Immigraiton Reform Part 1: A response to Schumer and Graham

This is the first of two essays that I will publish on my blog. This essay is a critique of Senators Charles Schumer and Lindsay Graham’s recent proposal for immigration reform. The second essay, drawing from my forthcoming book, Neighbor: Christian Encounters With “Illegal” Immigration (Westminster John Knox Press, summer 2010) will outline the policies that I believe are necessary for a morally sound immigration reform bill.

On March 19, 2010 The Washington Post published a bi-partisan outline for immigration reform. Penned by Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Lindsay Graham (R-SC), the proposal rests on four pillars:

1) the requirement of “biometric Social Security cards to ensure that illegal workers cannot get jobs”;
2) “fulfilling and strengthening our commitments on border security and interior enforcement”;
3) the creation of “a process for admitting temporary workers”; and
4) the implementation of “a tough but fair path to legalization for those already here.”

For the last two years I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about immigration. I’ve done a good bit of research, I’ve traveled to the border, I’ve spoken with and interviewed scores of people including several undocumented migrants, and I’ve written a book about what I learned from my research, travel, and personal encounters with migrants (the book, which is being published by Westminster John Knox Press, is called Neighbor: Christian Encounters With “Illegal” Immigration; look for it in stores and online this summer).

Applying what I’ve learned while writing a book about immigration, I can say that Schumer and Graham’s plan is a mixed bag. I’m glad the process of serious immigration reform has begun, and I’m glad that it is bi-partisan so far, but I wish it were more practical and less political, which is to say that while some of the solutions the senators offer are really good, others are either immoral or they make no sense in the real world. Continue reading

Blog Returning Soon; My Name Dropped on Maddow; GObama!

I’ve finished my book (which doesn’t yet have a title), and I’ll be back on my blog soon. Meanwhile, check out this clip from a recent Rachel Maddow Show on which my named is dropped (it’s about 5:45 into the clip):

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Thanks to Jeff Sharlet for the name drop! By the way, his book is excellent. Go buy it.

And congratulations to President Obama for winning the Peace Prize. Regardless of political persuasion and regardless of how much we think he may or may not deserve the prize, now is a time to celebrate the accomplishments of a fellow American and to urge him on to greater acts of peacemaking.

Sermon From Foothill In Which I Talk About My Geneva Trip

Here’s the sermon I preached on June 7, 2009.  In this sermon I tell a story from my recent trip to Geneva. I hope you enjoy hearing this sermon as much as I enjoyed preaching it.

Rev. Ben Daniel Sermon June 7, 2009 from Foothill Presbyterian Church on Vimeo.

Click here to watch a video of the worship service in Geneva mentioned in the sermon.

In Support of Amendment 08-B

This column also ran on UPI’s Religion and Spirituality Forum.

On April 4, 2009 the Presbytery of San José voted 84-81 in favor of “Amendment 08-B,” a bit of ecclesiastical legislation that, if adopted by a majority of the 174 Presbyteries, or regional governing bodies, in the Presbyterian Church (USA), will lift the absolute and universal ban on the ordination of Gays and Lesbians in the largest Presbyterian body in the United States. I was one of sixteen presbyters chosen to speak on the amendment. Each of us had two minutes to speak our minds. Here’s what I said:
Continue reading