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Author Interview

Rolson St Louis Foundation

The Good Samaritan

Offer hospitality to one another without grudging. 1 Peter 4:9 NIV

During the 2016 US presidential election, the immigration crisis that has been neglected for many decades was among the top issues that candidates had to address as they ran the race for the White House. As it has been the custom, candidates must gather on stage during debate night to discuss their policies on national and international issues. And one of the issues that has been debating every election time was the United States broken immigration system.

“I will solve the immigration crisis! I will solve the immigration crisis!” Many of the candidates proclaimed as they fought to win support from the American people and undocumented immigrants. But it has long been clear that every election season there are always great promises made to the American people that our broken immigration system was going to be fixed but these promises have never been kept. Meanwhile, millions of millions of immigrants are living in fear and oppression in our country, and our economy is being ripped off every day. While many Gallup polls show over and over again that a great percentage of American believe that America is in need of a better immigration system to keep our economy sustainable, there have not been any serious action taken towards a solution. Instead, our leaders have been playing what we called, "the political game." As a result, every now and then, people are risking their lives to enter the country illegally. As an immigrant who has gone to a tragic journey to come to the United States and one who has contributed immensely to the progress of the United States, I have made clear to our government that when it comes to issue like the immigration crisis, where people are risking their lives to enter the United States illegally, political game shall not be played. And this is the type of attitude that has contributed immensely to the flow of illegal migration into our country. Moreover, if our government were serious about the integrity of immigration system, they would have fixed it a long time ago, then people would have respected our laws.

According to some research, there are millions of millions of people living in the United States unlawfully. They come from all parts of the world. Though there are many other countries that they could have migrated to, they chose the United States of America. Now, the question we shall ask: why do people migrate to the United States of America? History has answered this question a long time ago that the United States is a nation of immigrants. History taught us that people have been migrated to the United States since the nation's birth, and some people were chained and forced to migrate to our nation. This is the United States’ history, and no one can take that away. Mary Antin, an immigrant from Polynesia, who arrived on Liberty Island, New York on May 18, 1893, wrote in her memoir titled, "The Promised Land,"

“At last I was going to America! Really, really going, at last! The winds rush in from outer space in ears, America! America!” So the story of the American history is the story of all people. And this fact makes America different from other places. It is imperative that all Americans understand this fact because, until we understand this fact it will be impossible to make the nation what she has been on the quest to be.

In the year 2005, the construction industry boomed in South Florida. South Florida was being rebuilt and renovated, so I accepted an opportunity in the construction industry where I worked as a steel worker to help rebuilt our nation. I tell you sincerely I have witnessed the hard work that immigrants have contributed to make the nation what she is today. And I do cherish the time that I spent working in the industry. Because I have had the opportunity not only to work with many immigrants, I've also had the opportunity to talk to them and listen to their stories. They have told me a lot of things. They told me about the struggles they faced in their homeland as I also shared with them the struggles I faced in my land. They told me the reasons they came to the United States. They also told me about the fear and oppression they are facing in the United States. They told me about their dreams and hopes. They told me that the United States of America is the only place that makes life seem possible for them. “Our dreams and hopes feel alive in the United States. But we are afraid we might not be able to live here. We feel terrified and oppressed sometimes," they said.

It has been a while now since I became a Christian. I have spent a great deal of time studying the Bible. I have learned many wonderful things, most importantly, the life of Jesus, the Savior of the world. Jesus can surely be remembered as having compassion for the poor, the needy, the oppressed, the heartbroken, and the captives. For scripture told us that He has dedicated most of His life to helping those in need. Furthermore, He laid down His life for all of our sins. That shows us very clearly how much He loves humanity and cares for those who are destitute. And as Christians, it is imperative that we follow the example of Jesus Christ. For the scripture says, "Whoever claims to live in God must lives as Jesus did." 1 John 2:6. In other word we must be willing to do what Jesus would do in every life situation. In the gospel of St Mark, Jesus commands us a prime commandment. He said, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these." Mark 12:31. Now the undocumented immigrants who have been living in our country for many years have literally become neighbors to all of us, but some of us have broken the greatest commandment by failing to love them and treat them fairly. We failed to abide by the scripture that also says, "The immigrants residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were immigrants in Egypt. I am the LORD your God." Leviticus 19:39.

