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Nov 20, 2014 | Kevin Thompson

The Rev. Osnaya Advocates Christ-like Solution at HBU Immigration Roundtable

Rep. Rick Miller speaks at HBU Immigration Roundtable event on Nov. 18, 2015.

The Rev. Uriel Osnaya, vicar of Santa Maria Virgen, Houston, recently took part in an immigration roundtable sponsored by the Latin American Studies department at Houston Baptist University. The crowded teaching theater played host to Osnaya; Texas State Representative Rick Miller (R); Dr. Craig Ferrell, assistant professor of criminal justice at HBU; and Dr. Lisa Carroll-Davis, assistant professor of Latin American studies at HBU.


“This is a serious issue and we need different perspectives on it because we have a problem, and it needs to be fixed,” Miller said, after addressing a crowd of mostly HBU students.


While Miller appealed to the patriotism of the students, consistently pointing out that he doesn’t blame immigrants for wanting to come to America, it was Osnaya and Ferrell who offered real world solutions for current immigration problems.


“We need to treat immigrant children like they’re our own kids once they show up here,” Ferrell said. It was Ferrell’s law enforcement experience that frequently helped bridge the gap between pragmatic politics and compassionate faith opinions of the panel.


“A lot of time we only talk about the negative side of immigration”, Osnaya said, referring to the frequent steering of the conversation towards human trafficking, human smuggling and the drug trade. “There are lots of people who come here that are hard workers, who bring good things to the country, and simply want a better life for their families.”


Dr. Lisa Carroll-Davis and the Rev. Uriel Osnaya at HBU Immigration Roundtable on Nov. 18, 2015

Carroll-Davis, who helped organize the event, tried to bring together a variety of ideas and viewpoints for students to evaluate. “I want these kids to think critically about what it means to be Christian,” she said.


On the brink of an announcement on immigration reform by President Barack Obama, Osnaya wanted to convey to those gathered that there must be a different approach to a solution. “We’re looking for a better way for immigration and citizenship that keeps families together,” he said. “If this is a Christian nation, then we should act like Christians and welcome strangers with open arms.”