The United States is keeping two young members of my congregation from living in their home and being with their friends in worship. You see, one happened to be born in Italy, so when her visa ran out, she was forced to return and seek a new visa. Exile to a foreign land is costing this couple many thousands of dollars, months of separation from jobs and loved ones, and untold anxiety. And, in the end, their fate remains up in the air.
America has an immigration problem. The good news is that so many people willing to work and especially perform some of the toughest, menial tasks gladly sacrifice everything to come here. They face a frightening unknown, often toil under intolerable conditions, and suffer great deprivation. The bad news is that the terrible state of our administration of immigration leaves states like Arizona little choice but to pass absurd and unconstitutional laws in a misguided attempt to solve their own local problems.
Ancestors of every citizen of this nation were at one time immigrants. Whether your people migrated across the Bering Strait thousands of years ago, sailed across the Atlantic on the Mayflower, a slave ship, or a crowded passenger liner, every American has roots from other lands. They came here for the same reason people cross our borders today – for opportunities, for a chance to better themselves, for the hope that this country stands for.
I am no immigration attorney. But, a better way must exist to extend a welcoming hand to those willing to become contributing citizens and to expanding the legacy of the fantastic ethnic and cultural diversity of this land. And, there certainly must be a way to prevent the breaking up of families over bureaucratic details.
By the way, one more detail about this couple. They are both women. Although married (in Canada), our federal government refuses to grant the rights to same-sex married couples given to heterosexual couples. There is a word for this. Discrimination.
And there is another word for this. Wrong.