Freedom to Move

Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.

(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

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To fast from driving in a town with no public transportation or bike lanes can be both liberating and challenging.  But to be stripped of this freedom simply for being a poor immigrant who believes in the American Dream is inhuman and oppressive.  To then make money off of such a violation of human rights via legislation, roadblocks and exploitive fines is downright sinful as it turns a person made in the image of God into a degraded, cheap commodity. 

The more I reflect on my Lenten fast from driving as a means, in part, of solidarity with unlicenseable immigrants, the more I realize that the issue of not granting a driver’s license to our brothers and sisters living here without legal authorization, while no longer a frontburner issue in the pro-immigrant community, is a testament to the broader issue at hand in this polarizing dilemma, namely, the freedom of mobility.

Yes, to deny immigrants the right to leave and return to their country is to deny a basic human right as affirmed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  To then deny a profiled group of individuals (poor immigrants) the freedom of movement within our borders is only to further commit violations of a central tenet of all of our basic human rights.

I am not saying that everyone is entitled to a free automobile.  I am saying, however, that everyone should be free to choose for themselves whether or not they will obtain, not the right, but the license to drive. 

Again, this fast collides two of my core values – love of immigrants and care for God’s creation.  To that end, I celebrate that my fast has enabled me to lessen my carbon footprint and to be more conscious of when I do and do not need to rely on fossil fuel to power my form of transportation.  However, I also lament that immigrants are not free to move in accordance to their own conscience but are instead shackled by the limitations our own prejudices and discriminatory laws and law enforcement policies impose upon them.

Move, Holy Spirit, and bring freedom for all.

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