Immigration

2-28-2014
“I can think of no better way to stand in solidarity with Jesus during Lent than to stand in solidarity with immigrant families,” said Lisa Sharon Harper, senior mobilizing director for the Christian organization Sojourners.
2-28-2014
The Rev. John C. Wester, bishop of the Salt Lake City Diocese, signed on to the ecumenical appeal with other notable faith leaders, including Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals; Jim Wallis, president and founder of the Sojourners social-justice group; and leading Catholic churchmen from Brooklyn, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta and Washington, D.C.
2-28-2014
“Even if we have different political sensibilities, we are united around this cause,” said Jim Wallis, president of Sojourners and a leader of the Evangelical Immigration Table.
2-28-2014
With twin “Fast For Families” buses as their backdrop and news media cameras in front of them, the crowd was represented by a lineup of speakers which included Lisa Sharon Harper (Sojourners), Dae Joong “DJ” Yoon (NAKASEC), Congresswoman Judy Chu, and Eliseo Medina who spoke of comprehensive immigration reform as a pressing issue of the present.
2-28-2014
With twin “Fast For Families” buses as their backdrop and news media cameras in front of them, the crowd was represented by a lineup of speakers which included Lisa Sharon Harper (Sojourners), Dae Joong “DJ” Yoon (NAKASEC), Congresswoman Judy Chu, and Eliseo Medina who spoke of comprehensive immigration reform as a pressing issue of the present.
2-27-2014
Rev. Wallis said the unified voice shows that the Christian community is united in believing "immigration reform should not be a victim of our dysfunctional politics. In an era defined by partisanship, immigration reform should be the great exception, the great exemption, to politics as usual."
2-27-2014
The letter is signed by 11 Catholic leaders and eight evangelical leaders, including, Stephan Bauman, president and CEO of World Relief, Eusebio Elizondo, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, Jim Wallis, president and founder of Sojourners, and Thomas Wenski,
Adam Ramirez 2-21-2014
Brandon Hook/Sojourners

Eliseo Madina speaks at the Fast4Families tent to kick off their fast last November. Brandon Hook/Sojourners

You probably haven’t heard of Sioux County, Iowa — but if you’re ever on a flight from Boston to Los Angeles, you’ll fly right over us and know you’re at the midpoint of your trip. We’re just about exactly in the middle of the country.

But aside from U.S. geography, Sioux County isn’t often known for being in the middle. We’re found in the 4th congressional district of the state — the constituency represented by Steve King, where close to 80% of our electorate is Republican.

Recently, Sioux County, Iowa was blessed with the visit of Eliseo Medina, a hero in immigrants’ rights movements for over 40 years. Eliseo was a key part of the farmworkers movement and went on strike with Cesar Chavez. He served as a board member of United Farm Workers from 1973 to 1978.

At the Sioux Center Library, approximately 130 people gathered, overflowing the room. College students and professors, church members, and Latino workers congregated to listen to a prophetic voice calling in the wilderness for God’s justice to the powerless and voiceless in our midst. Congressman King was invited but did not attend.

2-20-2014
Do conservatives have any compassion left? As House Republicans wrestle with whether to reform our nation’s immigration laws, that is the question evangelical leaders like myself are asking.
2-20-2014
The moral case for reform as an alternative to an unacceptable status quo — a humanitarian crisis that is hurting untold numbers of people — has motivated many evangelicals to get involved in the push to fix the immigration system. And today, evangelical writer Jim Wallis makes that moral case by painting a vivid picture of the dilemma the country currently faces:
2-20-2014
And today, evangelical writer Jim Wallis makes that moral case by painting a vivid picture of the dilemma the country currently faces.
2-20-2014
And today, evangelical writer Jim Wallis makes that moral case by painting a vivid picture of the dilemma the country currently faces.
2-19-2014
“You’re not going to see the president talking critically or negatively about Republicans on an issue like this when he wants to see this happen,” said Jim Wallis, president of the Christian social-justice organization Sojourners. “They’re not looking for conflict here, they are looking for cooperation and collaboration.”
2-18-2014
“You’re not going to see the president talking critically or negatively about Republicans on an issue like this when he wants to see this happen,” said Jim Wallis, president of the Christian social-justice organization Sojourners. “They’re not looking for conflict here, they are looking for cooperation and collaboration.”
2-18-2014

Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño of the United Methodist Church in front of the White House Monday. Photo: Kara Lofton

This President’s Day, about 20 church leaders, sympathizers, and undocumented immigrants were arrested in front of the White House as part of an act of civil disobedience to protest the nearly 2 million people who have been deported under President Obama.

