Thursday, November 14, 2013

Immigration Reform Can't Get Lost in the Shuffle

It looks like Immigration reform has gotten lost in the shuffle. How do you lose 11 million residents of our country?  I guess you can ignore this number of people when you realize that 49.9 million—yes, million—do not have health insurance in this country. (That figure is up from 2009’s number, which was a mere 49 million.)

We’ve spent all our energy lately talking about the glitches in the Affordable Health Care law—and we ought to say: GLITCHES—because we have done a poor, poor job of getting this program off the ground. And so most of the opponents of that program are wringing their hands and saying: “How terrible—all these people that call or check on the web site and can’t get in.” They do have a good point. And hopefully we will finally iron out this mess.

But—back to the eleven million people that are wondering what place they have in our country. Most churches don’t put down “I was a strange and they took me in.” beside the immigration issue. Well, most faith groups do not put down: “I was sick and you visited me” as it applies to over 49 million uninsured people either.

We‘ve got to tackle this health care dilemma in a way that will deal with our 49 million problem. But—we still have to struggle with positive ways to help these people already in our country. Story after story tells of the sadness of our foot-dragging.

The Sojourner’s blog—God’s Politics--which always keeps our foot to the fire—has a splendid article called: “What Immigration Reform Looks Like.” Ivone Guillen tells of this problem in human terms. She also provides a video of an undocumented Minister and his family. The article and video are worth looking at.

Why do I keep talking about this issue? Because this country is in the people business whether it’s health care or immigration. But more than that—because the church of Jesus Christ is supposed to be on the forefront wherever people hurt and need.

(Want to read another story that puts a human face on 11 million immigrants--read Karla Guillen's story about her parents being deported.)

   --Roger Lovette /

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