Monday, April 02, 2007

Where does all of the hate and fear come from??

In a January letter to the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Texas House Representative Leo Berman wrote that,
We have 22 million illegal aliens in our country. They have brought with them Tuberculosis, Polio, Leprosy, Dengue Fever, Chagas Disease and Malaria. ...As of last August, the Texas Prison System [sic] is housing 12,500 illegal aliens. That many more are incarcerated in county and municipal jails. Finally, according to a detailed report produced by the Lone Star Foundation in Austin, Texans are spending $3.5 billion each year to support 1.5 million illegal aliens in Texas.

The Texas Observer writes:

Maybe people have difficulty joining Berman in his fears because they are unfounded. Texas reported two cases of malaria in 2006, and none of polio in the last five years. Of malaria cases in the U.S., most occur among residents traveling abroad, not foreigners immigrating, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The number of reported cases in the U.S. of Hansen’s disease, or leprosy, has declined each year since 1988. Though more than half the reported cases are among immigrants, the rate of tuberculosis has been decreasing among both foreign- and U.S.-born residents for 10 years.

I never have quite understood how Americans (United States Americans, that is) can be so quick to attribute certain characteristics of people of color to ALL people of color. Because there are some immigrants who are criminals, we start making statements that ALL immigrants are criminals or disease carriers. Because some African-American teenage boys participate in illicit behavior, we attribute that behavior to ALL African-American teenage boys. Because Middle Eastern men organized the fall of the Twin Towers, ALL Middle Easterners must be suspect.

It's quite interesting to me that I, as a White person, have never been labeled or profiled because Terry Nichols and Timothy McVeigh organized the Oklahoma City bombing. ...and I even grew up in an area where anti-government groups took residence...I even heard that Nichols and McVeigh had tried to buy land there!

After watching De Nadie, the story of a Central American immigrant's difficult journey to the United States in search for a better life, I wish you could have heard the comments 10-year old Ricky, who came as an immigrant with his parents. As he raised his hand to speak, I expected a child-like comment. Instead, he was more articulate than many adults! Through tears he reflected on the film and spoke eloquently for probably 5 minutes on immigration, how people are treated, and how unfair and wrong it is. He spoke about Christian responsibility. He continued to wax eloquently as he compared our current immigration issues to the Civil War. Sheepishly, I must admit that can't remember all of his comments because his knowledge about these issues were so intelligent I had never thought about them before and was unable to soak in and remember all of his great points!

Ricky is who is coming into our country. A person with a name and a story. He is not diseased. He is not a criminal. His parents want a better life for him. They want to foster his amazing intelligence. If we destroy that, we are missing out on the greatness that Ricky has to offer.

For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in. Matt. 25:35

You shall not wrong or oppress a resident alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt. Exodus 22:21

The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt; I am the LORD your God. Leviticus 19:34

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