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Crossing the Divide on Immigration

November 5, 2018

By Sue Carman, Trinity Parishioner  “The immigration debate has created a deep divide that we must resolve,” asserts Ali Noorani, Executive Director of National Immigration Forum where he is an innovative political strategist and coalition builder. “The polarization of our country is deeper and sharper than we imagine,” he continued, “creating fear, anxiety, hated and the othering of immigrants and refugees.” Yet, Noorani asserts that the issues facing immigration today in the United States are not a challenge — they are an opportunity. 

Noorani contends that the solution can be found in conversations with people and groups “if we are curious, if we respect each other, we can work together toward a better approach on immigration.”  And he believes that faith communities can contribute to this discourse by engaging in the conversation.

He believes that all Americans come from a core belief of wanting the best for the country, regardless of their disparate views toward immigration that range from integration to isolation.  He points out that many prejudices are rooted in the fear of losing one’s identity in a rapidly changing society. He vividly describes his work helping communities meet these challenges in There Goes the Neighborhood:How Communities Overcome Prejudice and Meet the Challenge of American Immigration, published in 2017. 

By focusing on shared values and goals, he contends that diverse populations can find common sense solutions. Only through real relationships can we develop trust and understanding of each others’ fears.  Then, we “can challenge policy makers to become their better selves.” 

Hear Ali Noorani give the keynote address at Love Thy Neighbor: Equity in Immigration, the 4thAnnual Anne Berry Bonnyman Symposium, on Saturday morning, Nov. 10 at Trinity Church. To register for the Saturday speaker and discussion groups, go to bit.ly/2018BonnymanSymposium