A few thoughts from the Ohio Conference Immigration Resource Team:
Are you aware that a significant number of immigrants living in Ohio (and the rest of this country) face a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 because of their work in meat processing plants and other factories? Don’t forget to pray for them.
There’s plenty of time left this summer for reading. Here is a must-read: Enrique’s Journey by Sonia Nazario. The book tells the gripping story of a young man from Honduras facing seemingly insurmountable odds to locate his mother in the USA after 10 years of separation. Although this book was written 14 years ago, the story continues to repeat itself for thousands of Central American youth.
As we ask ourselves how we might help improve the lives of immigrants, consider the following observations from the author: “In the US, many immigration experts have concluded that the only effective strategy for change is to bolster the economies of immigrant-sending countries…. Forgiving foreign debt would allow more of their country’s resources to go into development. Implementing U.S. trade policies that give a strong preference to goods from immigrant-sending countries would help spur growth in certain industries, such as textiles, that employ (many women in Central America). Others believe the United States, notoriously stingy among industrialized nations in per capita gifts of foreign aid, should boost donations. Individuals… can support nongovernmental organizations that encourage job-creating small businesses or improve the availability of education….
“Most immigrants would rather stay in their home countries with their extended families. Who wants to leave home and everything he or she knows for something foreign, not knowing if he or she will ever return? Not many. What would ensure that more women can stay home, with their children, where they want to be?… (One Honduran woman) says, simply, ‘What would it take to keep people from leaving (their homeland)? There would have to be jobs (here). Jobs that pay okay. That’s it.’”
Wondering how you can make a difference? Here are some action steps:
- Pay a little more for fair trade coffee from Central America.
- Donate to Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), designating your gift for “immigration issues.”
- Shop at Ten Thousand Villages.
- Call your Senators and your member of the House of Representatives to voice your support for immigration reform.
Note: At the 2019 Annual Conference Assembly of the Ohio Conference, delegates overwhelmingly passed a resolution on immigration. That resolution contained both individual and congregational components, along with suggestions for contacting elected representatives on state and national levels. Delegates agreed to pray for the Spirit’s leading in seeking to minister to the needs of immigrants. To read the entire resolution, see https://ohiomennoniteconference.org/resources/immigration.