My heartfelt congratulations to Bishop Anthony Taylor, the Bishop of Little Rock, Arkansas. He has just joined with the Methodists and the Baptists in his state in an intiative called Gospel Without Borders. It is a documentary produced by a divisive of the Baptist Center for Ethics and funded by a grant from the United Methodist Foundation of Arkansas. The documentary portrays how members of these three churches are trying to help immigrants who are all victims of the same injustice. We see all this together and will accomplish far more if they work together. The video focuses on the Scriptural mandate of Jesus common to all Christians.
The bishop has sent a copy of Gospel Without Borders to all the parishes in Arkansas. Regretfully, I have not seen the documentary myself yet, but I feel confident that it will produce a great deal of good across the State of Arkansas. What excites me even more than the production of this useful tool on behalf of justice is the bringing together, in a very concrete and organized way, of the religious leaders across the state in order to speak with one voice on the retractable issue that is not about to go away in the near future.
We constantly hear the figure that there are 12 million illegal people living in the United States at the present time. The largest portion of them are Hispanics from Central and South America. These workers are obviously needed for many sectors of our economy. There is, at the same time, an increasing hostility towards undocumented immigrants as manifested by the recent enactment in Alabama of the most restrictive law to date on the question of immigration. Happily, Archbishop Thomas Rodi, of Mobile, has joined the U.S. Department of Justice in opposing this law.
The United States has a right to make every effort to control its own borders, but once people are here, settled in, are productive and needed in the economy we need to be very careful on how we attempt to resolve this situation.