Tag Archives: USA

Immigration Reform and SB 1070

As an Arizonan I’ve been asked A LOT, recently, about my perspective on the new law (SB 1070) that will go into effect at the end of July 2010. If you haven’t read the bill, take a minute and actually READ it! It is a very loaded subject and one that merits discussion and diligent thought.

As a Christ follower, I try my best to align my political perspective with the Kingdom of God and not with political party.  Some of you will agree with me and some of you will totally disagree with me in my opinions and honestly that’s okay. Obviously, the issue is heavily loaded, but I think it’s important for us to discuss. I’m certainly not asserting to be an expert on the issue, these are just a few of my thoughts and observations that I’m, somewhat reluctantly, sharing out loud.

My first thought is that we need to use our brains and prayerfully think through what REAL and reasonable reform looks like in our country. As  we look at reform we need to remember, legal or illegal, that these immigrants are people. Whether you want them to leave today or not they are human beings with souls, dreams, desires and families. One of the hardest things for me to watch is the conversations where American citizens so quickly forget that these immigrants aren’t all criminal, tax sucking, lazy, alcoholic, drug trafficking, DUI offending, murdering, adulteress law breakers. If that’s your perspective on the issue, you clearly don’t know these people and you’ve allowed some source of media or political perspective to give you rhetoric rather than reality. I’m not saying there aren’t those people in that demographic, but it’s a far fetch to make the assumption that all of them fall in to those categories.

I recently heard the story of a Mexican woman here in the Southeast Valley. She’s the widowed mother of 5 Children who are all American citizens. She barely makes it but works odd jobs to ensure her children have their basic needs met. She’s here undocumented and doing all that she can to be here legally. The process has not been easy or reasonable to say the least and she’s been diligently trying to get legal status. She’s a hardworking woman who is trying to make a better way of life for her and her kids than the impoverished life she lived in Juarez, Mexico. She’s heavily involved in serving her community through the local church and is a huge part of a lot of people’s lives.

This woman recently came to one of her Pastors distraught over what she should do about the situation with SB 1070. She’s been in America almost 10+ years and this is where life is now. With this new law the choice is dicey. If she stays she gets to be the mom to her kids, contribute to society through her work, she can serve in her local church and keep trying to gain some long term legal status. Her end goal is to become a citizen of the USA as soon as humanly possible. The risk of her staying under SB 1070 is that it’s not just a deportation under the new law. It’s actually criminal and if she was arrested she’d most likely do some jail time to then be deported after serving her time. This then limits her chances of ever becoming a citizen or even gaining long term legal status to be here, because she would now be a criminal offender. She’s also mortified of what ‘jail’ is even like and fears for her well being in the jail system. She’s an upstanding mom trying to make a better way for her family, not a murderer.

Her choice is ‘going home’. Her Dilemma is that she’ll most likely end up leaving her 5 American children here in the States if she went back to Mexico. She would painfully choose this as she knows the life she’ll offer them in Mexico isn’t one that is in the best interest of their future. What does that mean for the kids and for society? Most likely the kids will end up in the Foster care system, will be split up and who knows the life they’ll live in light of that tough decision.

She also faces the struggle of really having little to no connection with people in the city where she’s from which is Juarez, Mexico. This is because she’s been in the States for so long now. She fears for her life because she’ll be ‘coming back’ to this city with a perception of being rich and American in a money hungry culture. Unfortunately, Juarez has one of the highest murder rates of any city in the WORLD right now and that is where she’s from in Mexico (in 2007 it had the highest murder rate in the world). She’s heard about the loss of close friends and family in her city due to ruthless bloodshed in the last few years. She’s just at her whits end trying to figure out what decision to make in light of SB 1070. Distraught, afraid and with the clock ticking her decision still weighs in the balance. Time will only tell.

What would you do if put in her situation?!

In some ways I think Gov. Brewers stealth operation to go out in the middle of nowhere to sign a bill that came out of nowhere is a wake up call to our country. I’m not sure it’s the wake up call everyone was hoping for, but, certainly, for some of you it couldn’t have been more timely. The subject of our borders and immigration needs to be addressed and needs reform.

