The first time I posted on the issue of Alabama's harsh immigration law (back in June, 2011) I stated:
… if it did not benefit our society to have undocumented immigrants working here, they would not be here. Increasingly over the past 2 or 3 decades, we have willingly paid these immigrant people to mow our lawns, do our housework, clean our hotels, dig our ditches, work on our construction crews, and do any number of dangerous jobs in the meat-packing industry and other types of unskilled labor. We have used them for our advantage (or I should say, our society has). Now we are getting a little uneasy and anxious, so we are using drastic legal tactics. It is as though we are shocked and outraged that all of these aliens whom we have employed at low wages (and without reporting said payments) are somehow in our midst.
There are scriptures that advocate that we respect the alien in our midst; that we not mistreat or take advantage of them. Instead, we first took advantage of them, and now we aim to mistreat them, and our governor who likes to make a big deal about his faith just smiles and signs the bill. Leviticus admonished the Hebrew people to “remember that you were once aliens.” All of us white Americans in the U.S. should likewise remember that we were once immigrants.
Last week I posted an account of actions by an Episcopal congregation to advocate for the immigrants in our midst. For a view from the Catholic community, please read the article on Commonweal Magazine’s web page, “Easy Targets: the Plight of Immigrant Women,” by Kristin Heyer:
Roughly 4.5 million American children have at least one undocumented parent residing in the United States, and in the first six months of 2011, 46,000 parents of these kids were deported. Many immigrant families are like Lupe’s: some members are documented, some not; they are firmly embedded in communities; they contribute to American culture, including paying taxes. For many, crossing the border to seek a living wage, and living with the threat of deportation once here, means prolonged separation from their families. Yet that kind of immigrant experience fails to register at presidential debates.
You can read the entire article here.