Justice will on occasion march, on other occasions protest and yet on other occasions sing but Justice will always speak for those that cannot speak for themselves. In the past two weeks, Lady Justice has risen in favor of a community stranded in the shadows , held captive by polarizing rhetoric and sacrificed on the altar of political expediency; America's undocumented.
By striking down the major provisions of SB 1070, Lady Justice via the conduit of the Supreme Court of the United States affirmed the values that make this nation great and in essence initiated the process of establishing a legal firewall against draconian measures as it pertains to immigration.
The question at hand is whether the state has the right to violate the civil and human rights of individuals under the guise of "the rule of law." Arizona's measure and other attempts to usurp fundamental human rights required our highest court to intervene. Although a provision regarding proof of citizenship still stands in question, the court's decision conveys a clear message that 21st century jurisprudence will not tolerate measures that polarize and segregate our communities.
We persistently confront the dysfunction of our current immigration legal system, a system that mocks the rule of law; only selectively enforces laws against both immigrant workers and employers; invites unjust working conditions, and even human trafficking; divides families through deportation and backlogs for lawful family reunification; and stifles the full flourishing of people made in God’s image.
- Rev. Samuel Rodriguez
This of course comes at the heels of President Obama's announcement providing a de facto pathway to legalization for children, youth and young adults who stand as collateral damage in the war between broken promises and demagoguery.
Yet the question arises, will Lady Justice continue to speak on behalf of those that cannot speak for themselves? For in the absence of immigration reform, millions of immigrants live in fear of being separated from their families.
As we minister to the immigrants in their midst, we persistently confront the dysfunction of our current immigration legal system, a system that mocks the rule of law; only selectively enforces laws against both immigrant workers and employers; invites unjust working conditions, and even human trafficking; divides families through deportation and backlogs for lawful family reunification; and stifles the full flourishing of people made in God’s image.
To that respect, Justice will not, better yet, cannot be silent.
Justice demands that as a nation we rise above the political fray. Justice requires us to reconcile the rule of law with a compassionate process of integration for those that have come with a pure purpose of providing for their families a better tomorrow. Justice is not amnesty. Justice secures the border, stops illegal immigration but also builds a bridge where the undocumented can pay fines and begin a process of fully embracing the American dream.
It's time for both Republicans and Democrats to embrace the heart of Lady Justice and pass comprehensive immigration reform. It's time for President Obama and Governor Romney to both agree that justice requires a federal solution to a political problem with moral ramifications.
Finally, in the past two weeks, Lady Justice spoke loud and clear; the dreams of all children stand worthy of protection and it's up to Uncle Sam to fine a just solution; all in the name of justice.
For at the end of the day, the Gospel of Matthew states it best, "Blessed are those that hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall be filled. The past few days have begun to quench the thirst.
Rev. Samuel Rodriguez is President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.