Sunday, May 16, 2010

Migrants as God's ambassadors

I count myself fortunate to know Father Dean Brackley,S.J. who teaches at the University of Central America. I commend to readers of this blog Father Brackley's article written in the National Catholic Reporter titled Migrants: illegals or God's ambassadors?. His article provides an important contribution to the discussion of immigration reform by bringing together the perspective of Christian compassion and a viewpoint influenced by the experiences of many of those living and struggling south of the US border.

9 comments:

Don Plummer said...

Excellent comments, Tim. Thanks for sharing this.

Lotus Reads said...

Just wanted to say a HUGE thank you to you for making your blog accessible to all of us. I discovered your blog a few days ago while searching for something on the documentary "La Vida Loca" and have been hooked ever since. Would love to vacation in the country some day.

Tim said...

Thanks to both of you for your nice feeeback.

ArloRAy said...

A society must have laws. Government laws. Not that I'm a fan of Big Government. I have read these kinds of words recently. 'illegal' refers to 'in violation of law'. Than you neatly connect it to the word 'God'. Migrant and illegal migrant are two different things. You will bring chaos. But maybe your Churches will be empty by then as they are in England. But hey, why not say anything while the money flows? There is a legal process for immigration. If you don't like it why don't you protest that instead of using your 'works' to promote chaos and economic collapse.

Dave Palmer said...

I wonder if Arlo Ray has much experience with the legal immigration system. If he did, he might understand better why so many people risk their lives to come here illegally. Entering the United States by land is not an easy task; in fact, unless you are a combat veteran, it is most likely more difficult than anything you have ever faced in your life. I don't condone it, but I know people who have done it, and I understand their reasons and what they went through. And until the U.S. changes its immigration policies, as well as its trade policies and foreign policies, people will keep doing it. But Father Dean already explained this better than I can.

ArloRAy said...

I wonder if Dave Palmer understands how it benefits the politicians and their corporate kick backs to leave the united states an open dangling carrot that entices a migrant to make such a risky endeavor in the first place instead of staying home and use such heroic energy to bear against their own opressors. Yes, this will continue due to short sighted thinking and sympathy on behalf of good hearted people in bed with unscrupulas greed. Politics makes strange bed fellows. However, I do have one angle that will eventually solve both illegal immagration and the dangling carrot. And that will be to let your mindset on this issue and Obama's policies proceed to its proven end as history has shown. Their will be no place for an immagrant to seek a better standard of living. You won't even have to worry about legal applications. I have a vision. And that is that one day a Guatemalen will spit at the idea of going to america.

Dave Palmer said...

Arlo: absolutely, the corporations which help keep El Salvador and other Central American countries poor are the same corporations which benefit from the cheap labor of Salvadorans living illegally in the U.S. (and the downward pressure this puts on everyone else's wages). Kimberly-Clark is one of these companies, which explains why Jim Sensenbrenner (congressman and heir to the Kimberly-Clark family fortune) is such a fan of border walls and an opponent of immigration reform -- why would he want to mess with a system that's working just fine for him? Keeping everything the same is a recipe for, well, more of the same -- and if you don't like the way things are, why on earth are you on the same side as him? The greed of politicians like Sensenbrenner and companies like Kimberly-Clark are exactly why we need immigration reform -- and why it needs to go hand in hand with a repeal of trade agreements like NAFTA and CAFTA. The Graham-Schumer proposal, by the way, is a corporate-friendly sham which doesn't deserve the name "reform;" it's not even a starting point.

ArloRAy said...

I am a fan of 'borders, language, and culture.' If you don't have a controled border you will always have the exploiter and the exploited. You may think that having a solid border wall with controlled check points and a legal process for travelling papers (which every other country in the world does) as being opressive or racist but in the long run it's the only way you will bring the exploiter and exploited to a minamum. Jim Sensenbrenner may say he is for a secure border but he is a carreer politician knowing full well that that border fence of Bush's wasn't ever going to be done correctly or even finnished. Everybody is sick of these old politicians whether democrat or republican.

Anyway, your thoughts are of a good angle but I choose to think of solutions or opinions that would or atleast show potential.

You won't save all these people in latin america by bringing them to the u.s. It may feel good in thought but in reality you will destroy the country. And that may be coming, as it is, anyway. So buckle up! :)

Dave Palmer said...

Arlo, I don't think that Tim, Father Dean, or anyone here wants to bring all of the people in Latin America to the U.S. (I would like for my wife to be in the U.S., and hopefully that will happen soon -- we have been waiting nearly a year). What Father Dean is arguing for is that those who are in the U.S. should be treated fairly, which, as he points out, is what the Bible demands of us. As you correctly point out, when immigrants in the U.S. are exploited by employers, it brings down the living standard for everyone else here as well. Anti-immigrant policies only make the exploitation worse. What more could an abusive employer want than to be able to pick up a phone and have an employee who steps out of line deported or sent to a detention facility? As far as the employer is concerned, the more obstacles the employee has to go though to get here, the better -- it just means that the employee is going to be even more terrified of being deported, and even less willing to stand up for himself once he's here. This is why Sensenbrenner and politicians like him support border walls. Treating people like human beings is not only the right thing to do, it also safeguards our own standard of living.