“You shall not oppress a sojourner. You know the heart of a sojourner, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.” – Exodus 23:9
For most of us, life is certainly far from the bed of roses we had imagined ourselves laying in. Growing up in Kenya, my friends and I had one goal: to relocate to the United States, the land where dreams were realized and opportunities were boundless. I had been captivated by vibrant tales of immigrants who had established new lives in the United States from scraps. I, too, had hoped for the same experience.
In reality, most people I knew were denied visas by the U.S. Embassy and their dreams shattered by the rejection stamp on their passports. The few who managed to secure visas were envied as the chosen ones, who would sail to the “land of the free” and escape the poverty we grew up in.
The United States is a country built by immigrants and the indigenous people who were here. Immigrants came to pursue dreams, to escape hostile or violent conditions, or simply to build a new life.
I hope we can persuade lawmakers to pass an inclusive comprehensive immigration reform – one that would acknowledge immigrants as people and members of God’s family who deserve the same right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness as everyone, and with the full human dignity and worth we all have in the eyes of God.