Are you inspired to build a longer table? Or do you tend to find yourself in agreement with the push for building a higher, bigger wall? We all come to the immigration debate with differing perspectives, but at Average Advocate we all agree we were born to make a difference in the word based off of living justly and loving others.

But how does an everyday person do that when it comes to this social issue?

builder a longer table not a higher wall by radici studios

Build a Longer Table

I ran into this piece of art the other day and it deeply resonated with me. I felt like it expresses what I believe with excellence.

But before I lose you (if you disagree), let me share how this belief took root. My childhood was a constant back-and-forth over the Mexican-American border. Then, even when I’ve lived other places, I’ve always been privileged to meet and hear stories from those seeking amnesty, or who were refugees.

Considering, I am biased.

I’ve never really gotten the whole “border thing,” largely because I always lived beyond political borders (thanks mostly to my parents). And as a follower of Jesus (and the Bible), I continue to read how God wanted foreigners to be treated. Considering, I find it very confusing that many Americans–especially those who say they are Christians–tend to have a different, if not sometimes militant perspectives on this than I do.

But like I said, I am biased.

I also studied American immigration policy in college. Yep, the system is screwed up, but still highly fixable. However, I fear that most Americans would never take the time to be part of the solution because they are so strongly tied to a pro or anti-immigration ideology.

Naturally, we try to enforce our ideologies, and I am not immune to this. That is why I am willing to discuss this tension here. I want to be part of fixing injustice practically, in whichever way I can, even if the next steps I take feels far from the ideal.

At the same time I was studying United States Immigration policy, I was also taking a class on refugees. It was heart-breaking, along with my research in the years since then. The refugee crisis affects more people than ever before in history–those normal people like you & I are forced into horrific situations, trying to survive.

I’ve said this before, and I will say it again: refugees are you and I with different circumstances.

Refugee are you and I under different circumstances quote from Elisa Johnston

Build a Bigger Wall

On the other hand, I get the desire for safety and protection, the fear that drives the “build a wall” side. In a sense, it is a version of human rights, a territorialism or sorts.

The other day I was talking with my daughter about why she should protect herself (like I do regularly, concerning sexual exploitation) and how sometimes boundaries are necessary. I noticed that the words coming from my mouth sounded a lot like the arguments I hear people making about a border wall. Shouldn’t we protect what is ours? Isn’t that wise? A God-given responsibility?

My point is that there are multiple types of people who sincerely love others that are coming to the table here.

Build a Bigger Wall or Build a longer Table?

Now I realize most of us not be exactly fully on one side or another. For example, I’ve never met someone who wants to remove the borderline, or doesn’t want to note who is coming and who is going.

Really, what is up for debate is what legal immigration should look like:

  • Who can come?
  • Who can stay?
  • How long can they stay?

And through this, each of us everyday people also has a preference for how our actions, our words in media, and our enforcing of immigration (such as building a wall) looks. This is what we are considering.

So this is what I hope you consider and share with us:

  1. What is a loving and living justly look like regarding immigration and the refugee crisis?
  2. What can ordinary people do in this immigration mess to live justly and love others? Or do you have any examples or stories to share?

I want to hear your thoughts. Can you share with me yours on Instagram? Or write some ideas or share a video out that we can pass on to the Average Advocate tribe here.

Build a bigger wall or build a longer table quote for blog post on immigration

February Giveaway

For this month’s giveaway, I have one of the totes from Radici Studios with “Build a bigger table” on it for you (I guess my bias is coming out again, as I don’t have a “build a bigger wall” tote for you). Stay tuned on Instagram for that giveaway!

(And thanks to @wewelcomerefugees @espaciomigrante and @radicistudios, for getting me going on this topic).

If you also want to buy a poster, postcard, shirt, or bag with this image on it, head on over to Radici Studios.