Where Was Your Great Grandmother Born?
Today on the The Feed, we hear from JB Beyer who offers a passionate perspective on the rhetoric of hate and fear that surrounds immigration. We hope that this point of view will allow you to engage with issues of migration in helpful ways.
By JB Beyer
Have you ever seen this image before?
Often it is paired with the text, “Homeland Security: Fighting terrorism since 1492.” “Oh yeah,” says the white American, “We were once migrants to this country. I guess the difference is we had more lethal weapons than the native peoples.”
Before we go too much farther let me confess, I am a white American. It took me a long time to realize that I am only in the U.S. because native peoples were displaced through violence and marginalization. That’s a hard pill to swallow and a hard past to face.
A conversation about immigration in the U.S. is limited without memory of how our country created space for itself in this land.
But a conversation about immigration in the U.S. is limited without memory of how our country created space for itself in this land. We came to displace, to rape, murder, and destroy culture. And what do migrants who come to us seek? Work? Housing? Peace? A better life for their children?
“But immigrants bring rape, murder, crime,” some would have us believe, but that is what sinful humanity brings. It is not unique or in higher proportion in immigrant lives.
What’s more is sometimes our own foreign policies create migration that we are unable to welcome. We subsidize corn in the U.S. and then negotiate with Mexico to let us sell that corn in competition with small scale farmers who in turn leave their rancho to go north for a job. Then we slander them as criminals when they enter our country to be exploited by companies happy for cheap labor who don’t know the law.
History tells us that if they wanted to live in the US they should just invade with better firepower. That’s what we did.
But Jesus says, Love your neighbor. Jesus says, Love your enemy. He calls us to pray for them.
I don’t know many Christians who get all righteous about the border who pray for Mexico and immigrants. Or who live in diverse neighborhoods. Or who remember the Jesus who said give to anyone who asks. And however you treat the stranger is how you treat me.
If you are afraid of immigrants, what are you afraid of losing that Jesus said you’d have if you followed him?
The question I want to ask is: If you are afraid of immigrants, what are you afraid of losing that Jesus said you’d have if you followed him?
Does Jesus promise what you are so desperately holding onto, fighting to wall of from our neighbors?
Unless you are living on a reservation, your family is an immigrant family. Let’s try to be a little more generous with our own kind.
JB Beyer is seeking to find and serve Christ in the trailer park where he lives and where many white and Latino families make their home in northwestern North Carolina. He suppoerts himself as a carpenter part-time and is striving for asset-based community development ministry there through relationships with teen boys, their families and other neighbors. He leads a group of teen boys two times a week called “Boy’s Night,” now 6 years old, which empowers teen boys to fight for their God-given goodness, cooperate, come to a consensus, serve and discover life in Christ. He wants to create a worshipping community there and form cooperatives for just housing and transportation.