Amid the cacophony of voices vying for ear space on the “immigrant crisis,” few have succeeded in identifying the real crisis–the crisis of moral integrity. Whenever and wherever human beings suffer, it is the moral integrity of those around them–they are called neighbors–that leads people to respond and help. It is the moral fabric of a neighbor that allows him or her to acknowledge the humanity of the one in need and to act out the words, “I am with you.”
The real crisis has nothing to do with the numbers of immigrants arriving at the border, for the land is vast and the space is welcoming. It has nothing to do with the need for clothing, for the bags of clothing are piled so high as to overwhelm. It has nothing to do with a lack of places to receive and shelter the many, for the churches are empty and in search of an identity of what it means to be a church.
What it does have to do with is our moral integrity as individuals and as a people, for we are in danger. We are in danger of looking inward and discovering only a profound emptiness. For this emptiness all the food in the world, all of the clothing in all of the malls, all of the houses with huge numbers of bedrooms, all of the money and abundance that surrounds us will never fill. For this emptiness can only be filled by the God who comes to us in the distressing disguise of the poor, the immigrant poor.
–Ruben Garcia, director of Annunciation House