McDonald’s Billboard – Really?

Okay, maybe I’m the only one who sees it.

Maybe it’s just a billboard run by local McDonalds restaurants.

But I doubt it.

In the environment that we are in, the political, racial and governmental environment, there isn’t a day that goes by where immigration isn’t in the news.

Temporary Protective Status


The Wall

Sanctuary Cities

Sanctuary Churches



Articles about how the United States allowed a grand total of 11 refugees from Syria to immigrate in 2017.


We had that many people for a relatively small breakfast birthday party on Saturday.

So what does McDonald’s do?

They run a series of billboards – I know there are at least two in West Michigan, probably more that have the McDonald’s logo on them. And they have pictures of a couple of the McDonald’s frozen drinks.

What words does it say?

“Have an ICE Day!”

You’re probably thinking, yeah, they are talking about frozen drinks and they want you to have an ICE day. In other words, get yourself one of our ice cold frozen drinks and your life will be better.

But given our current environment, ICE isn’t only about frozen water.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

ICE is about a family from my son’s school who got separated because the dad isn’t allowed back in the United States.

ICE is about one of the pastors our church supports (here in Grand Rapids), having government people show up at his door one night asking to see papers and for him to prove that he is here legally. (He’s Hispanic and he’s a US citizen – so he’s fine).

ICE is about a church in Kalamazoo consulting with attorneys about how they can lawfully keep ICE out of their church because there are people staying in their church who are concerned for their safety at the hands of ICE.

ICE is about 60,000 Haitians who are afraid they will have to face the decision – “I have been here since 2010 and the earthquake that wiped out my city, under temporary protection status, my children who have been born since then are US citizens. What do I do?”

Words mean things.

In certain environments and certain times, words mean different things than they did at a different time. We are in a time where the current government has made ICE a word that means way more than just frozen water.

For thousands if not millions of people in the United States, ICE represents a government agency that can disrupt families, ruin lives, fracture communities.

At best, McDonald’s decision to wish you an ICE day is strictly an advertising choice that wasn’t thought through completely.

At worst, McDonald’s just might be telling us something more.

Come on, McDonald’s, you can do better. You know better.


Gilligan, The Department of Homeland Security and Haiti

I know I’m providing hints at how old I am, but how many of you remember the song that starts the TV sitcom, “Gilligan’s Island?” Especially when it comes to the part about the “three hour tour” that lasted way longer?

In 2017, the acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security went to visit Haiti to “see for herself” whether things had improved enough to no longer allow the Haitians who are in the United States on emergency status to remain here.

In other words, is there anything in Haiti that they can go back to?

While Gilligan went on a 3 hour tour that got them stranded on an island, apparently, Acting Secretary Elaine Duke could spend four hours in Haiti and determine that things were just fine and that it would be no problem for 60,000 Haitians to show up with no place to live, no job, nothing.

4 hours.

4 hours and a decision that impacts not only the 60,000 Haitians but countless others.

How can you truly analyze the capabilities of a complex and fragmented place like Haiti in four hours?

How can you truly analyze the capabilities of Haiti without spending time in their “used to be Green Belt” that had most of its agriculture wiped out from Hurricane Matthew?

In a place like Haiti with the lack of infrastructure, I can almost guarantee you that Ms. Duke did not come anywhere close to the rural parts of Haiti which are, I’m told, a totally different world than the capital of Haiti, Port Au Prince.

You can’t.

I can’t.

Even the Department of Homeland Security can’t.

So why did they make that decision?

I don’t know, but I have a pretty strong hunch that it has to do with the other decisions that the current administration is making about other immigration issues.

I strongly disagree with Ms. Duke’s assessment of Haiti. I have friends in Haiti who have told me the same thing, some of them in substantially stronger language than I’ve used.

The ramifications for these Haitians who are in the United States, for their children who were born here (and are US Citizens) and for our country and the economic and moral impact are way more significant than most people understand.

I’ll be talking about it more soon and I urge you to talk to people about it, talk to your government representatives. More to come……

It was a four hour tour, not a three hour tour.

But many more people are at significant risk because of that decision and that’s not right.

It’s wrong.


A Betrayal

This is a long read, but an important story.   

I’m not going to say much about it other than to urge you to read (or watch it for yourself…….)


“The choice to turn an informant like Henry over to ICE has consequences far beyond his individual case. If gang members can’t receive protection in exchange for coming forward with information, police will have almost no means to penetrate the insular world of MS-13. School officials who turned Henry over to the authorities were outraged when they learned he had been trapped in a no man’s land between the gang and the law. “They certainly were taking advantage of what he had to offer,” says Robert Feliciano, the head of the Suffolk County school board. “You can’t just do that and then drop him.””

