Gerson Cardona’s sister had to leave the United States. Gerson’s sister was born in Guatemala but was brought to this country illegally when she was only months old. This little girl had no choice in the matter. Adults made decisions that impacted her life. For some time this past year Gerson was asking us to pray for his sister, now 26 years of age. It seems that her illegal status had caught up with her. The Immigration Department had discovered that the young woman had no citizenship, no green card, no visa. She was scheduled to be deported this year back to her homeland. For over two decades all this lady had known was life in the U. S. Suddenly, just as she thought she had to leave America, President Obama gave amnesty to young, illegal immigrants in an election year, Rose Garden speech.
Whatever we may think about the illegal immigration debate, our generous American spirit, hearing the story of this young woman, is stirred to keep her on our side of the border. We are a nation of immigrants. Our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents came from South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. We are each proud of our heritage. We hang flags in our homes that remind us of our roots but we fly the stars and stripes at the top of the flagpole. We enjoy each others’ music, food, and entertainment however we all love this country.
But then, according to an L.A. Times editorial, the President crossed the line. Obama said these young people “are Americans in their heart, in their minds, in every single way but one: on paper.” In response, Michael McGough wrote in the editorial,
“U.S. citizenship isn’t just a ‘piece of paper’, a mere formality. Obama trivializes an attribute cherished by Americans and sought after by millions of people brought here by their parents. Legalizing longtime immigrants is defensible. But it’s an exception to the rule. The rule is, citizenship is a precious commodity, not just squatter’s rights.”
I’m sure that most listening to my voice join me in celebrating Gerson’s sister being able to stay in America. My good friend Gerson is thrilled. He agrees with me that to be an American citizen is a privilege, what the L.A. Times reporter called ‘a precious commodity, not just squatter’s rights.’ Gerson has recently become a chaplain volunteer for the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. He will be a bi-lingual interpreter, riding along with police officers in the Hispanic community. Gerson and his sister do not take America for granted; their good fortune to live in this country is anything but trivial. Together we celebrate our citizenship, looking for ways to give back to a land which has given so much to us. For Moody Radio this is Dr. Mark Eckel, personally seeking truth wherever it’s found.
Mark is proud to serve with Gerson at Crossroads Bible College, German and Guatemalan ancestry, respectively. Dr. Mark Eckel is V. P. of Academic Affairs and Director of Interdisciplinary Studies. This audio-blog will be aired on Moody Radio in August, 2012.