Allies in the Push for Immigration Reform: The Jewish People
Sep 20, 2011 by M. Daniel Carroll R. | 0 Comments
This last Thursday morning (September 15) I participated in an immigration event that was held at Rice University. It was organized by the Houston Coalition for Immigration Reform (http://www.houstonimmigrationreform.org/) and the Houston office of the Anti-Defamation League (http://regions.adl.org/southwest/). I spoke on the biblical foundations of a faith-based position on immigration for a bit over 45 minutes. The ADL then took a couple of hours to do some training on hate speech, on how to evaluate what is presented in the media, and on practical exercises for young people in relationship to all of this. Throughout my talk, which comes largely from the Old Testament, I was able to appeal to our common Judeo-Christian heritage.
It was great to be back on the Rice campus – my alma mater. What was especially fascinating was to see this Jewish organization speak out on behalf of immigrants and for immigration reform. In early February I spoke at Temple Sinai in Englewood, Colorado, but that event had been organized by two national Jewish women groups. In Houston the ADL took the lead.
As I have spoken to these Jews about their reasons for joining the “cause,” two primary reasons have been given me. One is that their own history for many centuries as a people has been one of migration and persecution, so it is fitting that they come alongside of other immigrants. Second, they have a long experience with discrimination, caricatures, and hate speech, and they are seeing that phenomena surface now against immigrants. They feel that they cannot defend their own rights if they do not speak out for others, who are experiencing the same thing. These are powerful motivations!
It is amazing to watch God touch the heart of so many different Christian groups on the topic of immigration. Now we have significant Jewish groups as allies. There is much they can teach us at so many levels. Thanks be to God!