In 1994, things began to look up for Milan, Missouri, a remote, rural community of 2,000 that had been struggling for years with a declining farm economy and weak job market. Premium Standard Farms (PSF), the second-largest pork production company in the U.S., opened a state-of-the-art packing plant in Milan’s rural enterprise zone.
Breaking rank with leading evangelical groups that have chosen to stay out of current immigration debates, a new coalition has formed to represent more than 20 million Hispanic evangelicals and to denounce Congress’s handling of immigration issues.
By 2050 Latinos and Latinas will constitute at least one fourth of the U.S. population. They are increasingly part of Protestant as well as Roman Catholic churches, though they often live in this country without legal status.
A funny thing happened to a pastor friend of mine. His congregation was baptizing a family in a river that ran not far from the Hispanic church that he served. As the newly baptized members came out of the water he handed them their baptismal certificates. Afterward, in true Latino fashion, they celebrated a fiesta.
An economic migrant—a desert nomad—leads his family toward a land of promise, believing he is following the will of his Creator. And so begins the great trek for new life, survival, redemption. He will find danger, so much danger that he plans to pass his wife off as his sister. It is a trek repeated today in the heat of the Sonoran desert, in boats from Africa running ashore in southern Europe, in the hulls of boats from Fujian province to the shores of Long Island.
A Finnish theologian, forced by U.S. immigration officials to leave the country despite holding a tenured professorship at Fuller Theological Seminary, is back at the California campus after only six weeks’ absence. Whether the scholar can become a permanent resident, however, is uncertain, said a lawyer who called the dispute with government officials “a sad political fight.”
Canadian church leaders have condemned remarks of federal immigration and citizenship minister Judy Sgro, who earlier this summer called on churches to abandon the time-honored practice of providing sanctuary to people under the threat of deportation.
In January 2004 George Bush outlined a new approach to immigration. He would grant special visas to foreign workers which would be valid for three years and renewable. Undocumented immigrants now employed in the U.S. would be included in the program.Workers would be allowed to travel freely between the U.S. and their own countries.