The Good, the Bad, and the Not Great

“….otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.” – Isaiah 6:10

We need healing from our immigration battles. Healing may mean to help America be good again, rather than great again. And face into the possibility that we were never as good as our hopes.

When Ravi Ragbir, the executive director of the New York City Sanctuary Movement, was in the Orange County Detention system … Ravi, whose so-called crime happened nearly two decades ago, a crime for which he did time … and Ravi, who has had no crimes since whatsoever … when he was in the detention center, had to have a guard in the bathroom with him every time he used the toilet. That was not a great experience for him or for this great country.

Nobody wants fully open borders. Nobody really knows what qualifies as an optimal or more just than not immigration system. Canada’s is pretty good, by the way, and of course not perfect.

Nobody wants criminals coming into the US. (Immigrants have less the criminal records than non-immigrants, by the way.)

What we need is a good immigration policy, not a great or cruel one.

This greatness thing has gone too far. We are so not willing to look at how cruel we can be. We are blind to our own “stuff.” We have “issues.” But we are coming out of denial about how distorted things have become. We are beginning to see with our heart. Maybe we can be healed. Maybe not.

Every American has priors of some kind or another. Every American has done our time. That doesn’t mean we are bad, so much as incomplete.


Bring us to seeing from our heart, O God, and grant us and those stranded some practical peace.

ddauthordonnaschaper.jpgAbout the Author
Donna Schaper is Senior Minister at Judson Memorial Church in New York City. Her most recent book is I Heart Frances: Letters to the Pope from an Unlikely Admirer.