It’s been interesting to talk to people who are being directly effected by the enforcement of this law. We’re talking about people who have been in the states undocumented for decades now. Many of these people like this woman I mentioned have children who are American citizens and have little to no connection with the place where they came from in Mexico. If you’re saying to them ‘go home’ because they’re illegal, I would contend that you’re not really thinking about what you’re saying and the ramifications of what that does to a family unit. If ‘the law’ had been consistently enforced on the Federal, State and Local level this conversation would be very different. Unfortunately, the law has not been effectively enforced in our nation for a long time and so we find ourselves with an issue that needs addressing with that understanding in mind. We have to consider these stories as we reform our process and we also have to consider the stories that aren’t as ideal as the one I told. The story of the illegal that was DUI who killed that innocent American family has to be considered too. There needs to be reasonable reform in this issue and it I believe it needs to include equitable amnesty in the reform.

There are sooo many stemming reasons that make me think SB 1070 isn’t the answer for reform. In my opinion, I believe Gov. Brewer found an amazing way to get another term as the Arizona Governor and to wake the Federal Government to a pressing issue called Immigration Reform.  What I don’t think is a good idea is a Federal lawsuit on Arizona or this bill coming into law at the end of this month. Neither are good answers to reasonable change in our great country.

I hope we can talk about reasonable Immigration Reform? My opinion is that ‘Cold Gavel-ing’ and enforcing a new law like SB 1070 at the end of the month can’t be the best answer we have when we haven’t enforced Immigration Laws or our borders properly in decades. We need to own, at all level of Government, what we haven’t done well in regards to this law. The process for people to get a work visa, obtain citizenship and to actually be here legally, while better than most countries, still needs a 21st Century face-lift. Our Federal, State and Local Governments needs to address this unreliable process and figure out a way to streamline people through the process with efficiency. For some the answer will be YES for obtaining legal status and for others, based on the criteria, the answer will be NO. There has to be lines drawn for who can and can’t be here legally, but, every person should have the right to go through that process in a timely manner with efficiency. We’ve got to lay down the right to politics and start taking up the rights of people once again. Political rhetoric on either side doesn’t get stuff done and I pray that we would find some unified grounds on reform within our great country. It has to be done.

I recently was talking with a friend about The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 from Reagan’s day. I think he really got the idea of what equitable amnesty meant while also beginning to really address legitimate and reasonable reform. I haven’t studied all of the reasons why Immigration has continued to be a lack luster issue in our Government, but, I do know that it’s been over decades of bi-partisan leadership in which it’s slipped through the cracks.

Check out the basics of what this Act provided:

The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), Pub.L. 99-603, 100 Stat. 3359, enacted November 6, 1986, also Simpson-Mazzoli Act, is an Act of Congress which reformed United States immigration law.

In brief the act:[1]

  • required employers to attest to their employees’ immigration status, and granted amnesty to certain illegal immigrants who entered the United States before January 1, 1982 and had resided there continuously
  • made it illegal to knowingly hire or recruit illegal immigrants (immigrants who do not possess lawful work authorization)
  • granted a path towards legalization to certain agricultural seasonal workers and immigrants who had been continuously and illegally present in the United States since January 1, 1982

Do you think this kind of an Act should be put back on the table with updated dates and a better plan to secure the borders? What do you think about the situation? Sound off and be kind to one another when you do it! Opinions are fine, just don’t be hating on each other as you fire off your opinions. Respect makes you credible in conversations like this one. Remember we’re talking about human beings and not animals. Ready, Set, Go….

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THANKSGIVING 2008

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These are the kind ladies serving us here in Washington for our Turkey dinner. We have Betty Anne, Loretta Lynne, Marjorie Adel and Sarah Lee. They’ve prepared some GREAT hot dishes and will serve us shortly. As you can see they are EAGER to serve us.

JUST KIDDING.

I’m actually in Silverdale, Washington for this Thanksgiving break. It’s been a beautiful few days here in Washington State and this perfect November Thursday is no exception. I’m up here spending my first, EVER, Thanksgiving away from my family. I miss them, but, I’m very glad to embark on the journey of sharing in new family with my soon to be bride Promise.

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We’ve had a fantastic couple of days just enjoying friendship and family in stunning weather for this time of the year in Seattle. Just perfect!

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Today, Troy Grover (check out his photography) who is the boyfriend of Aimee, Papa Gary (my soon to be Father-In-Law) and myself smoked us a Turkey. I would say we were pretty successful in that it was the first time any of us had ever done it. There will be a video coming soon to show you our journey…it started at 3am this morning! All in all it was a great experience for all involved.img_0552

As I think about the amazing blessings of my life and what I’m thankful for, these things come to mind:

I’m thankful that the God of the universe would want a relationship with me and that He has made it possible through Jesus. I could not imagine my life a part from my journey and quest to know Christ more deeply and find ways to let His love manifest itself in me! This is the essence of my life and I’m so grateful for my life in Christ!