The core group and about 40 supporters gathered around 1 p.m. on Monday afternoon in Lafayette Park in front of the White House. They held signs that said, “Praying for Relief” and “#Not1moredeportation,” and sang hymns in between short megaphoned speeches that told personal stories. They called for immigration reform. “Not one more, not one more,” they chanted together in both English and Spanish.

The event was organized by Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño of the United Methodist Church, who was the first Hispanic woman to be elected to her position.

Carmille Akande 2-12-2014
spirit of america/Shutterstock

Immigration is an issue that affects the lives of real people. spirit of america/Shutterstock

Imagine a young girl growing up in a small town going off to college then law school. She then takes the bar examination and becomes a licensed attorney. She has accomplished what most people would call the American Dream.

However, one thing is missing — her father. You see, her father was deported when she was three years old and they have been separated ever since. She has lived 30 years without him.

Her father came to this country from Nigeria. He saw America as the land of opportunity. Her mother tells her that before coming to America he believed the streets were paved with gold. I’m not sure if his statement was figurative or literal, but I do know that he saw it as a wonderful opportunity.

Her father came to this country as a student on a student visa. He was able to obtain a bachelor’s and a master’s degree. He worked hard in school and earned both degrees. He longed to begin his career as an architect in America. He desperately wanted his piece of the American Dream.

2-07-2014
“I get the sense that there’s a mood that is at least open to options,” said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), whose former chief of staff, Becky Tallent, is now Boehner’s top immigration aide. “Part of it is the business community, part of it is the evangelicals, part of it’s organized labor. It’s the largest coalition ever behind any piece of legislation.”
Adam Ericksen 2-06-2014
Coca-Cola Super Bowl commercial screenshot

Coca-Cola Super Bowl commercial screenshot

The highlight of the Super Bowl for me was Coca-Cola’s "America is Beautiful" commercial. The images of the American landscape are amazing and the song was beautiful. At first I was a bit confused by the different languages singing "America the Beautiful" (I’m slow…), but I caught on about halfway through. When the commercial ended, I looked over at my wife and said, “Wow. That was beautiful … Not worth four million dollars, but that was good.”

For the moment, let’s deal with any cynicism that the Coca-Cola Company is simply trying to sell us their product. Of course they’re trying to sell us their product; that’s why they spent millions on their ad, but along the way, Coke pointed to the reason that I love the United States. I love my country because it is a nation that welcomes the “Other.” Indeed, we haven’t always been good at this, and we still struggle with it, but the United States is a nation of immigrants. Even Native Americans, who have tragically been excluded from the land they’ve lived on for thousands of years, were originally immigrants who were welcomed by this land. This land has a long history of welcoming people into it, and so any act of excluding immigrants goes against its ideal of welcoming the “Other.”

2-05-2014
Dae Joong Yoon, executive director of the National Korean American Education Consortium was one of the three core fasters. The Fast for Families tent was on the mall for one month, from November to December. Yoon, as well as advocates Eliseo Medina, Christian Avila and Lisa Sharon Harper, participated in a water-only fast for 22 days.
Aaron Klinefelter 1-30-2014
Photo via NAKASEC / Flickr.com http://www.flickr.com/photos/nakasec/

Photo via NAKASEC / Flickr.com http://www.flickr.com/photos/nakasec/

I completed my fast. I fasted for seven days as a participant in the Fast for Families: A Call for Immigration Reform & Citizenship. I fasted because Jesus cared about the "least of these" in his society, and as a follower of Jesus, I'm called to do the same. More specifically, I undertook this fast to raise awareness of these particular "least of these" in our society.

I was quite certain that some within my community of influence would disagree with me on this particular spiritual practice, whether theologically, politically, or socially. The pushback I did receive turned out to be more theological than anything. Perhaps that is just because of the circles I am in, but it went something like this, “I’m all for fasting as a personal spiritual thing, but associating it with a political cause is just wrong. Jesus came to save us from our sins and keep us individually out of hell.” The assumption is that Christianity has nothing to do with Public Square.


I'm still processing the political and governmental, not to mention partisan, implications of immigration reform. I'm certainly not under the impression that one simple bill at a federal level will "fix" immigration any more than the Civil Rights Act of 1968 fixed discrimination. Which of course is not to say that either is unimportant.
 

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