The Common Good

Chipotle Firings: One Story of a Broken Immigration System

Sojomail - May 19, 2011

  QUOTE OF THE WEEK

"I would invite all Latin people to do nothing for about two weeks so you can see who really, really is running the economy. Who cleans the sheets? Who cleans the toilets? Who babysits? I am here to give voice to the invisible."

- Musician Carlos Santana, protesting Georgia's immigration law while accepting Major League Baseball’s Beacon of Change award before the "Civil Rights Game" in Atlanta. (Source: USA Today)

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Hearts & Minds by Jim Wallis

Chipotle Firings: One Story of a Broken Immigration System

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Just over one month ago, a few dozen fired employees demonstrated outside a Chipotle one block from Sojourners' office. The employees reported that they were taken to the back of the store during their 30-minute break and were dismissed without warning. On their way out of the restaurant they saw their replacements already at work. Chipotle fired 40 employees throughout the D.C. area because of questions regarding their immigration status. Workers reported that Chipotle still has not paid nearly $21,000 in wages.

Stories like this occur day after day across the country. Our immigration system is broken. The status quo is not acceptable. It tears apart families, hurts businesses, and divides communities.

This month, Sojourners and Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform are featuring "The Stories of Immigration" blog series. We are highlighting stories, songs, and interviews with immigrants and immigrant advocates as a way to offer a behind-the-scenes look at the lives of immigrants and the broken immigration system here in the United States. Click on any of the blogs below to read these powerful stories:

Individuals, communities, and families continue to be hurt by our broken immigration system. Last week, I was reminded of the fear that millions in our country live with every day when I joined my Hispanic brothers and sisters at the National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast. While we are a long way from where we need to be, there are hopeful movements.

At the breakfast, President Barack Obama told the leaders gathered that when they speak out on the need for comprehensive immigration reform, he is listening. Obama said that fixing our immigration system is not just an economic and security imperative, but also a moral imperative.

Action on a national level is absolutely necessary. In lieu of federal leadership, individual states continue to pass patchwork legislation and enforcement policies. In Georgia, a hotly debated piece of immigration legislation that increases enforcement powers against immigrants was signed into law. The bill closely mirrors another bill that passed last year in Utah and ignited a national debate. This type of legislation does more harm than good. Immigration, both constitutionally and practically, is a national issue. Solutions to our broken system will only come from the federal government, and need to be uniform across the country.

Problems with the Secure Communities initiative have led other states, such as Massachusetts, New York, Illinois, and California, to raise objections to the program's impact. The program is designed to spot and deport undocumented immigrants who have been convicted of crimes. Under the program, fingerprints of people booked into a jail are transmitted to a database reviewed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). If a person is found to be in the U.S. illegally, he or she can face deportation. Unfortunately, the Secure Communities initiative has led to the deportation of thousands of people without criminal records, and it is one of the main forces tearing families and communities apart.

While the broken state of our immigration system, and its desperate need for reform, might not be a part of your daily life, there are many for whom it is. And I am quite sure that if you take the time to look around your church and extended community, it won't take very long to find those who are living with the consequences of a broken system every day.

Jim Wallis is the author of Rediscovering Values: A Guide for Economic and Moral Recovery, and CEO of Sojourners. He blogs at www.godspolitics.com. Follow Jim on Twitter @JimWallis.

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Our current immigration system does not reflect our nation's best values. It is time to enact humane and practical laws that move beyond the legislative stalemate of the past few years. Advocating for immigration reform is one way we can live out our calling as Christians to welcome the strangers in our midst.

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  Inside Sojourners Magazine

Let Them Eat Tanks

As co-founder of Ben & Jerry's ice cream company, Ben Cohen understood a thing or two about running a balance sheet. But, as Cohen explains to Sojourners' Jim Wallis in this month’s interview, he still couldn’t fathom the concept of spending hundreds of billions on the military.

+Read our interview with Ben Cohen in this month's issue of Sojourners magazine.

 


  ON THE GOD'S POLITICS BLOG

+ See what's new on the blog of Jim Wallis and friends

Afghanistan Weekly Digest: John Kerry. House Withdrawal Legislation. Poppy Fields.
by Hannah Lythe

"Osama bin Laden's death will allow 'a new phase' in the United States' relationship with Afghanistan, one that could include reductions in troops and spending, Senator John Kerry said while visiting here on Sunday."
+ Click to continue

What Are Your 'Life Giving' Questions?
by Eugene Cho

I love what I do, but it's amazing how even that which you do and that which you feel "called" to do can grow in an unhealthy way to become idolatrous or simply draining.
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'It's Time for This War to End, And to End Now'
by Hannah Lythe

