Monday, July 24, 2006

Welcoming the stranger at the camp in the woods and in Scranton

So I've been spending the day catching up on all that I missed during a week's vacation. In light of all of the immigration talk, I feel moved to share a vacation experience.

Even on vaca, sometimes it's not possible to avoid ACLU-related issues. A few years ago, we were in Puerto Rico visiting the in-laws, and although my spanish is extremely weak, I knew that the local paper was talking about the death penalty when it referred to la pena de muerte.

But on this vacation, I was pleasantly surprised and moved when the immigration issue came front and center. Each year we go camping at a Lutheran camp in Adams County. My family has been going there for more than 20 years, and I worked there in high school and college.

This year the camp was hosting a day camp for children of migrant workers for the first time. If you're not familiar with Adams County, it's orchard country, and there have been migrant workers in the area for as long as I can remember. Now many are staying, which has helped make the county one of the fastest-growing counties in the state.

Unlike Hazleton, the camp staff wasn't checking anyone's papers at the gate. The camp opened its arms to its neighbors, and after hearing about this and seeing it in action, I couldn't be prouder to be affiliated with the camp.

This is the kind of light in the tunnel that gives us hope in this work.

And how about Mayor Chris Doherty of Scranton giving the thumbs down to Hazleton and the thumbs up to creating a welcoming atmosphere in his city?
Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty will not follow Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta's lead in signing a controversial ordinance that makes it harder for illegal immigrants to work and live in the Luzerne County city.

"I am totally against everything that Lou Barletta is doing," Mr. Doherty said Monday. "Mayor Barletta is a good friend of mine and a great mayor. But on the issue of immigration, I disagree.

"We, in Scranton, will never do what he's done because my philosophy is one of welcoming people and we need to help people."

The Times Tribune: Doherty "totally against" Barletta

Andy in H-burg


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