I’m thankful for my wonderful, beautiful, stunning, life-giving bride to be, Promise! She has become my best friend and I cannot wait to grow old with this woman of God. Her passion for Jesus, her love for me, her uncanny humor, her sensitive spirit, her much needed touch in my life, her love for people and her unpredictbale creativity WOW ME DAILY!!! She is the joy of my life.

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I’m thankful for my family. What an amazing legacy of Jesus they have passed on to my life. I’m forever indebted to parents that trusted me deeply and lovingly committed to do their part in laying a foundation of faith in my life. I’m so grateful for their encouragement, support and help along the way of life’s journey. My brother Ben, a loyal brother. He is kind-hearted and knows me well. He’s my best man! My sister Bonnie, she’s a beautiful gem of love and fun.

For my church! Never forget that buildings don’t make a church…YOU are the church. I know we’re a large community, but, the growth in my young life over the past seven years has lasting significance. I’ve grown in my leadership, my heart for people, my love for Worship, my hope for the local church and have been challenged by the way we risk together. I’ve got miles of possibilities to learn and grow and in this season YOU are the people that will challenge me to become. Let’s keep pushing each other to become more like Jesus, reach out in to our city in a brand new way, shine in the Phoenix Valley like no one else and stretch our arms across the world into Kenya to bless the widow and the orphan.

Lastly, I’m indebted, in ways I cannot understand, to those of you that advocate for the freedom that I enjoy daily in this country. Thank you to those of you that serve as in our military and government. Your commitment to making this country free and beautiful is so appreciated. From the gal deep in the sea on a submarine that’s away from her family for months on end. To the mayors, police, fire and local people…you are appreciated. Thank you for what you do. We live in the most amazing place in all of the world.

We were reminded tonight, by Papa Tangeman, on what the deal was with this whole Thanksgiving thing. He reminded us of how it came to be and, contextually, the need for Americans had for a time to be thankful. He read this to us and I thought it was brilliant. Abraham Lincoln clearly bore a Kingdom heart. A heart rooted in Covenant, Worship and Justice (as my friend Dr. Hubley would say). I know this is a bit long, but, I REALLY encourage you to read this and if you get the chance, after you read, I’d love to hear what you thought about it. Comment away and Happy Thanksgiving!

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A Declaration of Thanksgiving

Abraham Lincoln Manifesto of Gratitude

“The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years, with large increase of freedom.

“No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

“It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.”

Ocotber 3, 1863

Rock the Vote!

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Well…

first off, who did you vote for today!? did you vote? if you didn’t here’s my pole:

I had an incredibly awesome experience as an American voter in these last couple days. Last night, I had the chance to sit down on go over all of the candidates, all of the props and all of the issues. It has been a simply fantastic time, personally, to regain a love for this country and it’s possibilities. It’s been awesome to discuss with friends, families, pastors, right, left, moderates and more on what it means to be American.

The thing that I’ve most appreciated are the dialogues I’ve been able to have on what it means to be Kingdom Agents in America. I’ve sensed that a fundamental responsibility I have as a Christ follower is to vote through a Kingdom lens and to be a Kingdom agent with how I struck the ballot today.

I’ve personally had HUNDREDS of dialogues on this stuff and some of my favorite ones with Promise, Chip and Amy Neal, my brother, my co-workers and those of you who read my blog. As Chip and I prayed this morning, after we voted, at the end of the day God is still God and His sovereign plan is still coming regardless of who’s gonna sleep in The White House for the next 4 years. What a hope we have in Jesus and we do have a responsibility to reflect Him well, if we claim to be following Him, as we go to the Polls today.

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The last thing is that I, honestly, for the first time in awhile, just felt so proud to be an American (can you hear the song just caressing your ears…hahahah?!). The above picture is of the line I stood in at 5:45am this morning with a bunch of excited Americans that were ready to vote. It was awesome! I love that we can actually be a voice for the Kingdom in how we vote. I love that I can discuss, agree and disagree openly and honestly. I love that we are FREE. How liberating. Be proud today and high five someone and just say ‘WOO-HOO, America’. hahaha. Is anyone else feeling me on this one?! It is such a blessing to live in this country!!??

Thanks to all of you that read this blog and interact on it and I hope to further be a source of great dialogue that challenges us to think deeply and respond carefully! it’s a lot of fun. I’d love to hear your experience through this process and how you felt today.