Despite of the truth from the scripture, we have seen many of us tend to follow the example of Pharaoh when it comes to having compassion toward those seeking refuge in our nation. When it comes to having compassion towards the poor, we have seen many disciples of Pharaoh not of Jesus Christ. Will we fail the Christian Principles upon which the United States of America was founded? Truly, when I see the oppression and fear these men, women, and children have been facing in the United States, I took time to think of Jesus Christ. Then I ask myself this question: what would Jesus do?

The answer to that question came from a powerful story in the gospel of St Luke, precisely in chapter 10. It is written, “A certain man who went from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothes, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion, and he helped him.” At the end of the story, Jesus referred to the Samaritan as a great man, and commanded us to follow the Samaritan's example.

Since Jesus has commanded us to follow the Samaritan’s example, I have taken some significant time to meditate on that powerful story. As I was meditating, the first thing that came to mind was those men, women, and children who had ran away from their countries’ calamities to seek a better life in our nation. They have come to the United States and worked very hard to contribute to our society. They build schools, hospitals, bridges, and roads. They work in factories. They also work on the farms so that we have food on our table. Socially, they have been vital members of the loving family encompassed in the phrase, “We The People.” But judicially, they are merely the undocumented immigrants who have been oppressed, and sometimes even be thrown out of the nation that they have helped built. That is not right. This is not what the democracy is. This is not the nation that America was founded to become. This is injustice at its purest form. And you and I know very well that injustice will never be pleasing in the sight of God. He hates it. We must do better.

Immigrants have always played a vital part in the progress of the United States. Our resplendent infrastructure would not have been possible without the enormous contribution of immigrants. Without their hard labors, our farms would have been desolate. But when the time comes to reciprocate, we turn our back on them, ignore them, and pass them by. Instead of helping, we offer empty promises. Some of us spend most of our time speaking out against them, at times we oppress them, we play the game of politics, threaten them with deportation, and leave them hopeless down Jericho’s road. For so long immigrants have been treated as if they have committed the biggest crime for seeking a safer place in the earth to live. For so long immigrants have been treated harshly for coming to the land that proudly promises freedom, safety, and a better opportunity for all. Though we know we are a nation of immigrants, there are many among us who have been trying to ignore the history of our nation. Long ago, we used to go and look for people to populate our country. We even used to chain people up and force them to come to build our country. Now, some of us say that immigrants are criminals for seeking a better place to live in the universe created and governed by the Almighty God. This immigration crisis can comparatively remind us of the Israelite in Egypt.

Once upon a time, more than two thousand years ago, the Israelite found themselves oppressed in Egypt under Pharaoh’s regime. Egypt was rich and powerful, so the people of God used to go there to look for bread to eat and search for a better life. Scripture tells us that Pharaoh charged the Israelite with heavy labor but did not really care about their ultimate needs. Instead, he oppressed them for years, and their lives became tormented. It came to pass that the Israelite cried out to the Almighty for deliverance from the oppression and heavy labor of Pharaoh. The Almighty heard and answered their prayers. With a mighty act, God delivered them from Egypt.

Now I am not claiming that immigrants are the new Israelites. What I’m saying is that the Bible states it very clearly that God always hears the cry of the poor. He will not let any of His people under oppression forever. His ears are always inclined to the cries of the oppressed. We know who He is. For we have seen Him in history many times. He is the God of justice and freedom. He is the God of love and peace. He is the righteous God. He is compassionate. He is mighty. He surely has the power to deliver His people from oppression. Having said all that, I must then ask these questions, "Will we be the priest to these people, or the Levite? Or will we be the good Samaritan whose example Jesus Christ commanded us to follow?" God has sent a message for America. And it's marked urgent!

America! The unlawful immigrants who have been working very hard to help build this nation are not moving toward a promised land, rather toward a promise in the promised land. They are joint heirs with Christ as they are moving toward the promise. And if the United States of America is to remain a nation entrusted with the blessings of the Almighty, we shall not turn away those who have been knocking on our doors for a loaf of bread. If we are to remain a nation under God, we must not do injustice, we shall have compassion and help those who are in need! Let us lead as Christ would lead, for He has given us an example and commandments to follow. We must make equal justice and freedom a reality for all. America has become a prosperous nation not because of anything else, but because God has blessed us and entrusted us to be a blessing onto others. For it is written, “I will bless you, and you shall be a blessing onto all families of the earth.” Gen 12:2. Let us never get weary in doing the good that the Almighty God has commanded us to do, for in due time we will have our rewards. Let us make the Good Samaritan Act law of the land. We shall feed those who are hungry, clothe the naked, and shelter those who need a safe place to live. “Truly, I say to you when you do these things unto the least of the brethren you do it unto Me.” Matthew 25:40

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