Wednesday, March 26, 2008

15 miles continued

I don't think I did very well with the post below, but I'm tired and this whole "getting up for my life" thing is really taking it out of me.

My original thought with the 15 miles thing came not while I was in Mexico, but when I was in a movie theater on Monday. I grew up in Kansas. We don't really have border issues or lots of really strong thoughts or experiences with immigration. Enter TFA and Houston and I'm thrown right in the mix of it. My students are basically all hispanic. Some are legal, some are not. Most were not born here.

I don't need to get into an endless debate about immigration. I know we can't allow everyone and their brother to come and stay in the US and strain the social services we have available. I also know that I look into the faces of the children I know are not legal. Children who didn't choose to come here, but are no less "American" than I am. I know I would not send them packing. I would find it unconscionable.

The movie I saw on Monday was called La Misma Luna/ Under the Same Moon. It was about a mother who had left her son and crossed illegally to find work. Her son eventually follows at the ripe old age of 9. I watched it with a lump in my throat. I saw the lives people lead in Juarez and I could see why they would do anything to have something different. To have just the chance at more. I am not a mother, but I know I will be and I can only image the lengths to which I would go to make the world a better place for my child. Like the mother in the movie, there is no border, no heartbreak, no pain I would not bare for a better place for my child to call home. Imagine what you would suffer through or sacrifice if it was your brother, sister, best friend whose very future was on the line.

I read a study recently that said the influx on the Mexican/American border had not significantly changed in over 30 years. It was pointing out that with the ebb and flow of immigration policy the amount of people coming and going had not been significantly impacted. What had changed was the amount of people who died each year trying to cross the border. And the story goes, as border restrictions are tightened, deaths increase. As they loosen, deaths decrease. Crossing doesn't really change. So feasibly, if we did not tighten our borders endlessly, the same amount of people would come, but they would do so legally. Meaning, among other things, they are not dying in the desert and they are not working illegally, not paying taxes and at times ending up desperate and without access to programs.

Hmm... I'm reading this book called Jesus For President and he talks about God's people being outside the Empire, being set apart. He points out that Jesus did not preach in the cities, but out in the nothingness, not clothed in gold like a King, but in rags. He describes a Jesus who is radical because he reaches out to undesirables, to the rejected and to those in the empire (so long as they leave the empire for him). I wonder what we would look like as Christians if we set Christ's call to reach all --to help all -- above our views of "protecting the border and saving American resources"?

If we are all to be a part of God's kingdom and we all live under the same moon why does 15 miles make such a difference in our world?

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