“Hector in Los Angeles, welcome to ‘The Frank Pastore Show. ’”
His voice cracked as he came on the line. Nerves. You could tell he probably had never called a radio show before.
“Frank, you just don’t understand … I’m a pastor … and almost all my congregation are undocumented workers. They’re good people. They work hard. They love the Lord, and they love their families … How can you want to break up those families by deporting the parents? That’s just wrong!”
Hector had the confidence that comes with years of working with real people in the real world with real problems. He doesn’t live in the realm of pundits, professors and politicians. He was the pastor of a lower-income Latino church in one of the barrios of East L. A.
“Lindsay in San Dimas, welcome to ‘The Frank Pastore Show.’”
Her voice was youthful, lively, self-assured. Right from the start, I could tell she was ready to engage. I had her pegged. Young. Smart. College educated. Latina. Verbal. Maybe a communications major that loved her poli-sci class. As she laid out her argument, I added, a young woman who definitely listens to far more talk radio than the music stations.
“Frank, I’m a Christian just like you are. And you’ve said it yourself: if there’s a conflict between God’s law and man’s law, the Christian has got to be obedient to God’s law. This is like slavery and the Underground Railroad, Frank. Slavery was legal but wrong. Our immigration laws are legal but wrong. The immigration system is broken. It doesn’t let enough legal people in to fill the jobs we have, which is why the illegals are here. Our economy can handle it, we’ve got less than a 5 percent unemployment rate.”
She paused to reload and continued, “I’ve heard you say that if you grew up in Mexico, you’d break the law to come here too. And, one more thing, churches should provide sanctuary for families that are going to be broken up because of deportation. Where else are these people gonna go? What would you do, Frank? Turn them away? Tell them God’s House is closed to them? You always say, ‘the moral trumps the legal.’ Well, how ’bout this case. Hmmm?”
Hector and Lindsay, like millions of us, are frustrated with the illegal immigration mess. Mad at our government for not doing anything for so long. And now, feeling stuck between a rock and a hard place as we try to wrestle with where to go from here.