Immigration–a System in Need of Reform

Last night I told you about a family from my son’s school who got trapped in the immigration struggles and now the Dad is stuck in another country and Mom and kids are here.

Today, I wanted to share some information I found online about how hard it is to actually get through the immigration system.   At the bottom of this post is a link to the article I got the information from.

The first thing we need to look at is a flow chart that outlines the process of getting a green card.   It looks like this:

Immigration Flow Chart

Can you understand it?  I can’t.  Can you imagine how difficult and how long it takes to actually navigate through it?

The second thing I want you to look at is the Family Bulletin showing in February of 2018 the green card applications they are processing for certain countries and the dates that those applications were filed.  There are, I understand, two ways to get a visa – for employment or because you have family here.  


Here’s a listing of what the categories mean:

F1: Unmarried Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens.

F2A: Spouses and Children of Permanent Residents.

F2B: Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Permanent Residents.

F3: Married Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens.

F4: Brothers and Sisters of Adult U.S. Citizens.

So let’s look at some examples of how long it takes:

  • If you are looking to get a green card and you are not married and your parent (one or both) is a US Citizen and you are from Mexico, if you applied for the green card in July of 1996, the application is finally being processed.  That means if you applied for it when you were 10, you are now 32 years old.
  • If you are the married child of a US Citizen looking to come from the Philippines and get a green card, you have waited 23 years since you applied.  So, let’s say that you got married when you were 20, applied when you were 22, you are now 43 years old.   Oh and you and your spouse have since had a couple of children as well.   How do they figure into the time line?

The system is broken.

When a system is broken, people try to find another way to work around the system.   As someone pointed out to me yesterday, the Pilgrims were dealing with a broken system – so they found a way around and just left.

We need to balance the need for legal protections with a system that does not deny the rights and desires (and frankly in many cases needs) of people who want a better life.  Yes, I’m going to mention this – the delays are not necessarily coming for people from Norway who look a lot like the people who currently are the majority in our government.  No, the delays are from countries were people don’t look like the “white majority.”   Yes that makes me uncomfortable to say but unfortunately, I believe it to be true.

The article that much of this information came from can be found at

Even if you apply the Vanderwell Rule of 50% and say that the numbers in that article are vastly overstated, reduce them by 50%.   Is it still legitimate and morally responsible to have people way 12 or 13 years for their application for a green card to be processed (not approved – it might be denied – can you imagine waiting 13 years and then it gets denied?)

Tomorrow (maybe later today), I’ll have a list of resources of people and places you can contact to urge our government to reform immigration and do better than what we have.   Because what we have, as we saw last night, separates families, and that’s not right.


It’s Happening, Right Here, Right Now

Last year, I was substitute teaching at the school my son goes to – Potter’s House – in Grand Rapids. In morning prayers, we were doing prayer requests and one of the girls in the class asked her classmates to pray for a friend of hers who is worried that when her Dad had to go back to the country he was from (I don’t remember the country) that he wasn’t going to be allowed to return, but he had to go back to renew some paperwork (I’m assuming visas or something.)

A number of the other kids in the class nodded and said things like, “Yeah, me too.” It gave me the feeling that this was a much bigger issue for these 8th graders than I thought it might be.

So I pulled up a chair and sat down in front of them and paused and said, “I’ve got a question for you all, how many of you know someone, either close friend or family, who you are worried could be “sent back” by the immigration issues that are currently going on?”

Some hands shot up right away.

Some took a little bit longer.

But eventually 100% of the kids had their hands up.

Every single 8th grader in that class knew someone who was worried about losing a family member due to the changes in immigration enforcement.

You can debate all you want about the technical issues but here’s the way I look at it. There’s a class of early teenagers who are worried that they or someone they know very well could lose a parent (or could have to move to another country) because of the current administration’s desire to get “technical” with the rules.

These are kids who have done nothing wrong. These are families who are contributing members of our community.

And they are worried about things teenagers shouldn’t worry about.

And guess what – it’s happening. I just got notice that one of them had it happen to them.


Their dad was back in “his original country” and went to renew his visa. Not only was his visa denied but he is not allowed to be in the United States for 10 years.

The trauma that this does to a family is truly unthinkable. There is no easy way to deal with the upheaval this causes a family.

My heart aches for this family. We need to find a balance between a legal society and a society that cares about people.

What happened to this family is a tragedy.


Originally posted 2018-03-15 20:03:45. Republished by Blog Post Promoter