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When my family moved to Sioux Center fifteen years ago the neighborhood was very different from how it looks today. Back then my neighbors were white, most of Dutch heritage, and, if they went to church, protestant. Today, many of my neighbors are Guatemalan, and the fastest growing church in Sioux Center is the Roman Catholic Church. Getting to know and love my neighbors led to a side gig working for immigration reform. I started with the Office of Social Justice in the CRC, which led to my work with the National Immigration Forum. My job is to talk to people in the Christian community about immigration reform. Something has to change and everyone knows it. Even the staunchest of conservatives have told me, not only is it impossible to deport millions of people, we don’t really want to. Sure, there’s still rhetoric about crime, drugs, and violence, but statistically speaking, most undocumented immigrations are hard working people looking for a better life. The primary question facing this country is how we move forward with immigration reform that will provide a path to legal status for undocumented immigrants.
President Biden has a plan, but given the make-up of the Senate, there will be no immigration reform without a bi-partisan solution. In 2008 it was predicted that by the year 2042 whites would become a majority minority in this country. A 2018 NY Times article described how this reporting made some demographers nervous, fearful that some in the white community might use this to justify violence. The events of January 6 suggest their fears were well founded. I wonder, however, if there’s another way to approach our post-January 6 world. As we move out from under Stephen Miller’s influence on US immigration policy, conservatives have the opportunity to move the Republican party in a pro-immigrant direction, harkening back to Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. Many immigrants from Latin America are socially and religiously conservative, many align themselves with important aspects of a principled, conservative, politics. Let’s face it—whichever party can figure out how to get immigration reform done will be the dominant party of this century.
The last decade has been a divisive time in American politics. Right now, there’s an opportunity for Christians on both the right and the left to unite for the sake of our immigrant brothers and sisters. Conservative Christians who care about families, faith, and life, have an opportunity to move the political discussion in the direction of immigration reform. Christians on the left have the chance to pragmatically reach across the aisle and recognize this issue isn’t a democratic or liberal issue, it’s a human issue.
Let’s work together as brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ to find a way forward for our immigrant neighbors. Contact your members of Congress and tell them we need to find a bi-partisan way forward on immigration reform.