undocumented

Ivone Guillen 10-09-2012
Photo: Katrina Brown / Shutterstock.com

Photo: Katrina Brown / Shutterstock.com

Last week, I attended the 9th Annual Immigration Law and Policy Conference at Georgetown University Law Center, where a number of senior government officials, policy experts, academics, and advocates discussed one of the most paralyzing issues of our time —immigration.  

As each panelist attempted to provide their thoughtful legal and policy analysis on a number of issues like immigration enforcement, the federal government’s responsibility on immigration policy, and litigation developments, the differences in opinion between the speakers quickly emerged, even though there was consensus that immigration reform is significantly needed in our country. 

Many agreed that the issue of immigration is of staggering complexity. The solution that is developed by the federal government must be a conglomeration of multifaceted mechanisms that address the brokenness of our current system at the policy, legal, and administrative level. This comprehensive solution must also be a clear reflection of the historical context we currently live in since it’s not in our best interest to use an outdated system from the past as an exemplary model for the future. 

Ivone Guillen 09-26-2012
Speech bubble image, Petr Vaclavek / Shutterstock.com

Speech bubble image, Petr Vaclavek / Shutterstock.com

A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1 

I often wonder how frequently people think about the impact their words have on others, specifically, on the development of human perception. The conclusion I’ve sadly reached is that when a language norm is established by dominant cultural forces —such as the news media, in our day – the truth seldom matters. Once something is spoken and repeated enough times people consider it to be true regardless of the real facts or circumstances.

One recent debate clearly illustrating the power of words is around which terminology the media should use when referencing immigrants who are in this country without authorization to work. Those outlets that use the word “illegal” defend this practice by pointing to the Associated Press’ Stylebook, which designates “illegal” as the appropriate term. Those using the term “undocumented” have noted the changing circumstances within the culture and recognize that using such inflammatory terminology only adds fuel to the proverbial political fire around the issue of immigration

Lisa Sharon Harper 06-26-2012
Supreme Court, Ivone Guillen / Sojourners

Supreme Court, Ivone Guillen / Sojourners

Brewer’s law had four legs. Now it has one—a lame one. The Supreme Court’s ruling was not a vindication of Brewer, rather it issued a death sentence for an unjust law. The law is not dead yet, but it may as well be a dead man walking. 

Now, all eyes turn toward Congress. 

Our U.S. Immigration system is still broken and something must be done. The Supreme Court has made it clear, that action must come from Congress. Now is the time for comprehensive immigration reform. Now is the time to declare, in concert with the Evangelical Immigration Table and the thousands of people who have signed the Statement of Principles for Immigration Reform, released two weeks ago today: “We call for a bipartisan solution on immigration that:

  •  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”
James Colten / Sojourners

Groups rally outside the White House, celebrating Obama's decision. James Colten / Sojourners

Dreams came alive today as President Obama granted relief to thousands of undocumented students. While the decision does not create a pathway to citizenship, it eliminates the threat of deportation for many unauthorized students and makes them eligible for work permits. 

Sponsored by Casa de Maryland, a number of organizations—Amnesty International, Jews United for Justice, 32BJ SEIU, National Council of La Raza, and the National Gay & Lesbian Taskforce—participated in a rally in front of the White House to celebrate the president’s announcement. 

Joshua Witchger 01-30-2012
Old radio, adobe wall. Image via Wylio http://bit.ly/zFgPqk

Old radio, adobe wall. Image via Wylio http://bit.ly/zFgPqk

During this 35-minute audio story, Hitt walks through many aspects of the immigration bill and introduces real stories of people interacting with it — from Scott Beason, a Republican senator who was the primary sponsor for the bill last season, to Latino families pulling their kids out of school, quitting their jobs, and remaining safe in their isolated neighborhoods.

Hitt demonstrates how this is not only a huge issue for the state, but also for the church. A woman shares that people at her congregation are suspect when passing the peace, some won’t even shake hands. But again, this is what HB56 is about: making life uncomfortable to the point that the undocumented people will leave because it’s easier to flee than to stay.

Duane Shank 11-07-2011

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

Ivone Guillen 10-05-2011
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How ironic that for all the protests going on about unemployment these days that a parallel debate is occurring in our agricultural sector: What to do about a shortage of workers to pick crops or care for livestock on U.S. farms.

Gebe Martinez 09-08-2011

There are no whirring helicopters, law enforcement vehicles, or hundreds of federal agents swooping down on businesses as in days of old. Instead, such immigration raids have been replaced by a less overtly brutal approach: "silent" raids, or audits of work eligibility I-9 forms.

But the fear remains.

At the first whisper of an employer receiving notice from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that employees' eligibility records are about to be checked, pulses rise. Legal workers worry about being erroneously bounced out of work; unauthorized employees fear being kicked out of the country and separated from their families. Communities are shaken, business operations are disrupted, and jobs are lost. The anemic economy takes another hit.

Andrew Simpson 08-08-2011

I admit it: A few years back, when I first heard about the E-Verify program, I thought it sounded reasonable. The program was described to me as a way for employers to voluntarily verify the U.S. citizenship of their employees by cross-checking their information with the online databases of the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security administration. I knew that there were flaws in the system, which sometimes misidentified workers as undocumented even when they were not. However, I thought, what employer doesn't deserve the right to check the employment eligibility of his or her workers?

Jeannie Choi 07-06-2011

In November 2009, Bernard Pastor, an 18-year-old undocumented student in Ohio, was stopped by police for a minor traffic violation and detained. ICE held Pastor in federal detention with plans to deport him to his native Guatemala, though his parents had left Guatemala with Pastor when he was 3 years old.

Jim Wallis 05-19-2011

Just over one month ago, a few dozen fired employees demonstrated outside a Chipotle one block from Sojourners' office. The employees reported that they were taken to the back of the store during their 30-minute break and were dismissed without warning.

The world around us is teaming with meaning. Words are lush with meaning. One word can point to many different ideas, emotions, expectations.
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.
Jake Olzen 04-12-2011

The immigrant rights movement is getting extreme. In the past two years, in addition to some of the largest mass gatherings in the country, undocumented students and their allies have shifted their protest from street marches to civil disobedience.

Andrew Simpson 03-08-2011
Reading the recent headlines of immigration news has hardly been uplifting, with multiple state legislatures attempting to pass http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/01/29/arizona-style-imm
Aaron Taylor 02-23-2011
I'll be honest, I've been pretty disgusted with the callousness of our national discourse, how so many politicians, including Democrats, seem all too eager to balance state and federal
Betsy Shirley 02-14-2011
I love Indiana. I love driving through cornfields, playing Euchre, and getting swept up in basketball-mania.
Maryada Vallet 02-09-2011
The shooting in Tucson, Arizona has spurred numerous 'calls for civility' in the heated political tension of Arizona and beyond.
Becky Garrison 02-08-2011

For many Americans, the Sonora Desert conjures up images of a summer vacation replete with tequila shots and sunshine with Toby Keith's "Stays in Mexico" song blaring in the background.

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