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READ. Hispanic immigrants in MS, AL, AR, GA, etc. were lured/enticed by poultry industry in 1990s so we could have cheap chicken. As African-American Labor rose/organized, big poultry and Ag needed cheap labor. Small Southern towns became immigrant towns. washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/0…
2) This was part of my work for the past several years - traversing the Deep South and investigating, interviewing, and encouraging ministry in these small Southern towns reshaped by poultry and immigrant labor. The stories are all the same. So, when the backlash started with ...
3) ... the financial collapse of 2007-08, the mass immigrant marches for reform in 2006, the election of Obama in 2008, and the Rise of the Tea Party in 2009, new immigrants to the South were cast as scapegoats for all that was wrong. It was a lie, but it took hold.
4) Sen. Jeff Sessions visited Albertville, Alabama, a poultry town, in the 2000s and his anti-immigrant bias was confirmed. The 2006 Pro-Immigration marches created backlash and mobilized anti-immigrant forces in the South to do something. amazon.com/s?k=9780820329…
5) Tea Party led charge against immigration reform in early 2010s, shifting from primarily focusing on growing debt/taxes to opposing illegal immigration also. It was also Backlash to growing Hispanic pop. of Deep South that fueled this. This mvmnt became Trump’s base in 2015.
6) In many ways, we have Trump because of cheap chicken. Trump began campaign by pressing buttons of ancient white fear of the other in the South through characterizing Hispanic immigrants as a threat to their “way of life.” He did this all over, but it hit a nerve in the South.
7) Main focus of our ministry in Montgomery was Mixtec migrants from Southern Mexico. When NAFTA opened trade for corn from US Agribusiness, it collapsed rural Mexican corn market, sending Ag workers north looking for work. US Ag wanted their cheap labor. en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mixtec_tr…
8) I can take you to small towns all over Alabama and Georgia that are utterly dependent on immigrant labor. You can’t build a house or church building in Montgomery w/out immigrant work crews. You can’t eat tomatoes or chicken w/out immigrant labor. Chick-Fil-A would not exist.
9) Thing is, all those immigrant workers who came from Mexico and Guatemala 20 years ago to work in our plants and pick our tomatoes and roof our houses - they stayed. And we let them. They brought young children who are now in legal limbo. They had babies who are US citizens.
10) We benefitted from the immigrants who came here. But now b/c of white fear of replacement, politicians grasping power, and greed/corruption, mass deportation of parents and families is considered a viable option. Considering all this, I believe that response to be immoral.
11) We need a better way than mass deportation, which is a restitution-based approach to legalization to rectify wrongs over past 30 years. I would favor employers paying restitution as well. Southern Baptists spoke clearly to this in 2011 and 2018. sbc.net/resolutions/22…
12) Instead of deporting people who were lured or forced to come here to survive, we allow them to pay restitution and stay, provided they work, pay taxes, learn English, continue to contribute. And, churches, their employers, and community orgs help them with all of that.
13) As a conservative evangelical Christian, I believe we need to find ways to BUILD UP communities and families instead of tear down. We need to recognize our part in this and how we’ve benefited. We can’t unscramble eggs back to pre-1990. These are people. We need to fix this.
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