When did we see you a stranger and welcome you?
Immigration reform has become a matter of faith for many of us in churches around the country. In Matthew 25, Jesus clearly instructs his followers to “welcome the stranger.” He goes further to say, “as you have done to the least of these, you have done to me.” We have seen how that biblical text and clear gospel instruction has literally converted millions of Christians to support immigration reform.
It is because of our faith that Christians of every tribe and tongue around the country have urged our leaders to put people before politics. The president’s action does exactly this, allowing millions of God’s children to be removed from the danger and uncertainty that is currently their daily reality.
For us, the 1,000+ deportations per day means the breakup of families we have come to know and love in our own congregations and communities. Their families are now our families; their kids are our kids. For us, this is an issue for the body of Christ, a question of our obedience to Jesus Christ. It is about things that are so much more important than politics.
Those that have eyes to see, let them see. Those that have ears to hear , let them hear.
If you did not watch President Obama’s TV address on immigration, read it or access it on your computer. Read and listen to the response of Congressional leaders. Examine your own prejudices if you have any. Consider your own family history. Reflect on what we proclaim about ourselves as a nation and our national history. Ask yourself the familiar question; ”What would Jesus do?”
Come, you who are blessed by my Father.
Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
For I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
a stranger and you welcomed me,
naked and you clothed me,
ill and you cared for me,
in prison and you visited me.’
Then the righteous will answer him and say,
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you,
or thirsty and give you drink?
When did we see you a stranger and welcome you,
or naked and clothe you?
When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’
And the king will say to them in reply,
“Amen, I say to you, whatever you did
for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me.”
The Church is at your side as you seek a more dignified life for yourselves and your families.
Immigration policy that allows people to live here and contribute to society for years but refuses to offer them the opportunity to achieve legal status does not serve the common good. The presence of millions of people living without easy access to basic human rights and necessities is a great injustice.
USCCB, Welcoming the Stranger Among Us: Unity in Diversity
We commit ourselves to the cut-across issue of immigration. We are aware of attitudes and policies concerning immigration that harm the communities in which we live and minister. We believe that we have spheres of influence that can transform this reality so we welcome the stranger and work toward systemic change.
Sisters of St. Joseph, Chapter 2011 Direction Statement
Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Everywhere immigrants have enriched and strengthened the fabric of American life.
John F. Kennedy
The land flourished because it was fed from so many sources–because it was nourished by so many cultures and traditions and peoples.
Lyndon B. Johnson
We must honor the great American tradition of the melting pot, which has made us one nation out of many peoples. The success of our country depends upon helping newcomers assimilate into our society, and embrace our common identity as Americans.
George W. Bush
We are and always will be a nation of immigrants. We were strangers once, too. And whether our forebears were strangers who crossed the Atlantic, or the Pacific, or the Rio Grande, we are here only because this country welcomed them in.
I take issue with many people’s description of people being “Illegal” Immigrants. There aren’t any illegal Human Beings as far as I’m concerned.
The U.S. immigration laws are bad – really, really bad. I’d say treatment of immigrants is one of the greatest injustices done in our government’s name.
We are a nation of immigrants. We are the children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the ones who wanted a better life, the driven ones, the ones who woke up at night hearing that voice telling them that life in that place called America could be better.
America was born as a nation of immigrants who have always contributed to its greatness.
Charles B. Rangel
For making a morally responsible choice — using his discretionary legal authority to focus enforcement resources and prioritize deportations in ways that keep families together and our nation safe — President Obama has been labeled an “emperor” and a “dictator” by the Republicans who now promise to obstruct his executive actions, sue the White House, block his administration’s executive and judicial appointments, threaten another shutdown of the government, or even attempt to impeach him.
A story said to originate in a Russian Orthodox monastery has an older monk telling a younger one: “I have finally learned to accept people as they are. Whatever they are in the world, a prostitute, a prime minister, it is all the same to me. But sometimes I see a stranger coming up the road, and I say, ‘Oh, Jesus Christ, is it you again?'”
Kathleen Norris, Dakota