Welcoming Immigrants

An Associated Press article by Hope Yen ( July 13, 2011) on the topic of immigration is well worth highlighting.   The latest census data show that children  (under 18) represent 24% of the U. S. population, falling below the previous low of 26% in 1990 (in 1900 the share of children was 40%).  This trend is present in most of the developed world, with nations like Japan, France, Germany and Canada recording lower percentages.  With the prospect of decreasing numbers of young people working and increasing numbers of retirees, developed nations will have escalating problems paying for the needs of seniors.

Fareed Zakaria (editor of Newsweek International) writes that immigration is one of the strengths of the U. S. A. since immigrants have larger families and since immigrants and foreign students are 50% of all science researchers (helping to establish many start-up companies).   Suspicious and hostile attitudes towards immigrants are self-defeating (the kind of attitudes which have fueled anti-immigration efforts in Arizona and other
states).  New immigration has always been the lifeblood of this country, so Lady Liberty welcomes them with these words:  Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to be free…  I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

I arrived in the U. S. A. in 1974 at J. F. K. International Airport and saw Lady Liberty smiling at me.  I have always felt a warm welcome from Americans and became a citizen a
few years later because I was proud to call this country my new home.   It is my hope that all immigrants receive a warm welcome – not only because it is in our self-interest to do so, but because it is the right way to treat the newcomer.  The Bible is very liberal in its attitude towards immigrants (Exodus 22:21, Leviticus 19:34, and Hebrews 13:2).

(This was the text of a letter to the editor of my local newspaper, The Sun Chronicle.)

About John Fisk

I am a retired pastor, who served churches in New England for 33 years. I emigrated to the USA from England in 1974 and completed two graduate degrees in theology and pastoral practice at Andover-NewtonTheological School. In retirement I am focused on the teaching of Christian meditation, providing spiritual guidance, leading retreats and occasional preaching. I am particularly interested in contemplation, the mystical path and social justice.
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