Immigration

Waiting for a Miracle

JUANA TOBAR SAYS she is waiting for a miracle from God. She’s the mother of four wonderful children and a grandmother of two young girls. Her husband, Carlos, a U.S. citizen, calls her the “glue of their family” and his soul mate. Juana has lived in North Carolina for more than 20 years and serves as an usher in her church, but in the coming weeks the Obama administration will be deciding whether or not to deport her back to Guatemala.

Juana’s case is not unusual. According to its own statistics, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has deported approximately 400,000 immigrants per year since President Obama took office in 2009. In March, he’s set to reach the dubious marker of 2 million deportations, more than any other president. Many of us who work with immigrant communities are left asking: Why would a president—especially one who enthusiastically supports immigration reform that would give the undocumented a chance to stay in the country and earn citizenship—so aggressively deport the same immigrants who could be legalized through reform?

Our best guess is that when Obama entered office, his administration made a calculation that if they showed they were serious about enforcement, lawmakers would be more likely to come to the table and negotiate. That goodwill never materialized. Now, five years later, ICE is feeling increasing heat from immigrant advocates.

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NY's Human Stake: Immigration Reform & State Of The Union

But there is no doubt about it, according to Jim Wallis, founder of the faith in action group Sojourners. "I think he will raise this tonight,” Wallis says. “It's a high priority for the president, and I think it's a social movement now. “Doing something right, doing something for the common good and doing it together – I think that's very possible now." Wallis says he expects the faith community in New York and the nation to play an even greater role this year, and he believes a comprehensive immigration reform plan will be passed in the next six months.

Fast For Families Tour Of US Promotes Immigration Reform

The Rev. Jim Wallis, president and founder of Sojourners, said the campaign is for all immigrants. “This is not just about Latino communities,” Wallis said. “It’s about all of us.” Wallis said the movement is important and requires a group of people to change the broken political system and the broken immigration system. “We are a wind changing group,” Wallis said. “We are a social movement changing politics.”

Evangelical Leaders Praise House Republican Support For Path To Legal Status For Unauthorized Immigrants

On Thursday, the EIT announced its support for the House Republican reform proposals. EIT leaders hail from the left and right of the political spectrum, including leaders of Focus on the Family, National Association of Evangelicals, Sojourners and the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.

Evangelical Leaders Praise House Republican Support For Path To Legal Status For Unauthorized Immigrants

On Thursday, the EIT announced its support for the House Republican reform proposals. EIT leaders hail from the left and right of the political spectrum, including leaders of Focus on the Family, National Association of Evangelicals, Sojourners and the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.

Catholic, Evangelical Leaders Release Letter To Congress On Immigration Reform

Responding to Bishop DiMarzio, Jim Wallis, president of Sojourners, said, “we also say it’s a Gospel issue. I know for Evangelicals, we’ve been converted by [the Gospel of] Matthew [Chapter] 25, and realize now that how we treat 11 million undocumented people is how we treat Christ himself. This for us is a Gospel issue.”

Ash Wednesday: How Fasting and Prayer Could Change Us — and Our Country

Photo by Jeff Pioquinto, SJ / Flickr.com

Photo by Jeff Pioquinto, SJ / Flickr.com

Today is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. I grew up in a small evangelical church that only paid attention to the Christian calendar on Christmas and Easter. But over many years now, I have learned to celebrate the richness of all the Christian seasons from my friends in more liturgical traditions and from marrying a Church of England priest!

Lent offers us the much-needed spiritual preparation for Easter. Ash Wednesday is the place to begin; and that often includes fasting — in different ways and traditions. At Sojourners, we usually have a big staff pancake breakfast on Shrove Tuesday morning, the day before Ash Wednesday. But today, many of us are fasting.

Ash Wednesday doesn’t begin a hunger strike, but rather a season of self-examination, spiritual reflection, repentance, sacrifice, and focused prayer. Lent is a time to examine our hearts and lives, to acknowledge our sins, to look for the ways we are not choosing the gospel or welcoming those whom Jesus calls us to.

Supreme Court Rejects Asylum Bid for German Home-schooling Family

The Romeike family studies around a table at home. Photo courtesy Home School Legal Defense Association. Via RNS

The Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear an appeal from a family seeking asylum in the United States because home schooling is not allowed in their native Germany.

The case involves Uwe and Hannelore Romeike, Christians who believe German schools would have a bad influence on their six children. The family’s case became a rallying point for many American Christians.

As is their custom, the justices on the high court declined to give a reason for not hearing the case.

Michael Farris, chairman of the Home School Legal Defense Association that represents the family, said the group would pursue legislation in Congress to allow the family to stay. But the Romeikes will likely face deportation.

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