Thanks Jesús For This Food. De Nada.

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"#TRUTH Nuestra gente, truth" are the words these captioned photos were described with as I first came across it on the "Latino Rebels" facebook page. I'm not sure where these photos or captions originated (please say so in the comments if you know), but as I write this the Latino Rebels post has 30,749 likes and 27,505 shares.

Until I find the genius who put these two photos together with that caption, I'll comment on how much #truth there is here.
At the most basic level this is about how 75% of the U.S.'s agricultural workforce is undocumented. Nativists can rail against unauthorized migration all they want, they are a part of it every time that they consume fresh produce. Also, contrary to most nativist beliefs, for the vast majority of low-skilled agricultural workers without close family in the U.S., there is currently no legal way for them to migrate. H2-A visas are so cumbersome, provide such a small fraction of the visas necessary, and are so rife with abuse, that they might as well not be considered an option, at all. It's hard to think of an industry that is more in need of immigration reform. This is probably why AgJOBs is consistently one of the most popular pieces of immigration legislation in Congress.

This Sunday, I want to speak about another #truth in this photo caption, though, namely that interaction with least among us is Sacred. As it relates to this photo, it isn't just that Jesús Fulano as a migrant worker puts food on the tables of all U.S. families, it is that we can see the face of Jesus Christ, or God, or Truth, or Justice (whatever your belief system is) in migrant workers like Jesús Fulano. This idea is deeply woven into Christianity, and religious traditions the world over, but since this photo is about Jesús, I'll point to Jesús's own words. In Matthew Chapter 25, Jesus speaks about what will happen to the righteous on Judgement Day:

"Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world, for...I was a stranger and you welcomed me..." Then the righteous will answer him, "Lord...when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you?"...And [the Lord] will answer them, "Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me."
Matthew 25:34,35b,37,40


Biblical scholars tend to agree that the word stranger applies very well to our contemporary concept of migrants, and I picked that out of many examples Jesus gives of the least among us, or the oppressed, in scripture.

I'm reluctant to get so preachy, here, not because I'm ashamed of my Catholicism, but mostly because many of the people I'm trying to reach close their minds when they hear talk of God or of Religion. My generation tends to think of Religion as a trick their parents invented to keep them in line. Good luck getting anyone to submit to organized religion in this time of secular individualism,when everyone likes to pick and choose, like consumers, the equivalent of a spiritual buffet, at great risk of just reproducing the shadows of their own souls. Even a good portion Christians who consider the Word above to be Sacred, conveniently ignore or interpret it for their own purposes, a tendency we are all guilty of and must constantly guard against.

The worst part of all of the above is that my feeble being is incapable of ever fully understanding the Truth, much less communicate it to others. I can only hope that others, recognizing we are all imperfect, see the value there is in participating in traditions that are thousands of years old. I am speaking not just their words, but the practices and communities that have evolved around them, and how their is so much wisdom, health, and happiness to be gained from them.

I hope that huge caveat opens people up to me saying that it is sacred to interact with the least among us. Whether you consider yourself among the least or among the privileged, there is Truth among the salt and dust of the earth.

I'll end by asking folks here on Citizen Orange if they mind me taking a religious bent to my writing at least once a week, probably on Sundays. I think another reason I've been having trouble writing here is that I've been trying to compartmentalize my religious wanderings from my pro-migrant writing. I'll probably continue to post strictly religious writing on the blog Catholic Orange, but at least once a week I'd like to approach my pro-migrant blogging from a faith perspective.

UPDATE: Braam Hanekom, Director of People Against Suffering Oppression and Poverty (PASSOP) in South Africa, who embodies pro-migrant global solidarity better than anyone I know, writes on his facebook page inspired by this post:

Some similarities between undocumented labour in South Africa and USA. Do South Africans know that much of the food that we eat is farmed by Zimbabweans, at usually R60 ($7.5) a day or less? Many South Africans are unwilling to work on farms and put up with terrible working conditions. The minium wages need to be increased but government is afraid of the price of food going up.


There are few greater compliments than when my pro-migrant musings inspired by North America have relevance for those fighting the good fight on other continents. !Que vivan los migrantes de Sudáfrica!

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This page contains a single entry by kyledeb published on January 14, 2012 8:04 PM.

Cecilia Muñoz Gets Promoted, Another 1000 People Get Deported was the previous entry in this blog.

Vulture Capitalism Creates 'Illegal Immigration' is the next entry in this blog.

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