Guest Blog by Andrew Means As a policy student at The Harris School of Public Policy at The University of Chicago, I spend most of my day studying the economics and politics of policy. I could give you an economic analysis of illegal immigration and the effect legalization would have on the U.S. economy. I could present rational, political reasons why certain members of Congress vote one way or another in favor of legalized immigration. But what I cannot tell you is a story about an illegal immigrant. In the world of policy it is easy to forget that policy affects people. It’s certainly not that I don’t interact with undocumented immigrants. I’m sure I brush their shoulders everyday on the train as they’re riding to work. I’m sure I consume food they cook, purchase products they make, and lived in homes they’ve built. My everyday existence is deeply connected to a group of people that is more of a number to me than a face. To me, undocumented workers are a people living in darkness that I cannot see but with whom I interact with every day. g92.org‘s first film, A NEW DREAM, helped cast light into that darkness and illuminated Michael, John Paul, Jackie, and Ruben. As I watched their story I was able to let the numbers, statistics, and politics surrounding immigration fade away and see real people. People who confound many of the stereotypes I have had about immigrants. What I am most excited about though are the experiences that g92.org hopes to provide. I hope that we in the church begin to take immigration seriously and not just learn about it but experience it. The numbers and statistics are easily found but what I hope for is light to shine on undocumented immigrants. In the midst of a chapter in the book of Job naming characteristics of God a verse stands out. It says, “He reveals the deep things of darkness and brings utter darkness into the light” (Job 12:22). I think for many of us in the church undocumented immigrants are a people living in darkness. Yet God does not wish for them to live there; God always wants what we push into the darkness to be brought into the light. Immigration is not something we can run away from. We cannot ignore it or pretend it doesn’t exist. We need for our eyes to be opened and the lights to be turned on. g92.org helped do that for me. g92.org put four faces to one of the most pressing policy issues of my day. As I return to my work as a future policymaker I hope I will remember, policy affects people.
Andrew Means is a second year Master of Public Policy student at The Harris School at The University of Chicago. There he chairs the Committee on International Affairs and Public Policy, the Social Innovation and Philanthropy Association, and the Chicago Microfinance Conference. You can read more from Andrew at the Chicago Policy Review blog (chicagopolicyreview.org) where he is an editor. Please note that the views expressed do not necessarily represent those of everyone associated with G92 or any institutions with which the blogger may be affiliated. If you’re interested in writing a guest blog, send us an email at email@example.com.