There’s an incredible amount of racism involved in the immigration debate. Here’s how I know: the way I see Latinos treated in Texas. It’s changing but not fast enough.

Latinos are rarely treated with deference and respect that we would afford anyone else, regardless of position. I’m not just talking about the undocumented. I’m referring to the way Latinos are treated, even if their families have lived here for hundreds of years, since before the first English-speaking people arrived.

Ask any Latino you know. No matter how well-dressed, no matter how educated, no matter what income level, no matter how fluent, Latinos are often approached in any setting and told, “We need more toilet paper in the men’s bathroom.” Latinos, no make up about half the population here,’s are normally treated like the help.

So the reality is, the white powerbase not only doesn’t want undocumented workers here, they also don’t want immigrants who come through our impossibly expensive, restrictive and outdated immigration system. On top of that, they really don’t want the Latinos that were here before their families arrived, who hardly speak Spanish. All three groups, the undocumented immigrants, the documented immigrants and the long-term citizens, whose families lived here when it was still Mexico, who claim they did not cross the border, the border crossed them, are made to feel like second-class citizens

Many of the undocumented in Texas came on visas, which ran out. Getting back in line can take over a decade. The best way to solve the problem is to loosen up the restrictions.

Undocumented immigrants, aspiring Americans, have a much, much lower crime rate than citizens. This is because they don’t want to get deported. They behave better than most. And yet, whenever an undocumented worker does commit a crime, there seems to be a media feeding frenzy. It’s very hard for me to see this is anything but xenophobia.

Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia this week said we won’t make a dent in human trafficking until we have comprehensive immigration reform. He said we absolutely have to have a path for citizenship. It is unaffordable, impractical and probably impossible to deport 12 million people. Call it amnesty if you like. These folks are here. They are feeding our economy in Houston, while being exploited and victimized.

This is a moral issue. It has to do with how we treat humanity, and in particular the stranger. The Scriptures are not silent on this issue. Let’s wake up and speak up.