Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor…

“That We All May Be One” is usually understood on this blog to have something to do with the unity of the Church. But, of course, it has broader implications. Not the least of which is the desire that all humankind be one — living together in some kind of peace and harmony.

How then do the draconian raids by the immigration service on defenseless undocumented workers in Iowa and California advance that end? Some 270 have now been jailed from the Iowa raid (after being retained in, of all things, a building known as “the Cattle Congress” in Waterloo, Iowa!).

These are people, of course, who were recruited to come to work (documented or undocumented) by flyers and other material sent to Guatamala, Mexico, or wherever) and who are simply doing the best they can to support their families, both here in the States and back home. Just as immigrants have done for generations in this ‘land of the free and home of the brave.’

But who’s in jail? The bosses and corporate moguls who bring these people here or the workers trying their best to make a new life? Guess.

I’m not naive. I know we have to pay attention to security at our borders. I know that unbridled “illegal” immigration must be checked. But surely there are more thoughtful and compassionate ways to address the issue than herding people into a cattle congress and jailing them with little or no due process.

The only witness to our prayer “that we all may be one” in this sad spectacle is that the churches — Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, Episcopal and others — have been united in their oppostion to these raids.

I guess that’s something.     

4 Responses to “Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor…”

  1. thomas bushnell, bsg Says:

    You say, I know that unbridled “illegal” immigration must be checked.

    Why? I’m on board with everything you say, except the allowance that anything about international borders is just in this way.

  2. rwk Says:

    NPR did a story on this. As for “who’s in jail”, that all hasn’t been decided yet so your judgment may be premature. Per the article, it is longer and more difficult to take the bosses to jail but it doesn’t mean they are not going to be prosecuted. The workers themselves are just the first to go because they are on pretty straightforward illegal ground.

    I am a Spanish-speaker with Hispanic friends and I travel extensively in Latin America so I believe I understand the situation pretty well. I am sympathetic and believe there needs to be a more open legal immigration system because workers who do come illegally are exploited by more than just their employers. But I know enough about the border to know you just can’t “open it”. There are real threats, narcotics and the violence they bring being just one. If it were an easy issue and just a simple question of “justice” it would have been solved by now.

  3. ecubishop Says:

    Hmmm. Let’s let Thomas and rwk “talk!”

  4. Linda in Iowa Says:

    I spent some time in Postville, IA (site of a recent raid) last week. The human toll of the action was staggering. And polarization of the Postville community was devastating.

    Kyrie Eleison


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