immigration law

Lisa Sharon Harper 01-28-2013

Photo: ericsphotography / Getty Images

Five year-old Tony Amorim sat with his dad in a van in Danbury, Conn., in 1989. 

“Do you want to come with me,” his father asked him, “or do you want to stay with your mother?”

Tony loved them both, but the boy couldn’t imagine living without his father. 

“I want to go with you,” Tony answered.

Right then and there Tony’s father drove away and took him to the far-away land of Florida. 

Last week, I interviewed Tony, now 28, on the phone. I couldn’t call him directly because he is in Norfolk County Correctional Center awaiting his deportation hearing scheduled for today. 

Tony’s voice was tight. He was eager to share his story — his whole story.

On the face of it, his case is simple. According to a Notice to Appear, issued to him by the Department of Homeland Security, Tony is a native and citizen of Brazil who entered the U.S. through Orlando, Fla., on a Nonimmigrant Visitor for Pleasure Visa in 1985. In 1995, Tony was granted Lawful Permanent Resident status by an immigration judge. He was 11 years old. In 2004 he was arrested and convicted for possession of narcotics. Four years later he was arrested and convicted again for possession of narcotics with intent to sell and for possession of a pistol.

It sounds like Tony is the poster child for the kind of person who should be deported: two felony convictions and possession of a gun. But you haven’t heard the whole story.

Matthew Soerens 02-08-2012
Photo by Sarah L. Voisin/Washington Post via Getty Images.

Immigrant families are fleeing Alabama in the wake of the new law. Photo by Sarah L. Voisin/Washington Post via Getty Images.

Whenever possible, I plan my Saturday errands such that I’ll be able catch part of “This American Life” on public radio as I drive and I’ve often found myself sitting in the grocery store parking lot to hear the end of a story. 

One recent Saturday, the show’s theme — which ties together each of its non-fiction stories — was the biblical truism that “you reap what you sow” (Galatians 6:7), and most of the program was dedicated to examining the consequences — intended and otherwise — of Alabama’s controversial, toughest-in-the-nation immigration law, HB 56, which passed last June. 

Whether what is happening in Alabama as a result of this law — and, as the program reveals, a great deal is happening, even if most of us outside of the state aren’t paying attention — was the intention of the bill’s authors and supporters is not entirely clear. What is clear, from a Christian perspective, is that the effects are devastating. 

What most saddened me in the program was the statement of a young undocumented woman named Gabriella that, since the passage of HB 56, she finds herself unwelcome everywhere. “Even in the church,” she says, “you find people that… don't want to talk at you. And they don't want to give the peace to you.”

Duane Shank 11-07-2011

A round-up of recent Op-Ed columns from the mainstream media.

the Web Editors 11-01-2011

Social justice index: USA No. 27 of 31. Democrats in Congress attempt to eat on $4.50 a day to protest potential budget cuts. Republicans shift focus from jobs to God. OpEd: Obama, the G20 and the 99 percent. In Congress, the rich get richer. The Shadow Superpower. And the U.S. sues South Carolina over immigration law.

Jeannie Choi 07-15-2011

Oatmeal chocolate chip cookiesphoto © 2009 Ted Major | more info (via: Wylio)Here's a little round up of links from around the Web you may have missed this week:

  • The changing face of AIDS.
    Robert Chao Romero 05-10-2011
    [Editors' Note: This month, Sojourners and Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform will be featuring "The Stories of Immigration" blog series.
    Johnathan Smith 01-17-2011

    In his "I Have a Dream" speech, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Andrew Simpson 12-13-2010
    As members of Congress debate the DREAM Act once again, opponents of the act are again attacking the legislation as "
    Max Kuecker 11-15-2010

    It was five days before the mid-term elections. The race to fill President Obama's senate seat was neck-and-neck. On one side, Alexi Giannoulias strongly supported comprehensive immigration reform and the DREAM Act.

    Andrew Wainer 11-04-2010
    "We need immigration reform
    Jeff Johnsen 10-11-2010
    I was invited to be the guest preacher one Sunday this summer at a church in a suburb of my city, Denver, Colorado.
    Andrew Simpson 09-21-2010
    In the last few weeks, the DREAM Act has become a source of hope for many and a source of debate and speculation for others.
    Randall Amster 08-16-2010
    The clock nudged toward midnight on a cool Arizona summer evening.
    Troy Jackson 08-05-2010
    "I'm against you guys." A middle-aged man from Cincinnati proudly wearing an American flag on his T-shirt defiantly uttered these words to me a few weeks ago in Columbus, Ohio.
    Andrew Wainer 07-26-2010
    "What part of illegal don't you understand?"
    Justin Fung 07-01-2010
    As a musician, I'm always interested in seeing how my fellow creative types respond to injustice or need.