The State of Alabama has recently passed the most restrictive anti-immigration
laws in the nation. While it was under consideration Myron Allenstein, a
Lutheran lawyer in that state, wrote a letter to the editor opposing the bill.
After the bill passed he wrote two other letters. The three letters are
posted below as an example of a prophetic concern on an important social issue
coming out of the Promising Tradition. Lutheran Immigration and Refugee
also strongly opposes the Alabama law.
LETTER ONE Immigrants: A Problem or a Blessing?
Are the Hispanic immigrants in Alabama a problem or a blessing? A large number of hard working, highly motivated, family oriented people
seeking a better life is a blessing to our state. America is all about immigrants coming to a new land with dreams of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
The Hispanics work our fields, pick our tomatoes, and dig our sweet potatoes, keep our industries competitive, and open wonderful
So why so much anger against the Hispanics? God asked Cain before he killed Abel: "Why are you angry?" (Gen 4:6) Cain refused to
I suggest that Alabama embrace these hard working people who give much more than they take and welcome them with Southern hospitality
and Christian love and charity. Allow them to apply for driver's licenses and require liability insurance. We need hard workers to rebuild
Tuscaloosa and Cullman and we need workers to pick tomatoes on Chandler Mountain and dig sweet potatoes in Baldin County.
The Bible teaches us to welcome the immigrant and not to treat them differently. We look to the Bible for determining right and wrong. God instructed the Hebrews of the Exodus "Do not mistreat or oppress the foreigner, remember you were foreigners in Egypt." (Ex 22:21); "God loves the foreigners who live with our people and gives them food and clothing...show love to these foreigners" (Deut 10:18-19)
Isaiah 61:5 describes a country blessed by God: "foreigners will serve you, they will take care of your flocks, and farm your land and tend your vineyards." The Alabama Immigration Law is wrong, hateful, and not in Alabama's best interest. The law violates Christian values and is contrary to the Southern spirit of hospitality.
We should not wait for a federal court to strike down the law as unconstitutional. Our governor and legislature should admit the law is a mistake and immediately repeal the law.
For years Alabama politicians "out segregated" each other seeking political position based on oppressing a minority people. Those days should be behind us not ahead of us.
Alabama should take the high road and realize that identifying a minority people for persecution and banishment is wrong and unchristian.
The Hispanics have come to work hard, settle down, and build families. They want to be accepted not rejected. We should welcome them with joy instead of rejecting them in anger.
Re: All Wet
John Archibald of the Birmingham News likened the new Alabama Immigration Law to a homeowner trying to fix his own broken water pipes. After he got all wet, he had to call the plumber.
Mr. Archibald said in Alabama we are getting all wet on Immigration.
Mr. Archibald wondered how a Legislature which can't change a racist Constitution and a Legislature which can't be trusted to vote on casinos, could possibly fix the Immigration Problem.
Maybe Alabama could lead the way on a remedy? Alabama could offer a temporary remedy which would help the state and help hard working Hispanics. Why not require every resident undocumented immigrant over age 16 to obtain a state ID at a cost of $1000.00. Immigrants with IDs would be allowed to work, obtain drivers licenses and go to college. Immigrants with ID cards would be required to pay taxes, learn English, and have auto insurance. Immigrants without IDs would be subject to arrest.
The Alabama Immigration Law hurts everyone. Food prices will go up further, student enrollment will decrease, teachers will be laid off, less federal money will be available for schools, factories will close or be less productive, jails and courts will be filled with immigrants, who use to work until they were arrested and we will all have long waits in line to renew our tags and licenses. In Alabama we are getting all wet.
Re: Second Trail of Tears
The Gadsden Times reported on Tuesday that the Alabama Immigration Law could cause the loss of crops in Alabama because Hispanic workers, who pick vegetables, gather chickens from poultry houses, pull sweet potatoes out of the ground, and make the cardboard boxes that hold produce are leaving the state because they are intimidated by the law. Without them, acres, and acres of crops will be wasted.
Sometimes laws have unintended consequences. A law intended to drive illegal Hispanic immigrants out of the State has caused hardship to Alabama farmers who depend on reliable Hispanic workers.
How much money have we spent defending this cruel, unconstitutional law? How
many able-bodied workers have fled the State? How many crops are lost? How many
Hispanic children, born in America, go to bed afraid that their parents will be
arrested and deported? How many Hispanic families have been separated? Do the
unintended consequences outweigh the original purposes?
In the 1830s in The Trail of Tears, the Cherokee Indians were marched out of Alabama into Oklahoma. The Alabama Immigration Law has created a Second Trail of Tears as Hispanic families leave their homes and fields for new States where their hard work and family values will be appreciated and welcomed.