Yeah, you’re right: most of the new is still awful. In the face of all the awful, I need to remind myself that good people are doing good things, so here’s today’s collection of good news, starting with the latest Pew Research Center survey, which found that a whopping 62 percent agree that “immigrants strengthen the country because of their hard work and talents.”
Some of that majority gathered at St. Mary of the Lake Catholic Church in White Bear Lake this week to hear four local immigrants tell their stories:
“Malika Benachour is a French-Algerian who first came to the U.S. as a student. Catalina Morales Behena crossed the Mexican border with her parents. Babatope Adedayo won the diversity lottery in Nigeria. Mainhia Moua’s parents came to the U.S. as refugees from Laos after the Vietnam War.”…
“[Babatope Adedayo] got through the tougher times and now works for the State of Minnesota supporting diverse small businesses. He said he is proud to be an American citizen.
“Sometimes you might not be proud to be an American, but because of people like you I have made a decision to become an American citizen,” he said.”
MinnPost reported on last week’s “Immigrant Moral Witness, Moral Action” forum at First Universalist Church of Minneapolis, which featured Michelle Rivero, Minneapolis’ first-ever director of the newly created Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs (OIRA). Rivero emphasized the importance of “speaking out with love,” and the MinnPost article listed ten ways to act with love, to support immigrants and refugees. Here’s the first:
“1. Give money to organizations and causes, including Advocates for Human Rights, Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota, International Institute of Minnesota, Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid, and Volunteer Lawyers Network. “Nonprofit organizations do receive a great deal of recognition for the work they’re doing, especially here in the Twin Cities,” Rivero said, “but it can’t be overstated how much greater the need is for legal services today than it has been in the past. We’re in a situation where it is significantly harder to achieve the same immigration objectives. Because of that, the existing nonprofit organizations are very challenged, because they have limited resources and staff, so additional financial assistance provides significant help to these organizations in helping affect these communities.”
- Be a vocal advocate for the causes you support.
- Support an organization working to provide support to asylum seekers at the border such as Al Otro Lado
- Pay immigration bonds.
- Learn about what your city is doing regarding immigration-related issues and ask how you can partner.
- Send local immigration attorneys to the border.
- Support the work of Clues and other social service organizations.
- Be informed on immigration issues and issues that touch immigrants.
- Support MIRAC (Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee).
- Support Release MN8.
Supporting immigrants and refugees is not just a moral imperative, but good economic sense, too. Marketplace looked at changing U.S. demographics this week:
“Someone once said America can’t get rich by bringing in other people’s children. Well, that’s the way America did get to be the richest country in the world,” he said. And the way to do that while maintaining a cutting edge over other growing economies in the world, Goldstone said, is to bring young workers to the U.S. from other countries. “We’re in a world where young people who can be productive workers are the new scarce resource. More than capital, more than oil, more than rare metals.”
Most important, don’t give in to feelings of despair, or think that no one listens and no one’s mind ever changes. After headlines about one Catholic boys’ school, take a look at the Arizona Republic article on another Catholic boys’ school initiative, and how it is changing hearts and minds of students by bringing them to talk to real people on the other side of the border:
“At the food kitchen in Nogales later that morning, Murphy would find himself serving bean soup and tortillas to Miguel Angel. The 57-year-old construction worker had lived in Goodyear for the past 26 years until his deportation the evening before to Mexico, where he was born.
“It was the sort of encounter Murphy and the other students would not easily forget….
“Murphy said he also found it eye-opening that the United States was sending back immigrants seemed like they didn’t deserve to be deported.
“People who have literally built their lives here and lived here for as long as they can remember, it’s so terrible that they have to leave just because their parents brought them here or they chose to come here and had made productive lives here and had been good citizens and made one mistake so they had to go home, if they even made a mistake,” he said.”