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Sunday, April 23, 2006


As the U.S. Congress debates what to do about illegal immigration, Methobloggers Andy Bryan and John the Methodist have been having their own discussion on the pros and cons of immigration.

I don't have the answers; I don't know what policy would best serve both the U.S. interests and the people who would come here looking for a better life. But I offer this story of someone who was once an illegal alien, for whatever it is worth.

Pedro grew up in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. Like most Guatemalan families, his was poor. But Pedro had a dream, and was willing to sacrifice for it. He wanted to own a bus that he could use to drive tourists around Guatemala.

He was a hard worker, but could not find work that would pay him enough to finance his dream. So, he left his wife and young children in Guatemala, and headed north. He served for a while as a mercenary for the Mexican army. After his term was up he chose not to re-enlist, so he crossed the border into the United States, where he worked odd jobs and saved up as much as he possibly could. When he had enough money, he returned to his family in Guatemala, and bought his bus.

I met Pedro in the winter of 2000 when I went to Guatemala with United Methodist Volunteers in Mission. Pedro took us in his bus from the airport in Guatemala City to the mountain village of San Juan Cotzal, spent the week working with us, and drove us back to the airport.

On paper, Pedro would probably not have looked promising as an immigrant to the U.S. He was not highly educated, and he had no desire to become a U.S. citizen. He is not the type of person who could have easily gotten a green card.

Pedro came to the United States for a time because he saw an opportunity here, an opportunity that was not available to him in his home country.

Whatever policy Congress adopts regarding immigration, it ought to have provisions to help people like Pedro, who are simply trying to make a better life for their families. If there is work to be done, and people willing to do the work, we ought to open our borders enough to let them in.

And that's all I have to say about that.

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At 4/25/2006 9:00 PM, Anonymous Mike Tartar said...

Spoken like a true "Dump Runner"

_peace to you

At 4/27/2006 11:51 PM, Blogger BruceA said...

Mike! I haven't seen you in years. I hope life is treating you well.

At 5/01/2006 12:25 PM, Anonymous Lorna said...

loved the story :) thanks


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