I read a very disturbing article today. Here is a part of it:
Attorneys who visited a Border Patrol processing center in McAllen, Texas, as part of an inspection found that officials there had been illegally jailing a sick, prematurely born one-month-old infant and her 17-year-old mother for days, BuzzFeed News reports. This same facility, known as Ursula, was last year called “the ‘epicenter’ of the Trump administration’s policy that has separated thousands of children from their parents” by an official with the Department of Homeland Security.
“You look at this baby,” said volunteer Hope Frye, “and there is no question that this baby should be in a tube with a heart monitor.” Instead, the tiny child was wrapped in a sweatshirt and was reportedly “weak and listless.” Her mom, still weak from her emergency C-section in Mexico, was in a wheelchair and hadn’t been able to sleep due to pain.
They shouldn’t have been there in the first place. “Under federal law, minors are required to be released from Border Patrol custody within 72 hours to officials in the Office of Refugee Resettlement after they are determined to be unaccompanied. Both the 17-year-old mother and her 1-month-old baby are considered unaccompanied minors.”
The Washington Post last month reported that hundreds of children “have been with the Border Patrol for longer than 72 hours, and another official said that more than 250 children 12 or younger have been in custody for an average of six days.” Who knows how much longer this mom and infant would have been in custody, had attorneys and others not intervened? (From Daily Kos)
Good question! How much longer would they have been held in the custody of officials who obviously had no regard for their well being?
Good question! Why is this horrendous treatment of refugees tolerated in our country?
Good question! Has this nation become a nation of cruelty to those coming through our borders and how did we get there?
Best question! What can you and I, as persons called by God of grace and lovingkindness, do to help bring an end to this atrocity?
There is obviously no easy answer and no quick fix, but those who are suffering need a quick fix. They need for us to stand up and help reclaim our nation’s position as a welcoming, compassionate nation. In these days, I wonder what the symbol of Lady Liberty means to us?
A gift from the people of France, Lady Liberty has watched over New York Harbor since 1886, and on her base is a tablet inscribed with words penned by Emma Lazarus in 1883:
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
Most importantly, we must ask this question: Can we escape from the admonitions in Holy Scripture? Can we ignore the call of Jesus to love our neighbor as we love ourselves? (Luke 10:27) Can we ignore these warnings?
You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.
— Deuteronomy 10:19
The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.
— Leviticus 19:34
Cursed is anyone who withholds justice from the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow. Then all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’
— Leviticus 27:19
. . . I was a stranger and you welcomed me.
— Matthew 25:31-46
Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none…
— Luke 3:11
…Bring good news to the poor…release to the captives…sight to the blind…let the oppressed go free.
— Luke 4:16-21
In light of our faith and the counsel of Holy Scripture, each of us must answer the critical question: “What must I do about this?” These are only a few of the actions we might undertake:
Hold congressional representatives accountable and constantly hold up before them the “more excellent way.” Phone calls, letters, emails, visits — not just once, but continually.
Stay aware of the credible news reports of treatment of refugees at the border. Take that information — every time — to your representatives.
Discover ways that your faith community might partner with faith communities near borders by providing clothing, personal items, blankets, towels, cash. Ship to them whatever they might need for their care of refugees.
If possible, travel to the border nearest to you and see what is happening first hand. When you have seen and heard the voices of people seeking refuge, your life will be forever changed, your heart will know genuine compassion and your impulse to intervene will be magnified.
I certainly do not know which of these actions might be possible for you. But I do know two things. I know that this issue is fluid and current, and that the raid sites are throughout the U.S. Just this minute I received this information in my news feed:
ICE is set to begin immigration raids in 10 cities on Sunday. Last year, the Executive Office for Immigration Review announced that it had begun tracking family cases filed by the Department of Homeland Security in 10 immigration court locations: Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York and San Francisco. (CNN)
I know also that our faith calls us to compassion, kindness and a welcoming spirit. We can respond to that call in whatever ways seem good and right.
I pray that God will make it so.