loren Eric Swanson: Andy Bales and Immigration

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Andy Bales and Immigration

My good friend, Andy Bales sent me some of his thoughts on the immigrants of his LA community. Andy is the director of Union Rescue Mission in LA and has worked with homeless and those on the margins for years.

Faith and Reason

Deuteronomy 10:17-20

“For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe. He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner,(immigrant, alien, undocumented, day-laborer), giving him food and clothing. Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt. You shall fear the LORD your God. You shall serve him and hold fast to him, and by His name you shall swear.”

Exodus 12:48

“There shall be one law for the native and for the stranger(alien, sojourner, undocumented, day-laborer) among you.”

Matthew 25:34-40

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirst and you gave me drink, I was a stranger(alien, undocumented, day-laborer) and you welcomed me. I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirst and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger(day-laborer, alien, undocumented) and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you? And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

70% of my neighbors are undocumented. I am commanded by Jesus in Luke 10 regarding the Good Samaritan, to “love my neighbor”, this command is in the context of the Samaritans, a despised group of people, unwelcome, and unwelcome in the Temple, and Jesus said “love your neighbor”.


I heard people on the radio this week laughing at the thought of “illegal aliens” paying taxes. It broke my heart. The undocumented that I know pay every tax that we pay except possibly federal and state income taxes and many do pay income tax through a special ITIN number provision in hopes of some day becoming a citizen. They pay property taxes through rent payments, sales taxes on everything they buy, gas taxes, motel taxes, and those who use false Social Security numbers even buoy our Social Security System at the rate of $7.5 Billion per year, and they will never collect one penny of this. Folks complain that they cost our welfare system $3 Billion per year in California but according to a Federal Reserve report, they actually boost our overall economy by $100 Billion per year with their participation in agriculture, food industry, construction, etc.

Both the US economy and the economy of Mexico rests on the backs of these hard working people, as undocumented immigrants send $18 Billion dollars a year back to Mexico to their relatives. This is the second biggest industry in Mexico next to Oil, and we want to build a bigger wall.

What surprises me most is the Religious’ Right’s attitude toward the undocumented, because my undocumented neighbors have the very same family values, work ethic, anti-abortion view as those on the right. They bring to America what the Right says is needed.

This is part of my faith and my reason in speaking up for my undocumented neighbors.


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