Nationwide, immigrants of every ethnicity and backstory are staying home from work, school, grocery shopping, etc to highlight the contribution of immigrants to U.S. business and culture. In the face of recent rhetoric and policy, this is a critically prophetic action taken to help us remember to SEE the humanity, dignity and image of God in EVERYONE.
Whether we realize it or not, we ALL benefit from the presence of immigrants in our neighborhoods, cities and country. For example, if you ate a vegetable or piece of fruit today, it almost certainly went through the hands of an immigrant.
A few things for us to think about today:
-Immigrants are less likely to commit a crime than the native born population.
-96% of economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal said that illegal immigration, in particular, had “been beneficial to the economy” (Undocumented Americans pay $12 billion annually to the Social Security Trust Fund & $11.64 billion annually in state and local taxes.)
-there are 37 million immigrants in the USA today (about 12% of population). 11.5 million are undocumented. 40-50% entered legally and overstayed their visa, while the rest crossed illegally (we’d be wise to listen long to the stories that led to this decision)
-The fastest growing undocumented population are Asian immigrants.
-140,000 more people have left the United States for Mexico between 2009 to 2014
-Immigrants are our neighbors. Jesus made it clear that our priority is to love GOD and love NEIGHBOR. It’s hard to love our neighbors when we don’t know them or only hear their stories through the lens of partisan politics.
-The Hebrew word for “Stranger” or “Alien” (ger) appears in the Old Testament (Hebrew Scriptures) 92 times…consistently in relation to God’s mandate to care and love them.
-Jesus is very clear that this mandate remains when he reminds us to care for the orphans, widow’s, prisoners and “strangers”
-Unless we are Indigenous to the this plot of land, we are ALL immigrants. I’m 3rd generation from Sweden!
One of our closest friends is an undocumented immigrant. She lives in our neighborhood and is regularly in our home. Our kids are like her kids and her kids are like our kids. Her young children are US citizens.
Every day they live in fear of their family being torn apart. Every day they live in the shadows powerless (politically) to change their future. (This recent study by Fuller Theological Seminary shows the psychological and emotional damage of this reality)
Our friend’s daughter came to our house a couple weeks ago to join us in writing letters to President Trump to encourage him and invite him to remember “the least of these” among us.
See the picture of what she wrote…
This girl has every reason to be hateful, resentful and hostile. Instead she simply asks for the stability of an education. An opportunity to contribute to the best of our society.
Friends, we CAN have a secure nation-state without compromising our higher allegiance to a Kingdom (of God) that mandates we care for the “stranger in our midst.” To do that, we must address our proximity problem that has put miles (whether geographical or idealogical) between “us” and “them.” We have to be willing to sit at the table to hear the stories, be generous in our assumptions and build a future marked by invitation rather than isolation.
May we follow this brave girl’s lead and lend platform to her voice as we follow an others-oriented God who calls us to do the same.
I used a bunch of sources (I know, this may lead to a fight about #alternativefacts…ugh), but here are a couple: