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.