Howdy from the Great State of Texas…

In the midst of events in San Antonio at their amazing book festival and meetings with business leaders, I authored an op-ed for the San Antonio Express News that included:

As warmer weather arrives and talk about building a border wall heats up, we would do well to remember the response of faith leaders and everyday Texans when unaccompanied migrant children fled the Northern Triangle, made their way through Mexico, and turned themselves in to Customs and Border Patrol officers.

At a moment when some were quick to jump to conclusions and lead many to believe that young children huddled in foil blankets were a threat, Texans led by example, volunteering to take the youth into their homes. Donations poured in. Mayors of communities near the border called for solutions. Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley opened a Humanitarian Respite Center in McAllen; it remains open today.

Houston shows that integration is a two-way street. Immigrants change themselves and change their communities. Some communities are comfortable with that change in identity, some struggle with it, and some are completely opposed. The tension can be resolved through the prism of one’s faith, as we saw with David Fleming and Champion Forest Baptist Church

For Tameez, it was the hyphen: “We have this hyphen. It is one thing that says we can have dual identities. We can be American and Hispanic. We can be American and Jewish. We can be American and Muslim. We can be anything hyphen American.” Of course, a hyphen alone will not ensure all jobs go to native-born Americans. Nor will a hyphen reduce the anger in someone’s blood when he believes an immigrant, or someone he believes is an immigrant, is accessing a public benefit without paying taxes.

President and CEO of National Immigration Forum and America is Better, author of There Goes the Neighborhood, host of the podcast, Only in America.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store