I am the child of immigrant parents. My parents taught us to work hard and treat others as we wanted to be treated.
Our neighborhood was made up of Mexicans, Italians, Polish, Croations, Serbians, Greeks, Russians. We share our favorite pastries with one another at Christmas.
All of my friends had parents who didn't speak English, you might say we were all the same kind of different.
I didn't realize at the time that my childhood neighborhood was a vision of what heaven must be like … no walls … no papers required … no separation because of color … race … religion.
I want to say how sad it made me to see and hear the “cries of the children.”
I attended the Oklahoma City demonstration on this issue and was so proud to see that not everyone there was Latino. Three of us were “retired” Methodist pastors and also Episcopalian, Baptist pastors and many other denominations.
As stated to me by one of the participants, “honey, most of us here have immigrant grandparents and some immigrant parents.”
Some claim that the immigrants are criminals and all they do is bring crime into this country. Their only crime is seeking asylum. They are not drug dealers and criminals.
We have many immigrants in this community, and I personally know they are not criminals. They attend church on a regular basis and work hard to give their families a good life. They struggle to learn English and to become legal. They try to save money to pay for their legal papers, which are very, very expensive.
We say “they take all our jobs” … most of these jobs are jobs no one wants to do. Look up, the immigrants are working on our roofs in very hot temperatures, or look down, they are digging the foundations for homes, or installing our storm shelters.
They pay Social Security and taxes knowing if they never get their papers that is money they'll never see when they're 65.
Once they are deported, I ask who gets all the Social Security dollars they have paid in, the applications of green cards and citizenship, both of which are very costly.
Now we are talking of building a wall, a wall that will cost the taxpayers more dollars then we want to think about.
Anyone whose been to Mexico knows the majority of their population is way below even our poverty level, so I ask who ends up paying for the wall?
Wouldn't the expense of a wall, of immigrants being incarcerated, of going to trial, be better spent on the education and care of our children?
Instead we have set up prisons and shelters for kids … all of this for immigrants seeking asylum to give their children a better life.
Let's stop the finger pointing. This shouldn't be a political football. It is an issue of love, compassion and mercy.
My plea to our community is that we all pray not only for the leaders of our country, but also for one another that God will grant us wisdom and love for one another during these times.