Last week I was in Washington DC where Jenny Yang provided a presentation on the present immigration challenges facing our nation, including the connection between immigration and trafficking. Jenny is co-author of the book Welcoming the Stranger. She is one of the leaders of the Evangelical Immigration Table that recently released a highly acclaimed documentary – The Stranger. Jenny is pictured in the middle between Noel Castellanos, CEO of Christian Community Development Association and Gaby Pacheco with the Bridge Project.
The panel recognized the complexities of the immigration issue. However, as they emphasized, what is not complex is that all people are created in the image of God and have value. By not addressing the complexities of our broken system we undermine family values. More than 2,000 people are deported daily breaking up families and orphaning children who now must be raised by taxpayers. We spend more money on immigration enforcement than on all the other criminal agencies in government combined. We simply cannot afford to continue to turn a blind eye toward the immigration problem.
The more we delay action, the more exploitation, abuse and trafficking that takes place. While we all agree on the evils of human trafficking, by refusing to address our broken immigration system we support trafficking. There is much we can do to serve individual victims of trafficking, exploitation and violence but comprehensive immigration reform will do significantly more. Now is the time to encourage members of Congress to act before the summer recess. We all know that after the recess the business of Washington will stall while Democrats and Republicans both spend billions of dollars and hundreds of hours campaigning. We’ve created a machine in DC which too often fails to seek common sense solutions to real world problems. It’s time we reminded our representatives who they represent and ask them to put aside partisanship, roll up their sleeves, and get something done – starting with our economy which needs an immigrant work force not hiding or being exploited in the shadows. Pray for reform and contact your legislator.
Share the stories of neighbors you know who work hard, love America, and want to contribute to a nation dedicated to liberty and justice for all. Watch the movie and share your stories with others. Let’s welcome the stranger. Let’s fix our system. Let’s love our neighbor as we get involved and go and do likewise.