the Web Editors 11-30-2018

1. Feds deport undocumented immigrant whose church supporters went to jail to protect him

Samuel Oliver-Bruno took refuge in a church basement for 11 months until he was detained during an appointment with immigration authorities last week.

2. At Capacity: Weaponizing Inefficiency at the Border

“The asylum process is inefficient, and no one has an incentive to fix it.”

Tobias Winright 11-29-2018

Photo Credit: Shutterstock 

When I was in the police academy, each of us recruits were sprayed point-blank in the face with oleoresin capsicum (OC), a cayenne pepper-based spray. This was done for two reasons: first, this experience would help us to know what it feels like when we use it on someone so that we would use it only when truly necessary; second, in case we ever were sprayed unintentionally, we had to still find our radio or a way to safety. Indeed, I’ll never forget the excruciating burning sensation and excessive mucus that put me out of commission for much of the rest of the day.

Jim Wallis 11-29-2018

This bill is very aptly named. The First Step Act is just that and no better — a first, extremely modest step on what will need to be a much longer path of extensive reforms to a deeply broken system. That system can best be understood, as Bryan Stevenson and others have so clearly pointed out, as the direct evolution of slavery into the system of mass incarceration.

Bekah McNeel 11-28-2018

FILE PHOTO: Border police look on as a group of Central Americans and Cubans hoping to apply for asylum wait at the border on an international bridge between Mexico and the U.S., in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico Oct. 25, 2018. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez/File Photo

While Tijuana and California received most of the remaining asylum seekers in the heavily publicized “caravan,” cities all along the U.S.-Mexico border have seen smaller eruptions in the ongoing immigration disaster. Advocates working in those cities do not, however, say that they are seeing waves of immigrants, floods of asylum seekers, or any other crisis-invoking metaphor. The U.S. is not, they say, being overrun.

Asylum seeker Maria Meza sits with her daughters in her tent in a temporary shelter in Tijuana. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

"The first thing I did was grab my children," said Meza. A photo of her clutching the hands of twin 5-year-old daughters Saira and Cheili, as her 13-year-old daughter Jamie runs alongside, has gone viral and sparked angry reactions from some lawmakers and charities.

Cari Willis 11-27-2018

As I’m reading this scripture with my friend on death row, he asks me to repeat the scripture again and takes my Bible to look at it himself. When you are on the row, it is almost a requirement to build up walls all around you so that you ensure that you are not inflicted with even more pain and suffering — death row is enough. He talks about all of the walls that he has built up over the years. He has become a fortified city. He wants to break free. He wants the walls to come tumbling down. But he worries what will happen if he is that vulnerable. So he looks at me and says, “I am glad God writes my name on his palm even though I have all of these walls around me.” “Me too,” I say. 

Mihee Kim-Kort 11-27-2018

Image of John Allen Chau obtained from social media on Nov. 23, 2018. @JOHNACHAU/via REUTERS 

Last week, the world was introduced to John Allen Chau, the U.S. American “adventurer” and missionary who was killed by an indigenous group on North Sentinel Island. According to a statement from missionary organization All Nations, Chau was a “seasoned traveler who was well-versed in cross-cultural issues” and had “previously taken part in missions projects in Iraq, Kurdistan and South Africa.” Now, Indian police have begun the dangerous mission of trying to recover the body even though a tribal rights group has urged officials to call off the search, claiming it puts them and the indigenous group in danger.

Benjamin Perry 11-27-2018

U.S. CBP Response Team officers are seen through wire at the San Ysidro Port of Entry after the land border crossing was temporarily closed in Tijuana, Mexico Nov. 19, 2018. REUTERS/Adrees Latif

On Sunday, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents launched tear gas at parents and children seeking asylum. Far from an isolated incident, this is just the latest outrage in ongoing military escalation.

Stephen Mattson 11-27-2018

Photo by Gift Habeshaw on Unsplash

As a religion consisting of millions of voters, venerable institutions, and large organizations, Christianity is often viewed by governments and politicians as a tool to influence and manipulate. Spiritual jargon is used to lobby segments of Christians to support various agendas, often under the pretense of being “Biblical” and “Godly.” This is how faith becomes co-opted to transform into something it was never meant to be: a way to obtain votes, a method for fueling populist rage, or grounds for implementing oppressive social structures.

John Duffy 11-27-2018

Volodya Senkiv / Shutterstock

On November 12, news broke that Christian songwriter Kurt Kaiser had died at 82. His work, which included memorable songs such as “Pass It On” and “Oh How He Loves You And Me,” spanned nearly 50 years. Kaiser’s name appeared on more than 25 albums and he received a lifetime achievement award from the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers for his contribution to Christian music. One of his songs remains one of the most important in my life, some 30 years after first hearing it. 

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