We are honored and inspired by hosting those who are fasting for family unity and immigration justice today. Under the leadership of the UUCPA Immigration Task Force, we have joined thousands of Unitarian Universalists across the country who are currently studying and taking action on the moral issue of immigration. This is a crucial moment in the history of U.S. immigration policy, as Congress weighs the possibilities for real reform. We are proud to stand beside the other member congregations of Peninsula Interfaith Action in making sure the legislation represents our values. Our religious principles guide us to insist upon an immigration system that respects the dignity of all workers; seeks to unite, not divide, families, including those with same-sex partners; allows freedom of movement and empowers those who wish to remain in their countries of origin to find gainful work there; and warmly invites into citizenship those who wish to join our country.
The current system is broken. It demands cheap, migratory labor, then scapegoats those who come here to work. It makes migrants of those who would prefer to stay in their native lands, and expels those who consider the United States their home and want to continue to stay and serve here. It treats people as criminals for seeking to do what is best for their families and to keep those families together.
As the descendant of despised immigrants, I respect the courage and strength of today’s would-be US citizens. As a parent, when I hear stories of parents and children kept apart by economic necessity and by an irrational and destructive immigration policy, I feel a wrenching pain inside. I am joining in the fast today because I feel this solidarity. I hope that the pangs of hunger will make it impossible for me to forget the pain millions of families feel when they are torn apart.
Some tell us that we need to build walls that keep some of us on one side of a border and others on the other side. We recognize that national boundaries may be necessary, but just the same, our hearts can be, and remain, with the people on both sides of the border. If we must choose sides, then as we sing in one of our Unitarian Universalist hymns, “we are standing on the side of love.”