Numerous humanitarian crises in Central America and Mexico, war and violence in the Middle East, indigenous oppression and land theft across the global south – these are the reasons people move. No one wants to leave their homeland, but if they don’t, there’s a good chance they will not only suffer enormous deprivations, but are at risk of losing their lives altogether. Immigrants would rather risk death on the road, imprisonment and detention upon arrival, discrimination and social violence in their new home and will even sell themselves and their families to try to find what amounts to a marginally better life. Before Anglo-Europeans like me think this is not our problem, not our shared story, we need to take a look at our own families’ immigration stories. We are not indigenous to this land. We came here from somewhere else. My own family came in the 19th century. They were small farmers and day laborers who had little plots of land in northeast Holland and Germany. Blight and the inability to compete with the burgeoning U.S. grain industry created the need to find a better life. This is the story my whole family shares with campesinos who are displaced by global market forces to which they have no access and with which it is impossible to compete.
-Rev. Debra Avery