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Can religious leaders point the way in immigration debate?

Can religious leaders point the way in immigration debate?

Marcos Breton, writing in the The Sacramento Bee wonders if religious leaders can lead the way in finding answers for the immigration debates:

I live in the real world.

In the real world, illegal immigration is a sideshow issue of provocative statements with little resemblance to the truth. It’s political calculation minus moral imperative.

For example, during the Republican presidential debate last week, Michele Bachmann said she wanted to build a fence around Mexico.

As president, Mitt Romney says he will stop illegal immigration completely.

In the real world, Mexico is the United States’ third most lucrative trading partner – just behind Canada and China. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly $261 billion has changed hands so far this calendar year between the United States and Mexico.

Why don’t we lock down the border between the U.S. and Mexico? Count to 261 billion and the answer will become clear.


In this void, where Democrats and Republicans are equally guilty, men of God from Sacramento are waging a lonely battle preaching reason and morality to politicians exploiting immigration fears and to a public that just wants to be mad.

One is Bishop Jaime Soto of the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento, a giant on immigration reform for years. Another is a relative newcomer: the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, a charismatic Christian pastor with an Elk Grove address and a growing national profile.


So what is a reasonable alternative? To Rodriguez, it boils down to two words: just integration.

You separate the immigrants who come to America and commit crimes from the workers and families who can be productive members of society. You deport the rapist, but not the A student.

Episcopal leaders in Alabama and elsewhere are calling for immigration reform. Will the churches across the denominational divides join forces to break the logjam and get real reform? Will kids who have lived here all their lives and studied hard and love this country be given a chance?


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