27 August, 2007

Who Would Jesus Deport?

Elvira Arellano was arrested and deported by ICE agents at around 2pm PST on Monday, August 20. The Trib did a thorough piece on it. I've been following this story since she sought sanctuary at Adalberto Methodist Church in Humboldt Park. I think that this issue throws the entire immigration debate into sharp relief. This particular situation is catalytic for pundits on all sides of the issue (and there are definitely more than 2 sides...which is in part why we have no comprehensive legislation as of yet). It is an issue of sovereignty. Our a priori conceptions of nation-statehood and humanity come directly into play. Those more inclined to weigh human life over the wishes of the overarching political organization tend to support Elvira, while those who believe strongly in the priority of laws (existing for the purpose of order, privilege, etc) generally condemn her actions. It's the classic divide between a belief in the flourishing of all peoples and the belief that discipline is the foundational element of governance. The difficulty in this for me is my history of political thought. I have fully thrown myself into both camps and the result is a deep empathy that prevents me from crossing the Rubicon.

As a Christian, I must remember that my allegiance does not lie by default with a nation-state. My first duty is not to a construct of man. In the larger picture, borders and quotas and laws help the functioning of the whole, but I do not take issue with their existence (while less than ideal), I disagree with the present methods and policies that divide families unnecessarily. My Christian identity allows me to disconnect myself from the tyranny of paradigm.  One could argue she is protesting an unjust system of laws designed to protect the interests of those in power. Cynicism in this process runs both ways. Weighing the options, I think that what she is doing is noble.

While looking at different perspectives on this issue, I ran across the following videos.

The first: Glenn Beck

linked from Diggers Realm

and the second: Tribute to Elvira Arellano and her son Saul

from Elvira's Song.

"Everyone knew it was probably a question of when, not if. It just makes me feel really sad because she knows she's looking at time in prison."
        -Joshua Hoyt, executive director of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.
I met that guy during Wheaton in Chicago. He was holding a press conference on the first of the ICE actions in Chicago. The irony here is that I wanted to meet Elvira, but I went to LA instead...where she was arrested.

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Mikkele said...

i want to talk to you about this.