Kinship Across Borders

Kinship Across Borders: A Christian Ethic of Immigration

Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 208
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Kinship Across Borders
    Book Description:

    The failure of current immigration policies in the United States has resulted in dire consequences: a significant increase in border deaths, a proliferation of smuggling networks, prolonged family separation, inhumane raids, a patchwork of local ordinances criminalizing activities of immigrants and those who harbor them, and the creation of an underclass-none of which are appropriate or just outcomes for those holding Christian commitments. Kinship Across Borders analyzes contemporary US immigration in the context of fundamental Christian beliefs about the human person, sin, family life, and global solidarity. Kristin Heyer expertly demonstrates how current US immigration policies reflect harmful neoliberal economic priorities, and why immigration cannot be reduced to security or legal issues alone. Rather, she explains that immigration involves a broad array of economic issues, trade policies, concerns of cultural tolerance and criminal justice, and, at root, an understanding of the human person. In Kinship Across Borders, Heyer has developed a Christian immigration ethic-grounded in scriptural, anthropological, and social teachings and rooted in the experiences of undocumented migrants-that calls society to promote concrete practices and policies reflecting justice and solidarity.

    eISBN: 978-1-58901-931-7
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-7)

    This testimony of an undocumented college student illuminates the impossible choices the contemporary immigration impasse foists upon residents in the United States, even those lucky enough to pursue higher education. In this brief account, questions of earned citizenship and violent enforcement tactics take on flesh and blood. I will not soon forget the stories of women I sat with in 2009 at Casa Nazaret in Nogales, Sonora (Mexico), who had been likewise separated from their families in the other direction: One had agreed to send her toddler daughter ahead “first class,” while her smuggler assured her they would meet up...

  5. CHAPTER ONE Christian Anthropology and the De-humanization of Immigrants
    (pp. 8-34)

    Since fortification escalated along the United States–Mexico border in the mid-1990s, deaths of border crossers have occurred at a rate of at least one every twenty-four hours, amounting to a humanitarian crisis that shows little sign of receding.¹ In spite of the economic downturn and drops in both migrant crossers and apprehensions toward the end of the first decade of the twenty-first century, deaths increased. In 2010 the Arizona desert claimed a record 252 lives; due to similar death rates across the southern Mexican border, Chiapas has been described as a “cemetery without a cross.”² Since the early 1990s,...

  6. CHAPTER TWO Social Sin and Inhospitality to Immigrants
    (pp. 35-60)

    As chapter 1’s examples illustrate, casualties of unjust immigration policies and practices include a significant increase in border deaths and smuggling networks, prolonged family separation, and the creation of an underclass.¹ By contrast, commitments to welcoming the vulnerable and fostering solidarity in light of common human dignity ground a Christian immigration ethic, manifest in pastoral care and social services for immigrant populations and advocacy for humane immigration reform. As the discussion of nativism and more subtle forms of nationalism highlights, many US citizens, Christians included, remain ambivalent about—if not resistant to—an ethic that urges hospitality and mercy for...

  7. CHAPTER THREE Domestic Church and Threats Facing Immigrant Families
    (pp. 61-98)

    Whereas scholars and politicians frequently frame immigration as a security or economic issue, families and households confront and channel the diverse impacts of migration.¹ Chapter 3 draws upon Christian social ethics and feminist ethics to illuminate immigration as a family issue, indicating how a backlash in family-based immigration policies, traumatic enforcement mechanisms, and gender-based assault threaten families’ well-being with social consequences. The impact of immigration policies and procedures on women, children, and families exposes ways in which unjust structures—aggravated by facilitating ideologies, as suggested in chapter 2—undermine the sanctity of the family and endanger the common good. Reflecting...

  8. CHAPTER FOUR Global Solidarity and the Immigration Paradigm
    (pp. 99-133)

    The experiences profiled in chapter 3 bring to light the impact that unconstrained neoliberal policies and inadequate immigration procedures have on women and families, in particular. These mounting threats indicate the deficiencies of an immigration paradigm centered on national interest, expediency, or economic efficiency. Despite the migrant-centered locus of enforcement and common misconceptions about why people migrate outside of regular channels, undocumented migration is connected to complex global dynamics. Contextualizing immigration patterns in broader political and economic arenas sheds light on the transnational actors and international forces at play, including the roles those in the United States play in pushing...

  9. CHAPTER FIVE Civic Kinship and Subversive Hospitality: A Christian Immigration Ethic
    (pp. 134-172)

    Following nafta’s failure to deliver returns on Mexican development, the consequent surge in irregular migration was met with an apprehensive-to-hostile reception amid an increasingly divisive political landscape. The events of September 11, 2001, played a role in diverting a binational path heading toward positive reforms at the time. The George W. Bush administration was attempting to build bipartisan support around guest worker and earned amnesty program proposals, and Mexican President Vicente Fox pledged to combat illegal trafficking and migration through and from his country. Following September 11, these initiatives came to a halt and congressional and administrative efforts turned toward...

    (pp. 173-190)
  11. INDEX
    (pp. 191-198)