Friday, September 30, 2011

"Come on in. There's room enough in here for one more sinner."

I believe in God, but I don't believe in illegal immigration. One is just much more plausible than the other. 
I can back up and tell you that my book club started this line of thought. That I'm in a book club is also hard to believe. My family doesn't have a very good book club record, as my mom has been kicked out of the same book club at least twice, and I'm not really known for my capacity for reasonable, open-minded discussion. But, I weaseled my way into a book club, and once a month, I read a book chosen by other people, whether I want to or not, and then tell that group of people what I thought of it. I try to listen to what they thought as well. 
Last time around, the club read Little Bee, which is a novel about a girl who escapes violence in Nigeria for a time, but ends up getting deported from the UK (yes, I just spoiled the end, sorry). The conversation evolved from our opinions on the book, to our opinions on immigration. Most of my friends were appalled by the treatment the women in the book received at a fictional detention center in the UK, and were horrified by the thought that such places may actually exist outside of novels. 
None of this was surprising, but when things got cloudy was when I found out that these same people thought that these "illegal immigrants" needed to be stopped from invading the western world. This seemed a contradicting opinion to me: Should they just not have to endure detention centers on their way back to the living hell they came from?
I've been 'round and 'round this issue. I've traveled all over, met all sorts of people, and I've even worked 'illegally' in two foreign countries (I don't think their governments read this blog though). I can debate ad nauseam about how the process should be changed, but after a bit a reflection and some critical analysis of the book club conversation, it was obvious that the base of my opinions on the subject is that I don't believe in "illegal" immigration. In fact, I'm even more laissez faire about people than about economics.
Who are we to say that people have to stay within the arbitrary borders they were born in? My ancestors did not. I haven't. If we're all God's children, my brothers and sisters from Bolivia have as much right to work and live in Alaska as I do.
My book club told me that this violates the social contract that we have with our governments to abide by certain laws. Just because social contracts exist, doesn't make them correct or even operable. Humans get government wrong all the time: you don't have to read many books to know that. So, I believe in something more constant: a loving God, that would like to see us eventually create a world where I can get a really good taco at a dogsled race. Amen.

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