Monday, July 20, 2009

I heard you help ILLEGALS!

Photo used under Creative Commons from Between a Rock

And so opened a telephone conversation I had with a fellow sister in Christ the other day. I have this conversation quite a bit with people who have heard about the ISAAC Project at church or through its website, facebook page or this blog. Let me be clear: The ISAAC Project helps churches minister to all immigrants-not just undocumented ones- within the confines of the law. We do not encourage illegal immigration, "sanctuary" movements, or help people skirt the law. We help immigrants comply with the law, not break it.

After I explained this to the caller, her response was, "So you admit, you are helping churches help ILLEGALS!"

"Under extremely limited circumstances," I replied, "an illegal immigrant can adjust or change their status from 'illegal' to 'legal'." I stressed the exceptionally limited nature of this relief and gave an example of the Ruth Project in Waco, Texas (affiliated with ISAAC). The Ruth Project was able to help an undocumented and underaged rape victim. Through their efforts, she was allowed to stay in the country and testify against her attacker. Thanks to her help, this predator is now behind bars. The prosecution then submitted documents on the victim's behalf and the Ruth Project was able to help her become a lawful permanent resident.

Unfortunately, the conversation was downhill from there. She began yelling at me and accused me of "making a mockery of the law!"

"But I do support the law," I retorted, "everything we do is within the confines of the law. If the law allows someone to go from 'illegal' to 'legal', then why shouldn't we help them?" I continued, "We can't pick and choose what parts of the law we like and then disregard the parts we don't like. The law allows some people to stay under very limited circumstances and others it does not allow to stay. If you don't like the fact that ISAAC can help certain undocumented immigrants within the current law, perhaps it is the law you have a quarrel with and not ISAAC."

She then hung up on me.

I don't mind people disagreeing with ISAAC's ministry or vision. Indeed, I have said many times that I don't know what the long term immigration solution will be. I do hope, however, that if someone does disagree with this ministry that they will do so only after they have fully informed themselves of the facts.

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