Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Anchor Baby Revolution

I held a one week old baby boy tonight. He is perfectly beautiful and I was instantly in love. He’s just a little guy, weighing in at just over 6 pounds. He has all this hair and likes to pucker his big lips. His name is JJ and he is what many sadly refer to as an “anchor baby”.

You see, his mother is a 15 year old girl from Central America who upon finding out she was pregnant decided to make the dangerous journey to the US. She is an illegal immigrant.

As I was holding JJ I thought about how innocent he is. I thought about how happy he must make Jesus, laying there in his purest form, untouched by the darkness of the world. I thought about what it will be like for him to grow up and the hardships he will surely face being a child of an immigrant.

Then I thought about the new life he must bring to his mom. This young girl comes from a place infested with violence, poverty and corruption. She has lived more life and seen more devastation in her 15 years than most do in a lifetime.

I hate that many in our country (including far too many in our Church) will never see past the law breaking act of crossing the border to have her baby. I hate that there will be people who think she is manipulative, selfish and wants nothing more than to live off the benefits of having an American Citizen child. Many things will be assumed about her while very few people actually try to get to know her. I hate that many will not see her innocence or her pure intent. I hate that many will not realize how selfless she actually is. I hate that her heroic act of traveling 2000 miles, alone and pregnant, just so that her baby won’t have to worry about being kidnapped and trafficked by the gangs or know what it feels like to slowly starve to death, will go unnoticed.

I don’t want to suggest that anyone who is pregnant should be able to come here and I don’t mean to over emotionalize our current Immigration situation. I also don't want to perpetuate the idea that it is common for immigrants to come unlawfully just to give birth to so called "anchor babies": in reality, 91& of undocumented immigrants who give birth in the U.S. have already been present in the U.S. for more than two years. I simply want to remind us that there are beating hearts behind this issue. There are people like JJ and his mom who want nothing more than to live a life of dignity. I want us to ask ourselves the difficult questions. I want us to see JJ and his mom and think about what it would look like to love them well. I want us to think about the millions more who were not as lucky as JJ. I want us to consider our part in loving those who have crossed our borders while figuring out our role in the transformation that needs to happen in the places people are coming from. This issue calls for more than new policy; it calls for an army of Christians who are ready to fight poverty and corruption with peace and love. As believers, I don’t think we can complain about the drain JJ and his mom might be on our economy while we do nothing to address the reasons they are here in the first place.

Sometimes I feel hopeless because I know we have such a long way to go.

But then I remember who our God is.

I remember that when Jesus looks at JJ and his mom, He does not see an illegal immigrant and her anchor baby. He sees His son and daughter who He loves with all His heart and who He was willing to die for. I can’t help but hope for the kind of revolution that would occur if we were all more like Christ in this way.