The Gay Vegans

No human being is illegal

“I knew it! The Gay Vegans support illegals!”

“I hope you know you support people taking our jobs.”

“They are welcome but need to come in how my family did.”

“F**k them.”

The photo here is of a group of immigrants from Ireland in 1909. A few years after this photo was taken my grandfather made the journey to America from County Mayo, Ireland, joining his sister who had come over first. It wasn’t easy. Much of the vile expressed towards immigrants these days was expressed towards them and other Irish when they arrived. And just like today, many immigrants coming into this country in the early 1900s did not have legal documents.

I recently saw a tee shirt being sold by one of my favorite bands, Rise Against, as a fundraiser for one of my favorite non-profits, the ACLU. The front of the tee is the Rise Against logo and on the back a simple statement: No Human is Illegal.

The news is horrifying, especially if you are living in the US without legal documents. This could mean you were brought here as a child by parents or grandparents and only know the US as your home, or you came here twenty years ago on a visa with limited time and decided to stay. Meanwhile, you worked, paid taxes, became part of the economy and community here. Then, preparing for your appointment with immigration, you find out that the appointment is to detain you and begin the process of deporting you. Not your four children who were born here, just you.

Because you are an illegal alien. You are not just illegal, you’re an illegal alien. Except that you’re not from Mars, you’re from Gambia. Or El Salvador.

Some Americans veins pop when discussing people here without legal documents. This is one reason so many voted for the current President. They are vile. They are heathens. They are godless. They do not hold “my” Christian values. They are taking jobs that my son or granddaughter should have. Some do not think of them as neighbors or human beings, nor do they think real numbers like the estimated $12 billion a year they add to Social Security, knowing they will not reap a penny of that. By the way, that number came from the Social Security Administration in 2014.

I would love it if the entire conversation about immigrants here without legal documents was toned down a bit. It’s horrifying watching people, especially people of faith demonize human beings who are living, working, loving and adding to our communities in so many positive ways.As one who believes we all have more in common than not, there has to be common space for all of us.

What I can do today is to let my representatives in the state house and the US Capitol know that I support all immigrants. That deporting someone who has lived here for years makes no sense, and is in fact not how our country treats people. For the few immigrants who have committed crimes, sure, some of them should be deported. Yet time after time others get caught in the web of “criminals”. And for goodness sake, do not demonize human beings in my name.

I know this is a tough topic for many. It’s one that will be around for a long time. Let’s talk about it without demonizing immigrants or each other.

Thanks for reading!

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