Let me begin with a video of a "30 Days" episode on immigration. This is a series that was on a few years ago by Morgan Spurlock (The "Supersize Me" guy) where people from opposing viewpoints live together for 30 days. It is also available on Netflix. The video is just under 50 minutes but is wonderful if you got the time.
I often hear the argument that undocumented people are a drain on our economy that they are taking good American jobs and resources at a time when we are in a deep recession. So let's follow that logic through. What if we did somehow deport the millions of men, women and children that are in this country. Would the economy rebound, would tax revenue jump forward? Stephen Colbert had an actual congressional hearing about this very question not too long ago.
What is the best investment, and number one key for success? Education, right? Are you aware how difficult it is to get a post secondary degree as an undocumented person. In less than 10 states can you actually pay in state tuition at public schools. Fortunately Utah, for the time being, is one of them. In all states you cannot receive any form of federal financial aide. No grants, no loans, and often you cannot even apply for scholarships. How many of us would have gone to college if we didn't have financial help, especially if we did not have parents/family that had been able to set an example as college grads themselves? How many of us would have even graduated from High School without that hope? Yet this is exactly what so many are running into.
When for the first time non white babies outnumbered white births do we really want to perpetuate this system? What will this do for our economic future when so many do not have a place at the table of hope, education and success? Just look at these high school graduation numbers. Almost 40% of our minority students are not graduating. Is this sustainable? Is this good for anyone? Who's fault is it? How can we fix it?
Obama's statement is a step in the right direction...but we need more. We need the Dream Act, we need a path to citizenship where these human beings can gain education...actually see a point to education and fully participate in this wonderful country of America. We need them to help us solve this crisis. As countless waves of immigrants have done before they can bring their culture, their wisdom, their labor, even their tax money to help us solve the problems that we face in the US culturally and economically. But we must do it together. Si se puede.
In closing I want to turn to the Bible. The parable of the Good Samaritan is a wonderful example for us on this topic. We all know the story...the Samaritan was no friend to the Jew but in this parable Jesus shows that they we're still neighbors, children of God, brothers and sisters. We must love our neighbors as ourselves, our family, our loved ones. Would we kick our children out of the country if they broke, a rule? If our beloved partner was undocumented from Latin America would we say "love you lots but I'll see you later after you find a legal way back?" Would we say "that's too bad no college for you son, best go find a manual labor job" if there were obstacles in the way or would we fight for opportunity? I hope that we can all follow Jesus' admonition and love our neighbors as ourselves regardless of our place of birth.