THIS IS MY 3-MINUTE INTRODUCTION DURING THE TWO SERVICES THAT MORNING TO INVITE PARISHONERS/COMMUNITY MEMBERS TO THE “IMMIGRATION DIALOGUE DAY.” The church is at: Culver-Palms UMC, 4464 Sepulveda Blvd., Culver City, CA 90230. Tel: 310-390-7717. A speaker from CHIRLA will be joining us as well!
To me, immigration is about the opportunity, family & hope of the individual who sits across from me in my office and has come to me for help.
For others immigration is about national sovereignty, national security, and consumption of scarce resources by millions of mostly non-english speaking foreigners.
What makes immigration such an emotional and difficult is is that both views have some validity to them.
This second perspective, which could be termed an anti-immigration perspective, looks at immigration from a macro point of view – meaning, they look at the collective impacts of having millions of immigrants in our country and they believe the impact is a negative one.
Many disagree with this anti-immigration analysis – including me – and instead, we claim that immigration helps our economy and society and is such an important part of our country’s history that we should improve it, not demonize it.
Today, at 12:30 pm, I will be discussing immigration with church members in a forum that the Pastor and that this church’s Social Justice group convened.
But I will not be discussing it from the macro level.
Instead, I will be discussing immigration from the level of the individual who sits across from me in my office.
That same person, by the way, may be the teacher at your child’s school, he or she may be the janitor of this church, or the gardener at your house, or the dentist you rely on.
If we lived in a different era, that immigrant we might be discussing would be a young Jesus Christ. God made his only son Jesus and his parents Mary & Joseph immigrants in Egypt for 3-4 years. The description in the bible of them fleeing from Herod’s “massacre of the innocents” strongly suggests that they did not request permission from the Ptolemaic government of Egypt to live there but instead were… “illegal immigrants.”
What I mean to say is that we all have immigrants in our lives, but how many of us understand what it means to be an immigrant in America today? What are their lives like?
Did you know that the nurse who takes care of your elderly parent is here illegally? Do you care?
Did you know that your grandchild’s best friend in kindergarten just lost her parents because they were both deported? Did you know that your nanny is married but hasn’t seen her husband for 10 years because he has an 18 year wait to get his green card and move here legally?
That is part of what we will be discussing today. We will also discuss a group of immigrants called the dreamers - these are mostly college students who were brought here when they were babies but now are unable to work or earn money in their chosen professions. They are called “illegal immigrants.”
But how ever you feel about immigration- I would imagine that no one here believes innocent children should be punished for the deeds of their parents.
Finally, if you join us today, I will teach you a little about the U visa, which is a great crime fighting tool for the police and something that every American should know about if they want a safer community.
We are all busy, but you have chosen to spend your morning with a community of your fellow parishioners. I hope you can join us as we discuss today that other community that surrounds us here in los angeles– the community of immigrants. Come and see this country from their perspective with me.
The event starts today at 12 noon with a catered lunch.