Last Thursday, the same day the Supreme Court issued a ruling on immigration, over 80 community members gathered at a taqueria in Grand Rapids, Mich., to celebrate the blessings of immigrants in their community and in the United States. The gathering was positive, hopeful, and empowering as community members from a variety of sectors shared the many ways they see immigrants contributing to the city, to congregations, and to the economy. But on that particular day we were also deeply discouraged as we were reminded of the brokenness of our immigration system and why this message is so important.
Our last scheduled speaker, a strong immigration advocate and DACA recipient herself, was not able to attend. Her parents are two of the 5 million individuals who would have received temporary relief from deportation and temporary work authorization under President Obamaâ€™s 2014 executive action on immigration. Her parents are undocumented and still without options. Our friend woke up that morning hoping for news of security, news that would take her family out of the shadows, but instead she found the Supreme Court reached a tie decision, preventing the program that would benefit her parents from moving forward. Her story reminded us all that policies have an impact on real peopleâ€”and we can never forget that. In light of the discouraging news, this gathering motivated all of us to share the reality about immigrantsâ€”they make our cities better, our congregations more vibrant, and our economy stronger. And thatâ€™s something worth celebrating!