In January, I ate at the home of an immigrant family in Phoenix in which the dad recently became a Christian because of the hardships he has endured while living in the U.S. The undocumented immigrant father has been attending church every week to draw closer to God because he lives in fear of being separated from his two young children, who are U.S. citizens. He feels torn about living in the United States illegally, but he also feels that God has called him to stay in the United States for a reason and struggles every day to reconcile those two feelings.
This man considered moving his family back to Mexico because life was so hard in Phoenix, but was concerned about his two young children who would go back to a country they never knew. They fed us generously with freshly made tortillas and pulled pork as the children ran around the yard, yelling at each other in a mix of Spanish and English, much like the children of any immigrant parents who grow up blessed by knowing two cultures.
During the same visit, my colleague met an undocumented immigrant woman named Maria whose son was killed by a drunk driver; she cannot press charges because of her undocumented status.
This immigrant family and Maria find themselves in an even more complicated situation because of the strict immigration law signed by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer two weeks ago. Arizona often acts as the prime testing ground for immigration policy across the country because they share miles of border with Mexico and have thriving industries that depend on immigrant labor. While most people would agree that illegal immigration is wrong and our federal immigration laws need to be reformed, this new Arizona law was written to stop illegal immigration through attrition, ...1
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