September 17, 2007


Immigration: U.S. Congress stops its work, but churches plow ahead (Catholic News Service, 9/17/07)

Congressional efforts to pass an immigration reform bill may have been shoved onto the "maybe after the 2008 election" list, but around the country a wide range of church-connected efforts continue to try to influence what the general public thinks about immigrants and how they are treated.

In Tennessee a Colombian immigrant who has long served as an interpreter for Spanish speakers in Nashville's courts has self-published a guidebook for immigrants about adjusting to their new home. In another part of the state, churches have been trying to support families affected by immigration raids of trailer parks in the spring.

Elsewhere, church agencies help people legalize their status; religious brothers and sisters pray weekly outside immigrant detention centers; parish activists lobby their members of Congress; and groups across the country are scheduling education programs, rallies and prayer events for immigrants and immigration issues.

Farm needs revive immigration debate: Congress set to take up issue again as labor concerns crop up (MICHELLE MITTELSTADT, 9/17/07, Houston Chronicle)
From the Rio Grande Valley's citrus groves to Washington state apple orchards, growers are warning that agriculture is in increasing distress because of labor shortages brought on in part by stepped-up enforcement of immigration laws.

Congress appears to be paying heed as the growers complain ever more loudly of fruit and vegetable crops rotting in the field, planting plans being scaled back and production moving to Mexico. So, less than three months after the Senate nixed an overhaul of U.S. immigration policy, senators are poised to jump back onto the roller coaster and confront uncomfortable and politically treacherous questions about illegal immigration and U.S. labor needs.

If Christians and farmers aren't the GOP base, who does it think is?

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 17, 2007 7:26 AM

Not all self-described Christians are part of the GOP. You've got the Anabaptist pacifists who've thrown in their lot with groups like ANSWER. (And nothing new there, back in the '80s the same bunch were Sandalistas. I used to be considered a member of one such demonination, until their antics soured me on them.)

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at September 17, 2007 1:36 PM

I'd say Christians and farmers are more naturally Democratic. It was only the abortion issue that brought them to the GOP, leaving a vacuum that seems to have been filled by anti-religion bigots.

Somehow I doubt the Mennonites and Amish are on the radar of either party, but all they really want is to be left alone, and that includes education.

Having been raised a Mennonite, I always get a chuckle out of what I call militant pacifism. I like to ask the person arguing whether Jesus would have opened his mouth in anger, or simply turned the other cheek? Shouldn't they just shut up and let me have the floor?

Posted by: Randall Voth at September 17, 2007 7:58 PM

Quite wrong, of course:

Posted by: oj at September 18, 2007 7:50 AM

Well, I knew about that little foray into Amish territory, but that was G.W. Bush at his finest, not the Republicans.

My contention was that farmers (think subsidies) and Christians (think social welfare and immigration) are more naturally Democrats and could be won back very easily if the Democrats ever dumped their secularists and abortion.

But they won't and future elections will be decided by Christians staying home or not, depending largely on issues such as immigration.

Posted by: Randall Voth at September 18, 2007 7:03 PM