any people of the world who look to us as a haven, a place that has more opportunities and is safer than their home countries. For whatever we have not done for the least of these, we have not done for our God.

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