In the latest issue of the Century, I profiled a family awaiting the Supreme Court’s ruling on President Obama’s expansion of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and its extension to DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents). On Thursday, the Supreme Court voted in a 4-4 tie, which means that the case reverts to the lower court ruling, against the program.
The subject of immigration engenders contentious debate, complex discussion, and conniving diatribe among Americans. Four years ago, the mother of a recently elected Republican senator implored her son to be compassionate in his legislative work on the issue. She reminded him of their own family’s journey from central Cuba to south Florida and noted that undocumented immigrants—she called them los pobrecitos, “poor things”—are human beings seeking dignity, work, and a better future just like they were. One wonders if Marco Rubio remembers his mother’s message.
On election day, the Republicans will keep the House, the Democrats may lose the Senate, and 1,000 more immigrants will be deported.
"I went to college," the man said. "I got one more year, then I go over there and start working."
Last week, evangelical congregations across America began screening a documentary called The Stranger: Immigration, Scripture and the American Dream, produced by a group called the Evangelical Immigration Table. Among EIT's advocates are a host of uncommon bedfellows: Mathew Staver of the Liberty University School of Law and Jim Wallis of Sojourners, Leith Anderson of the National Association of Evangelicals and Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, and popular pastors Max Lucado and Wilfredo de Jesús. Immigration reform has attracted such a spectrum of advocates that it shows how it is a fortuitous issue for American Protestants.
The scene at the Church of the Reformation several weeks ago—just a couple blocks from the U. S. Capitol—was a mixture of resolve and celebration, equal parts political rally and family reunion. People milled about on the front steps posing for photographs, greeting old friends and making new acquaintances.
If you happened upon the front page of the Wall Street Journal [today] you saw the headline, “Evangelicals Push Immigration Path.” It’s one of several recent articles focused on white evangelicals’ changing tune when it comes to legal paths to citizenship. Megachurch pastors are willing to lose members over the issue. The National Association of Evangelicals is organizing a campaign to educate and prod congregations to political action.
If the current bipartisan push leads to serious immigration reform, we'll all be the better for it. But what constitutes serious reform?