I hope somebody else saw Casey Wian and Bill Tucker's report for Lou Dobbs on CNN this week regarding the rise of the new sanctuary movement among religious leaders in the U.S. Click on the post title for the transcript (scroll halfway down). The tone of Tucker's voice, unfortunately, was what really made it for me. He sounded downright disgusted.
I am not a big fan of Lou Dobbs and his show. First of all, I think my mother nailed it when she muttered "That man's angling to run for something," as we paused on his show on night. He does seem like he's working very hard to hit an awful lot of the right notes not to be an eventual candidate for some office. Also, some of the reports I watched on his show are like FOX-lite; not as downright xenophobic, jingoistic, fear-mongering, etc. as some of the other guys, but enough to leave a bad taste in my mouth. Like polite racism; smarter packaging, gentler delivery, but still revolting.
Here's an example of what Bill Tucker felt was unbiased reporting:
"And so say the leaders of the new sanctuary movement, are positioning themselves, not only in opposition to immigration law, but also, the sovereignty of the United States."
Dobbs then reminded viewers of the audience poll: "Tonight's poll, our question is straightforward. Do you believe the political adventurism of our religious leaders is now a threat to our constitution and the doctrine of separation of church and state? Yes or no."
For those of you that aren't familiar with the term, the sanctuary movement was an organized response, primarily led by faith communities, to the influx of undocumented refugees fleeing the bloody civil wars in Central America in the early '80s. Instead of leaving people to fend for themselves or be shipped back to death squads and military juntas, people in this country rallied to face the challenge of a humanitarian crisis. Google "El Mazote" or "University of Central America massacre" or "Rio Negro". This was the front-page news of my childhood growing up in Miami and it left an impression on me.
Now with the U.S. government and a large portion of the citizenry on this latest anti-immigrant tear that has seen a 20% rise in deportations in the last year alone (NY Times), which I believe is wrapped up with an atmosphere of xenophobia and general "anti-foreigner" undercurrent, the call has gone out again to all faith communities to join together in the effort.
No one disputes that the immigration system needs to be fixed. Consider that it was intimidating and frustrating for me and my then-husband and we both have college degrees, speak English, and had the financial resources to pay the exorbitant fees and hire a lawyer to assist us. And no one disputes that there are serious issues to be resolved as to provision of services for undocumented workers and their families. Militarization of the border, a wall, fear mongering, short-sighted so-called "solutions" will not provide these answers.