Yesterday morning I sat in my home here on the Navajo Reservation and watched a live webcast of the "Evangelical Immigration Table". I felt impotent, tired, angry and frustrated. For on my screen Christians were rallying around and celebrating the introduction of a bi-partisan immigration reform bill that was being introduced by the "Gang of 8" Senators. I felt this way because for nearly a decade I have been talking, writing, speaking and praying about the importance of intentionally including the voices of indigenous peoples in the process to "comprehensively and justly" reform immigration law. I have walked the halls of Congress and hand delivered letters to Senators and Representatives, I have spoken on the boards of churches and Christian organizations, I have built relationships with national Christian, academic and political leaders, I have written blogs, published articles, spoken at conferences and presented seminars, all asking, imploring, our nation to intentionally reach out to, and include the voices of Native peoples in the dialogue on immigration reform.
But to no avail. Because on Wednesday, April 17, 2013, without ever consulting members of the Native community, the Gang of 8 introduced their plan to comprehensively reform our nation's immigration laws. And I watched on a live webcast, as my non-native friends, my partner organizations, the leaders of the church, even our politicians celebrated this milestone and congratulated themselves.