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I compose and post these articles with only one desire in my heart: to praise God and to offer modest help on your spiritual journey.

Friday, November 21, 2014

THE BIG PICTURE

I suspect the average American believes our immigration problems are a
result of the poor and underprivileged wanting to cross our borders to
grab the riches and freedom Americans enjoy. Waiting in line or
applying for legal immigration is simply ignored by the hordes of
illegals. I also suspect most Americans have little to no
understanding of immigration laws or procedures one must adhere to in
applying for legal immigration. Nor is there widespread understanding
of the monetary costs or the years it takes for legal status to be
granted. These issues are detailed not to justify illegal entry into
our country but to point out immigration laws are in dire need of
being fixed. In order to develop a reasonable and effective method of
allowing immigrants to enrich our society we must understand the issue
of immigration and those wishing to come to America.

Beyond the issues of partisanship one should understand the big
picture. When we speak of immigration it is a much smaller reality
than migration. The migration of peoples has been occurring since the
dawn of Homo erectus. What is simply amazing are those creatures,
those humans who dare to venture beyond their comfort and seek new
territory. It is instinctual from the animal kingdom to our own human
nature to define and defend territory. Crossing into another's
territory be it an animal or a neighbor can cause tension, fear,
violence or it can lead to friendship and wider and broader
understanding of diversity and gifts of other peoples.

The story of migration both by the animal kingdom and by humans is the
story of populating the continents and development of human culture
and society. Migration has been occurring for some two million years
of our human history. It is global, it is natural, it is constant, it
is happening now, and will continue.

Religion has played a significant role in this story of migration.
Religion, faith, purportedly rises above instincts and even tames
these instincts leading them to act on a higher plane. Except for
those who would use religion to hide hate and violence, every religion
of any significance calls for welcoming the stranger and caring for
the poor and needy.

Each of us have a personal territory that when entered causes
discomfort, suspicion, and defensiveness. Same is true at every level
of community and identity and which extends to national identity.
Immigrants are looking for a better life willing to overcome their own
fear of the future and strangeness of a new land. While the
"established" citizens of any country are concerned for their
language, their customs and even their safety. We must rise above the
fear and distrust that often leads to hostility.

It should be no surprise then, that the majority of religious leaders
in the United States across all Christian denominations and other
religious identities support immigration reform. They are on the
forefront of calling for justice and mercy.

Deep divisions certainly exist in proposing solutions, but dominating
them all is the principle of welcoming, the honorable treatment of the
stranger, and mercy for the poor.

Globally, the issue of migration is made more pressing by war, famine
and natural disasters. Where the issue of immigration in the United
States is more an issue of documentation, in such countries as Jordan
or some African nations the issue is refugees in such numbers that
documentation would seem impossible.

As always, faith is the opposite of fear. Thus faith is opposite our
instincts. So let faith guide our response to make sensible and just
proposals to an issue as old as humans walking the earth.

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