Alien. Illegal immigrant. Undocumented worker. Human being.
When we talk about immigration, which phrase is most often left out?
More than perhaps any other issue, immigration can devolve into back-and-forth rhetoric that denies the humanity of its subjects, casting them as faceless, nameless problems rather than people with real hopes and fears. In a debate that often references what language people speak, we allow the language of immigration to become undignified and un-dignifying.
Fortunately, affirming humanity continues to be a top priority for people of faith looking to shape immigration policy. A courageous group of Iowa faith leaders, for example, recently called for a more humane policy by discussing “basic human decency” and expressing the need to respond to “God’s call to feed the hungry, cloth the naked and visit the imprisoned,” according to Christian Post’s Ethan Cole.
“They’re counting on us to stop the hateful rhetoric that is filling our airwaves — rhetoric that poisons our political discourse, degrades our democracy and has no place in this great nation,â€ Obama said. “They’re counting on us to rise above fear and demagoguery and pettiness and partisanship and finally enact comprehensive immigration reform.â€
This improved tone is finally starting to eclipse the hateful rhetoric surrounding comprehensive immigration reform and presidential primary ads that blamed immigrants for everything from economic hardship to terrorism. McCain and Obama should be encouraged to continue down a path of reason and compassion in the hopes that others, from thought leaders to everyday folks, will follow suit.
The largest workplace raid in Iowa history Monday resulted in the arrest of more than 300 people and reignited the debate over immigration.
As two law enforcement helicopters hovered overhead, dozens of federal agents descended on Agriprocessors Inc., the nation’s largest kosher slaughterhouse.
The 300 people arrested represent almost one-third of the plant’s 968 workers, and federal officials said the number of arrests could increase.
Fearing the return of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, hundreds of Christian immigrants wait at St. Bridget’s Catholic Church in Postville, Iowa for any word on their missing family members.
After watching this video, do you think that Sr. Mary is right to note the personal aspect of the immigration raid. She compares the ICE comment about the law with its personal impact. Is that a fair comparison for a follower of Jesus Christ to make?
If you have cable, you’ve probably noticed an unsavory element of the punditocracy using hyperbole, incorrect analysis and code words to demonize immigrants. Routinely, you’ll hear Lou Dobbs or Glenn Beck referring to immigrants as “invadersâ€ coming across our borders, coming to undermine American values, bringing with them crime and disease, stealing “our” jobs. What’s worse, the so-called experts that show up on these shows to drum up fears and stoke the fires of prejudice are often not experts, but nicely dressed extremists heading fringe group organizations, many funded by neo-nazi, white supremacy groups.
Seeing a need to set the record straight, National Council of La Raza and the Anti-Defamation League have launched a new website calling out the talking heads on their hate-filled talking points. The website offers commentary from real experts (lawyers from the Southern Poverty Law Center) and educates by giving people the real facts on immigration. The press is taking notice — hopefully the higher-ups at CNN will too.
Today’s Washington Times breaks the story that Paul Weyrich and other Religious Right leaders are calling for amnesty, not for undocumented immigrants, but for Border Patrol agents who shoot them:
In a letter that was delivered today to the White House, 31 major conservative petitioners joined a campaign led by Rep. Duncan Hunter, California Republican and presidential candidate, asking President Bush to pardon [Border Patrol agents] Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean before Thanksgiving…
The letter comes on the heels of the arrest of admitted drug smuggler Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila on charges of trafficking marijuana while he was profiting from the federal immunity deal as the star witness in the shooting case against the agents.
“History has proven that the mere words and deeds of a president can change the course of history and profoundly affect both the tone and direction of the nation’s moral character for generations to come,” said the letter signed by 31 petitioners, mostly from Christian conservative groups and national-security organizations.
If you cross the border illegally but otherwise obey the law, get a job, pay your taxes, feed your family, you are a criminal unworthy of the opportunity to earn citizenship.
Border Patrol agents:
If you shoot an unarmed man in the behind, cover it up, and get convicted of a violent felony in federal court, you are a victim of a grave miscarriage of justice and deserving of a presidential pardon.
The statement’s signers say that presidents can “profoundly affect both the tone and direction of the nation’s moral character for generations to come,” and they are right. What they’re wrong about is what it would do to the nation’s moral character to pardon people who shoot unarmed migrants while denying marginalized, hardworking, otherwise law-abiding undocumented immigrants the opportunity to earn legal status in their adoptive homeland.