I was hoping to get Robin Hoover to write something up for the blog about the situation in Arizona. Robin is a Disciples pastor in Tuscon, AZ and a tireless worker on behalf of migrants who founded a ministry more than a decade ago called Humane Borders. I said, I hoped to get a piece from him. But all he had time for was this brief statement sent via his Blackberry:
No time to write. Get goups down here. Protest where you are. Send resources for migrants, dollars for advocacy.
Maybe that's all that needs to be said, but of course more needs to be said.
It is interesting that right now, as Arizona seeks to clamp down on migration from the south by requiring the police to stop and question anyone who seems suspicious -- a law that, despite the promises by the governor that such a thing won't happen, is bound to lead to racial profiling and infringement on civil rights, efforts are underway to delay discussion on immigration reform. It is our unwillingness to deal with immigration reform, including making provisions for guest workers, family unity, and paths to citizenship, that has led us to this point.
In an earlier post I quoted scripture, but today I quote the words found on the Statue of Liberty:
"Give me your tired, your poor,Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" (Emma Lazarus)
Of course, we've never truly embraced this motto, and our immigration laws have rarely reflected the realities that confront us. The reason why migration is happening, is the same reason that it's always occurred. Changes in global economic, social, cultural, and religious conditions. Workers come north in search of jobs and the opportunity for a new life. The trek is dangerous and often ends in tragedy. Migration makes major impacts on communities, and they are often unable to handle the realities. It is time for Congress to act, but already we're seeing efforts to delay and bury such things. But if we do this, then Arizona will be just the first of many.
Robin Hoover is working on a plan that would, if enacted, bring fairness and justice to the conversation. It's extensive and deals with economic and social issues. It involves with providing migrants with legal ways of coming into the country, that would end the chaos at the border and make the nation safer. I think it has promise -- but it will take political will not yet shown by our government. Let us use this new law to stir the conversation in Washington, demanding that they deal with the issue now.