Posts Tagged ‘inter-faith’

New York Times Editorial and the No Border Wall Walk

March 4, 2008

At last Friday’s March 4 March 4, a German journalist covering this demonstration against the border wall said to me, “We Germans have always thought of the United States as a progressive country, with forward-thinking laws. But, Germany just got rid of the last of its last borders, and the United States is thinking of putting up walls? There are no more border patrols on our borders, and the U.S. is trying to put up a physical wall?” What could I say?

An editorial in today’s New York Times states that an “iron curtain” is descending across the United States, and that “This country once was a confident global magnet for an invigorating flow of immigrant workers and citizens-to-be. Now it is just hunkering.” One of the most important points raised by this contributor is that building walls does not address either national security or immigration legislation, and in fact makes illegal immigration worse. The 700-mile will leave gaps through the most dangerous border-crossing sections, funneling would-be illegal immigrants through the harshest terrain and most assuredly driving up the death toll each year. Additionally, the roads and infrastructure which will need to be built in some regions will actually make the job of coyotes and other smugglers that much easier.

The editorialist concludes that we need smart borders and real immigration reforms. The author writes,

But that worthy goal founders when the overall strategy boils down to simplistic components — bits of fencing and technological cure-alls — rather than a comprehensive solution that also attacks the reasons people cross illegally. Despite what critics of “amnesty” say, immigration reform has never been a choice between legalization and enforcement, because legalization is enforcement. Only by bringing people onto the books and being realistic about the supply of visas, letting people in through ports of entry, instead of chasing them across the desert, will the country restore sanity and order to this broken system. (New York Times “Border Insecurity”)

Until we cure the root problem, border walls are only a multi-billion-dollar Band-Aid which will not deter either terrorism or immigration. And the root problem is not that people are inherently bad, as some critics seem to infer. No, the cause for illegal immigration in the United States is caused both by the failure of sending countries to adequately provide for citizens AND by the United States unresponsive legislation, nativistic quota systems, and hopeless situations for working people trying to become legal.

    To this end, the Border Ambassadors are partnering with churches, teachers, activists, professionals, humanitarian organizations, government officials, high-school students, college students, and concerned citizens across the nation and imaginary borders will be walking 120 miles from Roma to Brownsville, Texas. This interfaith, nonviolent demonstration’s aim is to protest the border wall in an internationally viable way while also showing support for immigrants throughout the country and encouraging border communities. Pragmatically, we will be sharing free legal aid information with border landowners so that they can legally oppose the government surveyors. Policy-wise, this No Border Wall Walk is requesting a moratorium on the border wall and a re-opening of the issue of immigration reform. Please support us with your presence, your words, your donations, and your prayers.

 

People of Faith United For Immigrants- The Unitarian Universalist Church

February 13, 2008

Through our scientific and technological genius, we have made of this world a neighborhood and yet we have not had the ethical commitment to make of it a brotherhood. But somehow, and in some way, we have got to do this. We must all learn to live together as brothers or we will all perish together as fools. We are tied together in the single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality. And whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. For some strange reason I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. And you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the way God’s universe is made; this is the way it is structured.

John Donne caught it years ago and placed it in graphic terms: “No man is an island entire of itself. Every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.” And he goes on toward the end to say, “Any man’s death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind; therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” We must see this, believe this, and live by it if we are to remain awake through a great revolution. (Martin Luther King, Jr. Remaining Awake Through A Great Revolution)

And there is no doubt that a great revolution is going on. The world is globalizing, and part of that is a movement of workers. It is counterintuitive to think that goods and technology can cross borders much easier than people endowed with souls, but it is true. We do have a neighborhood – the Net – but we must still strive for brotherhood, for the Beloved Community which Dr. King envisioned.

Because of the “inescapable network of mutuality,” we must be who we ought to be and support the human rights of extralegal residents within our borders and campaign for immigration reform which will allow more qualified people and family members to enter through a less dehumanizing method than the lottery. The Unitarian Universalist is just one of the many faith denominations which is actively working for the continental immigrant as well as the off-shore would-be citizen. Their ecumenical philosophy has linked them with many other denominations in interfaith statements for immigrants and against border wall legislation. A 2006 web publication entitled the “Unitarian Universalist Association Supports Immigrant Rights,” states that,

the Unitarian Universalist Association has issued a statement in support of immigrant rights. The UUA’s statement, made by the Rev. William G. Sinkford, President, is grounded in the Association’s commitment to immigrant rights and justice and equality for all persons and is directly tied to four of the Association’s seven principles:

  • The inherent worth and dignity of every person;

  • Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;

  • The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;

  • Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

(http://www.uua.org/news/newssubmissions/13954.shtml)

Recognizing that spark of human soul is key in any civil rights movement. The United States must stop seeking diversionary measures and instead confront the idea of comprehensive, compassionate immigration reform. Let’s pray that the Unitarian Universalist Church, as well as all the other faith groups who seek to protect the dignity of the immigrant, is successful in its call for social justice. The Beloved Community begins when all people within a country have the same, inalienable human rights – especially illegal “aliens.”