Exodus 2009

Ex. 1:8-14, 22

A new king, who knew nothing of Joseph, came to power in Egypt.
He said to his subjects, “Look how numerous and powerful
the people of the children of Israel are growing, more so than we ourselves!
Come, let us deal shrewdly with them to stop their increase;
otherwise, in time of war they too may join our enemies
to fight against us, and so leave our country.”

Accordingly, taskmasters were set over the children of Israel
to oppress them with forced labor.
Thus they had to build for Pharaoh
the supply cities of Pithom and Raamses.
Yet the more they were oppressed,
the more they multiplied and spread.
The Egyptians, then, dreaded the children of Israel
and reduced them to cruel slavery,
making life bitter for them with hard work in mortar and brick
and all kinds of field work—the whole cruel fate of slaves.

Pharaoh then commanded all his subjects,
“Throw into the river every boy that is born to the Hebrews,
but you may let all the girls live.”

Exodus Revisited (2009) or We Never Seem to Learn

A new president who knew little about the contributions of the undocumented workers to the economy was elected to office. Listening to constituents who fear those who are different from themselves, the president told his advisers, “The number of ‘illegal’ [They are very legal; they are not documented.] Hispanic workers is increasing. They are coming here in droves and bringing their families. They are having more children while they are here. They are crowding into our hospital emergency rooms and getting free medical care. They are crowding into our schools and getting free education.They are taking jobs from American workers. They are overwhelming our local resources. We must crack down on these ‘illegal’ immigrants before they take over our country. Hispanics represent the fastest growing minority group in America and soon they will be the majority if we do not take drastic measures.”

Accordingly, the Department of Homeland Security cracked down. They raided chicken processing plants, factories, construction sites,  and farms across the nation, rounded up the workers, held them in confinement in overcrowded detention facilities, and eventually deported them back to their native countries. In many cases this separated children, who having been born here were American citizens, from their parents.

Elected officials riding the tide of popular opinion and wanting to be reelected, turned deaf ears to pleas for just treatment for undocumented workers.  The members of Congress readily endorsed the crackdown. Some even called for harsher treatment of these immigrants. In addition, they appropriated billions to secure our borders—fences, walls and electronic detection devices. The defense contractors were elated. Another bonanza had come their way.

Some Americans dreaded the Hispanic immigrants—documented or not. They looked down on them. Police officials racially profiled them. Many landed in jail on fraudulent charges because they could not afford legal representation.

Fearing the heavy handed government action, many undocumented workers quietly fled back to their home countries. Those who stayed walked about in constant fear of being detained. Crops went unharvested. As the economy went from bad to worse, the undocumented workers became the scapegoats for disgruntled Americans.

The president advised his cabinet, “The raids are working. Border security has been enhanced. Fewer and fewer are getting into the country. We are riding our country of this problem.”

Does the president realize that there may be a Moses waiting in the wings? God hears the cry of the poor and the oppressed and always has. Are there people who will have the courage to endorse just immigration reform and bring an end to this madness? Or, will what goes around comes around so that America will have to face the consequences (the plagues) of its actions and the treatment of the aliens among us? “What you have done to the least of these, you have done to Me.” We are really no better than how we treat the least among us.

Leave a Reply