Sunday, April 09, 2006
As I drove out of downtown this morning after speaking to a center city congregation, I witnessed preparations for today's "Mega March" here in Dallas.
All across the nation, Hispanic/Latino individuals and families will be in our city streets expressing their concern and disgust at one version of immigration reform being put forward in Washington.
If immigration is "out of control," as many are saying, who is to blame?
The immigrants who make the hard journey across our southern border?
Business leaders/owners who want to take advantage of cheap labor?
Ordinary citizens who hire the immigrants to perform work they don't want to do themselves?
Immigration and Naturalization Service for backing off enforcement practices over the past several years because of the demand for cheap labor among American companies?
The Social Security Administration and the Internal Revenue Service for not enforcing immigration laws against American businesses who employ the workers who don't have legitimate Social Security documentation?
While it is true millions of immigrants have arrived in violation of immigration laws, the actions and business practices of American citizens and government make these violations almost a technicality.
The preponderance of the "blame" cannot be affixed to mothers and fathers who came to our country looking to build a better life in clear response to well-known market conditions, supported by the actions of our government and American industry.
But all of that aside, I witnessed several touching sights this morning.
Mothers and fathers, walking hand-in-hand with their children, were on their way to the Cathedral de Guadalupe where the march is set to begin at 1 p.m.
Everyone was smiling. White shirts were everywhere, as were American flags.
I saw one dad and his little boy walking toward the starting point. As I honked and waved, they waved back with wide smiles.
We must not forget the people and the families as we continue this conversation about immigration reform. No conversation can be adequate without their involvement.
We have a situation that has gone to far in one direction to think that now we can yank things back and instantly do away with 11 million people. . .
. . .people who are just like the rest of us in their hopes, joys, fears and aspirations,
. . .people who perform so much of the work of our nation,
. . .people who have earned the right to become a part of our national life.
Think what you will about immigration reform.
Have your own opinion about the marches today.
But, please don't forget the dad and his little boy that I waved to this morning.