On April 14, Jim Wallis attended a press conference on Capitol Hill. Organized by Rethink Afghanistan, a campaign of the Brave New Foundation, the press conference highlighted the cost of war.
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Let Them Eat Tanks: My Interview with Ben and Jerry's Co-Founder, Ben Cohen
by Jim Wallis

I had the opportunity to interview Ben and Jerry's co-founder Ben Cohen about ice cream, Oreos -- and how the bloated military budget is destroying our economy and making us all less secure.
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Presidential Contenders: None Standing Tall on Climate Change
by Jim Ball

Whoever is our next president -- whether President Obama in a second term or the eventual Republican nominee -- will be the most consequential president ever for overcoming global warming.
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Rebuilding Haiti With a Passion for Business
by Jacqueline Klamer

Evelien de Gier moved to Haiti 28 years ago from the Netherlands to work for a picture-frame production company.
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Worship Songs for a New Generation: 'Hold On to Love'
by Steve Holt

Much ink has been spilled about the so-called "love songs to Jesus" many of us sing week after week at church.
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Choosing Priest Instead of Princess: The Pitfalls of Ransomed Heart Ministries
by Laura Robinson

Growing up, I had never heard of John and Stasi Eldredge's Ransomed Heart Ministries and their co-written book, Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman's Soul.
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A Song and Reflection on Immigration and the Border Town
by Marcus Hummon

I was recently arguing the case of my friend Rosanna with an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) official over at the Nashville Municipal Auditorium, a major performance venue in Nashville, Tennessee. Rosanna was about to be deported back to Honduras for the second time in 12 months.
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Facebook, Freedom Riders, and Other Lessons in Nonviolent Activism
by Betsy Shirley

By the time Egyptian activists in Tahrir square had ousted Mubarak, I'd read more articles labeling it a "Facebook revolution" than you can wave a shoe at.
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The Time for Immigration Reform is Now
by Troy Jackson

Back when President Obama was candidate Obama, one of his favorite mantras on the stump was the need to recapture what Martin Luther King, Jr. called "the fierce urgency of now."
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Claremont Lincoln: The World's First Interreligious University
by Helene Slessarev-Jamir

On May 16, 2011, the Claremont School of Theology, located in Claremont, California, announced the receipt of a $50 million naming gift from Joan and David Lincoln that will establish the Claremont Lincoln University as the nation's (and possibly the world's) first interreligious theological graduate university.
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My Thoughts on Sojourners, Coalition Building, and LGBTQ Rights
by Brian McLaren

On my personal blog, I traced my journey on the issue of homosexuality and explored the challenges of coalition-building. It's from this place that I've been reading about the recent critique of Sojourners over their decision not to accept an ad that would have, in their opinion, "taken sides" on homosexuality.
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An Undocumented Student's Message to Obama
by Gaby Pacheco

I emigrated from Ecuador with my family, grew up in Miami and attended public schools, where I was a high-achieving student who eventually made it to college. I am also an undocumented immigrant.
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8 Lessons Learned as a Pastor and Mother
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As a pastor/mother, I mostly remember my patience being tested when well-meaning congregants would generously share their unsolicited advice on how to raise my kids or how my kids should act at church.
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Financial Crash Amnesia in the House
by Elizabeth Palmberg

As unemployment brought on by the recession still hovers around 9 percent, most ordinary folk in the U.S. are not in danger of forgetting the experience, or the financial crisis at its start, anytime soon.
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Friday Links Round Up: Tomatoes. Uganda. Fair Trade.
by Jeannie Choi

Tomatoes. Uganda. Fair Trade. Here's a little round up of links from around the Web you may have missed this week.
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President Obama and the Economic and Moral Imperatives of Immigration Reform
by Valerie Elverton Dixon

The world around us is teaming with meaning. Words are lush with meaning. One word can point to many different ideas, emotions, expectations.
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  SOJOURNERS IN THE NEWS

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Top Stories:

After Bin Laden, Stay in Afghanistan?
Christianity Today
Reporter Tobin Grant covers what Christian organizations, including Sojourners, are saying about the future of the war in Afghanistan.

My take: Rethinking the pro-life label
CNN Belief Blog
Stephen Prothero writes in CNN's Belief Blog that the Religious Right cannot claim a monopoly on Biblical values.

Who would God vote for?
Guardian.co.uk

Calvin Harris looks at how moral issues have come into play with U.S. politics and how Speaker Boehner has come under fire for Republican budget cuts.

"Sojourners in the news" articles are the most recent news clippings that mention Sojourners in any way - whether favorably or unfavorably. Though we provide the text on our site for your convenience, we do not necessarily endorse the views of these articles or their source publications.




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