Ten Thoughts on Immigration and Freedom

I am not an expert on immigration. But, my friendships with immigrants are important to me. I think most folks in our country want the USA to be a friend to immigrants. I think many people in the Judeo-Christian faith tradition (which I am a part of) want our congregations to be friends to immigrants. If that is our goal, it seems that the usual debates in the mainstream media are not helping us. I suggest we need to start from different perspectives. What if we started with:

1- For Christians: Matthew 25:31-46.  Jesus identifies himself with the most vulnerable. If we love and serve Jesus we must focus on loving and serving vulnerable people. 

2- Immigration is not usually anyone's first choice. People normally prefer to stay in their homelands.The most effective way to reduce immigration is to work to improve conditions in all countries. If conditions are OK at home, most people will not leave.

 

3- The most effective way to reduce illegal immigration, is to make legal immigration easier. 

 

4- People have innate rights, not countries or borders. Countries have no innate right to keep out non-violent workers, children, or refugees. Non-violently crossing a border is not immoral.

 

5- Countries have the responsibility to protect their people from hostile military forces, and criminals, border security is one tool to accomplish this. Protection from hostile military forces and criminals should be the primary and limited purpose of border security.

 

6- Militarization of borders is dangerous for everyone. Border militarization is often a characteristic of violent, oppressive states such as North Korea.

 

7- Militarized borders benefit criminals by creating a new product for smugglers. As Al Capone gained power from the prohibition of alcohol, so do cross border smugglers gain power from the prohibition of non-violent immigrant workers, children, and refugees.

 

8- If capital and corporations move across borders, workers will move across borders as well.

 

9- Our country, our planet, and our universe are filled with an abundance of good things. There is more than enough for everyone. If this doesn't seem to be the case, it is an illusion created by injustice or poor distribution of resources.

 

10- Countries have the responsibility to remediate harm which their policies or economies have caused.

 

Does any of that seem helpful? Sometimes, when I have strong feelings about an issue, I make a song about it. But, right now I am trying to focus on releasing an album. So I thought I'd try  typing out some thoughts using sentences instead. I hope that the audience that is coming together around this Guagua project, is a community of folks that welcome thoughtful and loving discussion. Pues, avisame que piensan ustedes.

 

Peace, Blessings, and Thanks for Listening,

 

Marcos

3 comments

  • Luis Saavedra

    Luis Saavedra Milwaukee, east side

    Gracias. Thank you.

    Gracias. Thank you.

  • Julie Carr

    Julie Carr Milwaukee

    You have many good points listed above. I don't want to send them back to the cut-throat thugs who now run amok in Mexico and Central America. Two of the problems to be solved are: How to pay for these poor people when we don't seem to have enough for our own poor, who need better schools, job training and social services as well? A private system where churches and organizations sponsor immigrants is needed, or perhaps bill the governments who have sent them for part of their care. This would take a lot of resentment from Americans who already feel overburdened with social responsibility taxes, plus are struggling as well to keep head above water. America is great because as a country we accepted people that other countries willingly threw away, but it has to have some order and respect for law. The other problem with mass migration is that the bad folks come in right alongside the innocent. This has been the case in our history. The Irish, the Italians, Russians and other nationalities all had this situation - The Mobs of gangsters that got a foot-hold here came too. California has had a great problem with Mexican and Russian gangs in Los Angeles . Terrorists also have tried to enter through Mexico, which is why I think we need some protection on the boarder. We have to have some control as to who comes over the boarder.

    You have many good points listed above. I don't want to send them back to the cut-throat thugs who now run amok in Mexico and Central America. Two of the problems to be solved are: How to pay for these poor people when we don't seem to have enough for our own poor, who need better schools, job training and social services as well? A private system where churches and organizations sponsor immigrants is needed, or perhaps bill the governments who have sent them for part of their care. This would take a lot of resentment from Americans who already feel overburdened with social responsibility taxes, plus are struggling as well to keep head above water.
    America is great because as a country we accepted people that other countries willingly threw away, but it has to have some order and respect for law.

    The other problem with mass migration is that the bad folks come in right alongside the innocent. This has been the case in our history. The Irish, the Italians, Russians and other nationalities all had this situation - The Mobs of gangsters that got a foot-hold here came too. California has had a great problem with Mexican and Russian gangs in Los Angeles . Terrorists also have tried to enter through Mexico, which is why I think we need some protection on the boarder. We have to have some control as to who comes over the boarder.

  • Marcos & la Guagua

    Marcos & la Guagua

    Thanks to Antwain, Luis, Julie, Miguel and everyone who has contributed to the dialogue. It seems like one of the big questions is #9, whether we feel that there really is enough in our world for everyone to have "abundant life". For me it is a faith commitment, that I see a lot of evidence to support, given how much beauty, creativity, and wealth there is in this world. But, when we are feeling pressed down ourselves, I agree, it can be hard to believe that there is enough for all. On Thought #3- Making legal immigration easier would not have to mean that immigration would be unregulated. Border security could still seek to protect us from criminals. For example Ellis Island was a highly regimented gateway to the USA. Where immigrants were subject to tests of their potential to earn income, family relations in the USA, personal health, etc. But in fact only two percent of potential immigrants who arrived to Ellis were turned away. The door to immigration was wide open then, and in fact before Ellis it was usually even easier to enter this country. I am someone whose ancestors benefited from the doors to immigration or migration to the USA being open. I feel called to "pay it forward".

    Thanks to Antwain, Luis, Julie, Miguel and everyone who has contributed to the dialogue.

    It seems like one of the big questions is #9, whether we feel that there really is enough in our world for everyone to have "abundant life". For me it is a faith commitment, that I see a lot of evidence to support, given how much beauty, creativity, and wealth there is in this world. But, when we are feeling pressed down ourselves, I agree, it can be hard to believe that there is enough for all.

    On Thought #3- Making legal immigration easier would not have to mean that immigration would be unregulated. Border security could still seek to protect us from criminals. For example Ellis Island was a highly regimented gateway to the USA. Where immigrants were subject to tests of their potential to earn income, family relations in the USA, personal health, etc. But in fact only two percent of potential immigrants who arrived to Ellis were turned away. The door to immigration was wide open then, and in fact before Ellis it was usually even easier to enter this country. I am someone whose ancestors benefited from the doors to immigration or migration to the USA being open. I feel called to "pay it forward".

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