DOUGLAS, Ariz. (RNS) — We the People Ride is a 3,200-mile bike trip alongside the southern fringe of the U.S., from San Diego, California, to St. Augustine, Florida. Led by Vote Common Good, members of the general public are invited to affix any size of the journey, each in individual and on-line.
Because the group rides, contributors are discovering and telling the tales of these most impacted by U.S. immigration coverage and are sharing their experiences and therapy. Faith Information Service will publish their dispatches from the street.
We pledge to look to these residing on the borderland for solutions, alternatives and modifications to immigration coverage.
We hope to attach and study from immigrants to deepen our nation’s understanding and talent to name for simply motion at our border. In touring to the border, we hope to remind the general public that immigration is a human story, and that it’s a Christian responsibility to struggle for honest immigration coverage.
Right here’s this week’s dispatch:
We’re 800 miles into our trip and assembly the mayor of Douglas, Arizona, a city that shares a border with Mexico.
Douglas has one of many highest crime rates within the nation, with 37 violent and property crimes per thousand residents. However this statistic, which on the floor looks like a political speaking level, tells a a lot deeper story of resilience, religion and group.
Mayor Donald Huish stated throughout our dialog: “It’s a protected city. Folks throughout the nation have this impression that it’s lawless. However nothing could possibly be farther from the reality. The values that individuals have listed here are primarily based on household, perception in Christ. That permeates all through our group, and permits us to succeed in out and attempt to assist others.” Douglas residents just lately referred to as the city’s alleged risks “hype” in interviews with Arizona reporter Tim Steller.
However Douglas has taken an financial hit within the final decade, with skyrocketing unemployment charges and low property values. It depends closely on the commerce that comes with being on the border — an business that’s negatively impacted by rising sentiments of border hysteria, typically perpetuated by Republicans (together with former United States presidents) who make use of these sorts of narratives to additional their “regulation and order” agenda. The border, Douglas’ most important benefit, turns into a hindrance when seen with unfounded concern.
Granted, a major aim of the U.S. immigration enforcement system is to maximise compliance with the regulation. However, to ensure that an individual to be compliant, they have to first be offered with a digestible, accessible authorized system that gives life like pathways to comply with. Our current system merely doesn’t allow this. We provide immigrants impossible-to-maneuver authorized limitations that solely additional exacerbate frustrations on the border and bar 1000’s from having the ability to enter the nation legally.
“The insurance policies which are made in Washington, D.C., have an effect on us personally, day in and time out,” Huish stated. He argues that common-good immigration practices would profit the folks of his city. Fearmongering ways solely additional harm border cities like Douglas.
“I might encourage the federal authorities to put in extra judges (and honest processes) for these people who find themselves merely looking for a greater life,” Huish continued. “We want these folks to have a listening to inside per week, in order that they will go on and be with their households. And if it’s a ‘no,’ it’s a ‘no.’ However no less than they’ll know.”
It was instructive to listen to the mayor of a border city with a excessive crime fee calling for immigration coverage that treats migrants and asylum-seekers as precisely who they’re: human beings. The members of our trip had been in full settlement with him when he famous: “These individuals are hungry for freedom. Some are spiritually hungry, bodily hungry. For those who see little kids who’re ravenous, what are you going to do? You’re going to take the prospect to get them up right here.”
In Douglas, we discovered how border hysteria has a cloth influence on Americans. Regardless of this, the folks of Douglas proceed to name for the humane therapy of immigrants. Huish stated to us: “If you need a wall, construct a wall. However we have to open a gate and permit folks to benefit from the blessings we have now right here in america.”
After we launched into our trip, we committed to following the lead of these residing on the borderland for the solutions, alternatives and modifications to frame and immigration coverage. This week, the mayor of Douglas, in his proximity to those points, voiced his help for the struggle for common-good immigration reform.
(Doug Pagitt is an evangelical pastor and the manager director of Vote Common Good. The views expressed on this commentary don’t essentially mirror these of Faith Information Service.)