A profound question. “Dear God, it’s me Ruth.” She wrote. “I learned you love people like me in Sunday School. But people act like my mom and me don’t belong. Did I do something bad?”
What do you tell a Dreamer like Ruth?
What do you say to Ruth? Brought to the U.S. from Honduras when she was two, how do you help her understand the hatred for immigrants and refugees?
I would hope the first thing you would tell Ruth is that her Sunday School teacher is right. God cares a LOT about immigrants. 92 times in the Old Testament, he stands for the immigrant.
“The LORD … enacts justice for orphans and widows, and he loves immigrants, giving them food and clothing. That means you must also love immigrants because you were immigrants in Egypt” (Deuteronomy 10:17-19 CEB)
Ruth is well named after a courageous immigrant from the wrong country of Moab. Israel hated Moab. For 10 generations Moabites were to be excluded from the religious assembly. Dt. 23:3. That was the law. Following the letter of the law meant deporting Ruth. But a book of the Bible is solely committed to demonstrating God’s loving concern for the immigrant. Ruth changes her community. She is the great grandmother of David and in the line of Jesus. Following the law would have meant David could not be King, or even part of the community. God puts people first. So should we.
Immigrants and the Courts
This past week a federal appeals court in D.C. joined two other federal courts in requiring the government to continue to process Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) applications. The government was given 90 days to comply. While another temporary victory these cases will go before the United States Supreme Court. While flickers of hope in the courts, Congress continues to dampen those hopes as they fail to pass a Dream Act.
The United States Supreme Court is increasingly engaged in immigration related cases as oral arguments were presented this past week in the Refugee Travel Ban case. The court appears likely to uphold this third version of the ban.
This last week 400 immigrants seeking asylum found themselves at the U.S. border. Officials threaten immediate deportation should any try to cross the border, regardless of the validity of any asylum claims. Sadly, without representation many children are forced to absurdly represent themselves in seeking protection. Our immigration courts are broken. John Oliver recently highlighted the challenges our broken system presents. You will laugh and cry at the tragic reality.
Another problem of our immigration courts was highlighted by an investigative report released this week by the Los Angeles Times. The report highlighted nearly 1,500 U.S. Citizens falsely detained sometimes for as long as three years.
How to help Ruth
You probably have neighbors near you like Ruth. She might be in your Sunday School. How do you address the fear her mom faces? How can you better understand the complexities of the challenges? One powerful way is by attending Restore 117 on June 8-9 at Judson University in Elgin, Illinois. Meet front line attorneys serving the legal and spiritual needs of immigrants. One of our advocates is Gracie who serves in Honduras. Learn from someone on the front lines the challenges of violence, oppression and trafficking facing women and girls in Honduras. Hear from author and advocate, Michelle Warren as she encourages us to get proximate to our neighbor and then take action with them.
Let’s help Ruth
If you are an attorney you have a special license and responsibility to help vulnerable people in need. Join others at Restore 117 who have discovered the joy of service. One person you will meet is Killa Marti. She leads Clarkston Gospel Justice Center in Georgia. She and some praying friends walked around the immigration court in Atlanta praying. One notorious judge was denying every petition before him. The day following their intensive prayer walk, he was removed! Pray.
Participate as well. Download our guide on how to use your law degree for life-changing impact. Killa works full time at a high volume firm and has a young child. She felt out of her element volunteering one Saturday a month. But she discovered great joy in knowing Christ power was made perfect in her weakness. Join her and others June 8-9 at Restore 117. Get equipped to help Ruth and other vulnerable children and neighbors.