Welcome the stranger - Catholic Courier

Welcome the stranger

It’s not often that I am starstruck.

Although I wouldn’t necessarily use that description for my feelings as I went into a press conference Jan. 19 with Maria Hinojosa from National Public Radio, I did feel intimidated.

Being a reporter from little ole Rochester interviewing an Emmy Award-winning journalist, I couldn’t even form coherent questions in my head as I tried practicing on the drive to the University of Rochester, where Hinojosa was the first Hispanic to give the Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Address.

But then I walked in and offered congratulations to a UR staffer about his newborn baby. Hinojosa immediately jumped in and wanted to know more about the big event. We all got to talking about kids, and she offered words of hope for my own parental challenges.

The interview then was a walk in the park; simply a conversation with a thoughtful, wise and a bit world-weary person. A native of Mexico, her heart was heavy for all the young immigrants known as the DACA kids. Their lives hang in the balance as Congress decides their fate before a March 5 deadline that completely ends the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. DACA allowed these young people to stay in the country as long as they study, work or join the military. They live in limbo, wondering what will happen to them and their parents.

Hinojosa called immigration the civil-rights issue of our time. Who could argue with her, really?

My family is from Puerto Rico. Had they been from any other Latin American country, there but for the grace of God go I.

I will pray for justice for all immigrants. During this Lenten season, I encourage us to remember our own scriptural command to welcome the stranger.

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