Where Would You Stop?

 

border
A Honduran mother walks with her children next to the U.S.-Mexico border fence as they turned themselves in to Border Patrol agents near Penitas, Texas on February 22, 2018.  John Moore / Getty Images

Mamas, I have a question for you. What would you let stop you if you felt your child were in danger? If your child were starving, would you wait years to go through an arduous and nearly-impossible immigration system that has a better chance of rejecting than accepting you? If you were in danger? If your child never had a hope of an education or a bright future?

Or would you start walking?

I am unafraid to say that I would start walking and no mountain or river or border or wall or boundary would stand in my way from doing everything I could to bring my children to safety.

Friends, immigration policy is complicated, but caring for children is not. And right now, in my own state, children are being pulled from their parents and housed in shadowy and inaccessible shelters. We don’t know what’s happening in those shelters. We couldn’t possibly be providing safe and appropriate care to all these kids given the sudden way this ballooned in the last few weeks. Let’s be frank: We are traumatizing children and calling it enforcement.

As a matter of policy, our nation has leveraged the anguish a parent feels in watching their child suffer in fear against a parent’s most basic drive to get their child to a place of safety and refuge, openly acknowledging our hope that this will be a deterrent. It’s like it’s the only way we are acknowledging our common humanity. Let’s hit them where it hurts. But we’re forgetting they are already bleeding out.

Where are the voices from the right who are so quick to say our government isn’t equipped to care for children? Are they silent because these aren’t “our” children? Have we forgotten people illegally cross our border not just because they want to buy a nicer car, but because they are running for their lives and claiming asylum? One UN official reminds us: “the right to claim asylum is a fundamental human right… and it is also part of the law in the United States.” Even the UN is now calling on us to stop this policy, saying we are in violation of basic standards of international human rights.

Let that wash over you

We are in violation of basic standards of international human rights.

We like to use this rationale to justify going to war against other countries… they don’t respect fundamental human rights? Bomb them. Invade them. Embargo them. When the accusation is made against us, many among us are quick to label it as fake news. It’s not, and it’s a dangerously slippery slope if we allow any politician to use extenuating circumstances – maybe we can stop a child trafficker, maybe we can deter a multiple-time border crossing offender, maybe we can stop MS-13, maybe this is the other political party’s fault – to distract us from the core issue.

Immigration is complex, but this is wrong. This is not an America I recognize, know, or love. My heart is heavy and sad and I keep wondering when “enough will be enough,” especially for my brothers and sisters of faith who seem so silent.


3 thoughts on “Where Would You Stop?

  1. It’s so tiring that conservatives like me always have to point out the blatant, emotion-based hypocrisy that bleeding-heart liberals on the left constantly resort to at the expense of logic and facts. In this case, the author deliberately misleads you when she asks if we have “forgotten people illegally cross our border not just because they want to buy a nicer car, but because they are running for their lives and claiming asylum?” Really? The fact is that the VAST majority of them DO just want a better economic situation for themselves and their families (which is understandable), and are NOT actually running for their lives back in their home country. They simply claim “asylum” because that’s the magic word they’ve been taught to say in order to circumvent the laws against illegally entering our country – laws which, by the way, every other country on the planet have and actually enforce – as they should, and as we should but haven’t for generations. To prove the point about hypocrisy, I guarantee you that the author who feels so emotional about illegal immigrants and their mistreated children would be the first to abandon those very same children if the question was about supporting abortion on demand without any restrictions. She would, undoubtedly, make the standard argument about protecting women’s reproductive rights by couching it in terms relating to the health of the mother – and forgetting about the health of the baby who, I’m pretty sure, would think its own health is pretty important, too! They always make it sound like abortion is so necessary because so many women are dying in childbirth everyday. She would prefer that we don’t realize that women haven’t died regularly in childbirth since we crossed the country in covered wagons. When was the last time you even HEARD about a woman dying in childbirth? No – the real point is that liberals like this author don’t want us to recognize the FACT that in the vast majority of abortion cases, giving birth to that is baby is simply INCONVENIENT to the mother – NOT life-threatening. And since it’s inconvenient, they need to have the right to kill that baby to avoid being inconvenienced. That’s the dirty – and inconvenient – truth of the matter.

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    1. Hi Kurt:
      I’m the author of this piece, and while I appreciate that you took the time to read it, I’m afraid I have to say you’re wrong about a few things. One, I’m not a bleeding-heart liberal. Up until this last election, I was pretty staunchly conservative, but I no longer recognize my party. Secondly, and far more important than a political platform, you may be surprised to know you’re also mistaken about my feelings about abortion. Whether a child is in her mother’s womb or a migrant crossing our border on her father’s shoulders or a refugee fleeing for her life or a kid in our foster care system, I believe we grown-ups need to protect them. As I said in the essay, our immigration system is a mess and needs work to fix it. That is true. But to use children as pawns in an immigration game is sickening and immoral and inhumane. I’m a mom to two little girls – one of whom is an immigrant – and when I hear about a 5-year-old or a 7-year-old being separated from her mama and shuffled into a chaotic system, I cannot help but see the face of my own two daughters. There has to be a way through this that doesn’t require us sacrificing our heart and our soul.

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      1. Also – I feel like most of us (me included) live in echo chambers where we primarily surround ourselves with voices of people who agree with us. So I appreciate the fact that you sent a mostly respectful, though at times sarcastic/sometimes condescending, reply. I mean, at least you didn’t use any four letter words to describe me. 😉 Anyway, I just wanted to say that I really do hear you… you have some valid points (like people who aren’t really escaping anything claiming asylum). I’m sure that happens at times and we need a better system for processing these kinds of cases to better discern what’s going on; and I’m equally sure that there are legitimate cases who are getting caught up in this mess and overlooked. And that’s heartbreaking. In that sense, maybe I AM a bleeding-heart, but honestly I’d rather be a bleeding-heart than to harden my heart to the needs of the vulnerable and the oppressed. I guess I’m ok with that.

        Truthfully every single immigrant I know works his or her butt off. I don’t know a single one who comes into our country and just lounges around. I also am the great-grandchild of immigrants whose “immigration process” was getting off a boat and providing their name and country of origin. I guess I just don’t see immigrants as our problem. Mostly I think the people that look and sound like me are the bigger issue.

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