On a cold, December evening, 60 (or so) of us gathered around tables filled with soup and dinner rolls to engage in meaningful conversation around immigration reform. Led by Queens Students who were trained in the "deliberative dialogue" technique, participants discussed three options for reform: shoring up our existing system while also providing an acceptable way for the millions of undocumented immigrants currently living here to earn the right to citizenship; tighter control of the border, tougher law enforcement, and stricter limits on immigration quotas; and offering a range of flexible measures such as annual adjustments to quotas that put a priority on our economic needs. At the end of our deliberations most of those in the room (at least the more vocal) landed on option 3: flexible measures promoting economic prosperity. All who participated experienced robust conversations with diverse opinions expressed around tables of new friends.
Because the majority of this program happened in small groups, we did not make an audio recording.
Immigration attorneys help us to understand the difference between immigration law and political rhetoric. In this session, we will learn about current immigration laws, legal options for immigrants, and how to know the difference between public statements and legitimate changes to policy.
Dr. Sarah Griffith, Associate Professor in the History Department at Queens University led a conversation about the history of immigration policy. From colonization to the present state of our laws, this session helps us understand historical trends in our nation's sordid history of welcoming newcomers.
Dr. Maggie Commins, Associate Professor of Political Science at Queens University, walks us through the complex language used to describe and categorize the movement of people. Listen in as we learn the differences between the language of undocumented, documented, refugee, asylum seeker, illegal alien, and more.
Welcome to this journey of Awakening. The Awakening Series is a year-long journey of exploration and discernment during which all people are invited to learn about current justice issues. The series is mostly educational and is intended to create a deep understanding and compassion for the world’s most marginalized individuals. It encourages a critical examination of structural, historical, sociological, and theological obstacles to the establishment of equity, wholeness, and fulfillment of all people.
Listening and learning is a critical part of our spiritual lives as we seek to meet God in our world. Throughout the Bible, the people of God hear – and wrestle with – the call to love the foreigner and welcome the stranger (Deut. 10, Lev. 19, etc.). The United States is often referred to as a “Nation of Immigrants,” which not only honors our heritage but also reminds us that our ancestors were also foreigners in a new land.
This year, we will explore this ancient, biblical call and discern how God might be calling us – individually and collectively – to love and welcome all of our neighbors. Through large group educational opportunities, small groups experiences, weekend events, and pilgrimages, we will get to know our immigrant neighbors, begin to understand the challenges they face in coming to the United States, and discern action and advocacy steps that we can take to create a better life with and for America’s newcomers.
God be with us all along the way,
Rev. Chrissy Tatum Williamson