Sunday, January 13, 2019
Every Friday with LoopNaz we pray for our neighbors who are going through US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) outside the Chicago Field Office. Any individual residing in Illinois who is going through immigration, citizenship, or asylum processes must come here.
And as I’ve thought about how best to pray for these neighbors, I’ve often been struck how little I can relate to what it’s like to be in their shoes, since I’m as a US citizen by birth.
I’ve never had to worry about the permanence of this place as my home.
I’ve never had to face anxiety about my own fate or the fate of my family.
I’ve never been immersed in a legal process, foreign not only in language but also in structure.
I’ve never had to seek refuge in a new country because the place I once called home is no longer a place of safety.
I’ve never had to decide to leave a land that I love to seek better opportunities in another one. And I’ve never had to struggle with the attacks that have come on those opportunities.
I’ve never been objectified and dehumanized in the midst of a government shutdown.
And the list goes on …
However, while acknowledging the struggles immigrants face, I can see the need for us who are already citizens to make the United States a more hospitable home—a land that welcomes the stranger—even as we improve processes for those who want to come here to do so safely and legally.
As representatives of the Church of Jesus Christ, when we consider immigrants, when we consider refugees, when we consider those seeking to make a home among us, our first thought should always be how we might become neighbors to them.
And then as we consider giving voice to how our nation might move forward on issues such as border security, we might remember that God calls to care for the foreigner, not to oppress them (Exodus 23:9), even as we see that call as an extension of the love and care that originates with God.
God enacts justice for orphans and widows, and he loves immigrants, giving them food and clothing. That means you must also love immigrants because you were immigrants in Egypt.