Immigration

The Atlantic: Give Us Your Geniuses

From The Atlantic, a plea for an immigration policy that encourages the movement of high-skilled foreign nationals to the United States:

In this age of extreme polarization, it seems unlikely that there would be an issue where the benefits were so large and the correct course of action so clear that it would unite liberals and conservatives, allowing Democratic and Republican congressmen to pause in their struggle and rocket it through Congress. But it is not wishful thinking. There exists such a policy. The United States must admit many more high-skilled immigrants.

Read the full article here

Immigrant Discrimination Through a Child's Eyes

Ryan Rodrick Beiler / Shutterstock.com
Photo: White House march for immigration reform in 2009. Ryan Rodrick Beiler / Shutterstock.com

My second grader helped me understand that the story of Harriet Tubman is still being lived out today in the lives of Latino families in my school and across the country.

Mary Bauer and Sarah Reynolds authored the report “Under Siege: Life for Low-Income Latinos in the South for the Southern Poverty Law Center.”

They explain, "Latinos in the South—many of whom came here to escape crushing poverty in their home countries—are encountering wide-spread hostility, discrimination and exploitation."

This report helps us understand the struggle for life that many of our Latino students take on, a clandestine struggle like the one Harriet Tubman made all those years ago.

Evangelical Leaders Announce Immigration Table Launch

Photo by Sandi Villarreal / Sojourners
Evangelical leaders close in prayer at the Evangelical Immigration Table launch. Photo by Sandi Villarreal / Sojourners

Church leaders today gathered in Washington, D.C., to announce the launch of the Evangelical Immigration Table – a broad coalition of organizations, churches and pastors from across the political and religious spectrum coming together to advance a cohesive immigration reform message.

The Immigration Table was launched at a press conference, with speakers including Sojourners CEO Jim Wallis, Dr. Richard Land, President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Gabriel Salguero, President of the National Association of Latino Evangelicals and Tom Minnery of Focus on the Family, setting out a common set of principles reflecting the common ground that all members of the Table have found on the issue of immigration.

Read on to view photos from the press conference.

LIVE STREAM: Evangelical Leaders Unite on Principles for Immigration Reform

Evangelical leaders from across the political and religious spectrum meet today to call for immigration reform based on a set of five principles: 

  • Respects the God-given dignity of every person
  • Protects the unity of the immediate family
  • Respects the rule of law
  • Guarantees secure national borders
  • Ensures fairness to taxpayers
  • Establishes a path toward legal status and/or citizenship for those who qualify and who wish to become permanent residents

Watch the live stream from Capitol Hill, beginning at 11:30 EDT HERE:

 

Compassion in the Midst of Poverty

Child hand illustration, Christopher Jones / Shutterstock.com
Child hand illustration, Christopher Jones / Shutterstock.com

When I walk into Paola's first-grade classroom, I'm aware of her poverty. Nine out of 10 of the students at our school meet the federal poverty level guidelines. She is one of them.

She lives in a small apartment with her grandma, mom, sister and uncle; they make less than $26,170 a year.

As the Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman reminds us, she is all too likely to suffer from poor nutrition, inadequate health care, an inferior education and a bad future.

I'm struggling against her life-crushing poverty with all of the compassion, creativity and commitment within me.

Yes, I'm aware of her poverty. Today, however, I don't see it.

Alabama Pastor's Take on Latest Anti-Immigrant Legislation

Photo by Kathryn Kendrick, Greater Birmingham Ministries
HB 658 protest at the Alabama state house. Photo by Kathryn Kendrick, Greater Birmingham Ministries

Here we are today, caught in an economic slump, finding ways to once again dehumanize those that we encouraged to come. The very people who have harvested our food, built our homes and served us over the past 30-plus years, we now declare criminals.

In my beloved Alabama, where 3 percent of the population (largely Hispanic) is estimated to be undocumented, our state government has created the harshest and most egregious anti-immigrant laws in the country. Rep. Micky Hammon and Sen. Scott Beason, sponsors and writers of HB56, stated that these laws would create an atmosphere of “self deportation.” I can only wonder how Native Americans might feel about that concept.

HB56 — passed by the legislature and signed into law by Gov. Robert Bentley in June 2011 — has now been replaced by HB658. The stated purpose of the new legislation was to simplify HB56 and make enforcement less complicated. In the process, stricter guidelines and harsher treatment were incorporated while simplification was ignored.

I am compelled to look at this law as a child of God within the Christian faith, accepting that all people in this world are my brothers and sisters, created by the God who breathed life into me and into them, making us one family.

Hundreds Protest Alabama Immigration Law

Courtesy Greater Birmingham Ministries
Courtesy Greater Birmingham Ministries

Hundreds of Alabamians gathered at the state Capitol grounds after their legislators passed HB 658, a harsher version of now infamous anti-immigrant HB56.

HB658 calls for the creation of an online public database to expose individuals’ identities. The database would list the names of all undocumented immigrants who have appeared in court. In addition, the law targets innocent children by requiring schools to check the immigration status of students. It is both reckless and morally indefensible.

Crisis on the Canadian Border

Passport photo, Jennie Book / Shutterstock.com
Passport photo, Jennie Book / Shutterstock.com

The debate over immigration policy and border security often focuses on the border shared by the United States and Mexico. However, The New York Times recently offered a revealing and troublesome picture of efforts by the U.S. Border Patrol along the dividing line between the US and Canada.

According to the report, the border agents “hover outside the warehouse where Mexican immigrants sell the salal they pick in the temperate rain forest. Sometimes they confront people whose primary offense, many argue, is skin tone.” 

Alabama’s Indefensible New Immigration Law

By Ryan Rodrick Beiler for Shutterstock.
Father and child at an immigration march in Washington, D.C. By Ryan Rodrick Beiler for Shutterstock.

Last week, Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley made a morally indefensible decision. He signed HB 658, which intensifies the climate of fear that already hangs over Alabama like low dark clouds before a hurricane.

Bentley once claimed that HB 658 would simplify HB 56 — the current anti-immigrant legislation that catapulted Alabama to the national stage. If this is simplification, then I’d like to see Bentley’s version of messed up. HB 658’s additional punitive measures now have created a more problematic situation that exacerbates the current oppression of some of the most vulnerable souls in Alabama.  

The new law is reckless. HB 658 calls for the creation of an online public database to expose the names of all undocumented immigrants who have appeared in court. In addition, the law targets innocent children by requiring schools to check the immigration status of students.

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