Monday, September 20, 2010

Undocumented immigrants: signs of hope

Three interesting developments:

1.  I was struck by this Sunday's public observation by Colin Powell on NBC's "Meet the Press" that undocumented workers have worked on his house (transcript). This recognition, following on George W. Bush's efforts on immigration (out of step with Republicans then, and off the charts now), might go far to set this conversation on a bi-partisan, pragmatic footing.

2.  The NYTimes, on the front page, has an article on the thus-far-quiet Mormon support for immigrants.  This support has been made public by the editorial stance of The Deseret News (Salt Lake City), leading to some lively pushback from its readers.  Like the Catholic Church, support for immigrants in LDS country -- inspired by large numbers, in this case, of Spanish-speaking converts -- comes largely from the top of the institution, and clashes with the broadly conservative social sensibilities of the most fervent rank-and-file members. 

3.  Taking up the question from the perspective of Jesuit higher education, I note that Fairfield University's Center for Faith and Public Life has just made this announcement, that the

Ford Foundation has awarded Fairfield University's Center for Faith and Public Life a $200,000 2-year grant to implement a mixed-methods research study in collaboration with Santa Clara University and Loyola University Chicago to survey and understand the legal and social contexts, attitudes and current practices in Jesuits schools of higher education in the United States regarding undocumented students.

Taking as its starting point the Catholic search for the common good, the results of this study will be used to strategize ways to meet the needs of these students, particularly at the 28 U.S. Jesuit colleges and universities.