Families belong together. And they don’t belong in detainment camps.
The “zero tolerance” policy put in to effect, separating children from their families and placing them in jail-like camps with limited resources and no comforts, has left me absolutely heartbroken over the past few weeks. It’s been so hard for me to process my emotions surrounding this atrocious abuse of power. I have vacillated between intense and burning fury, and absolutely dark despair. I’ve cried many, many tears. Thinking about these families, who have left their homes with nothing, so fearful for their safety in their own countries that they were driven to seek refuge in ours…arriving to our borders to have the unspeakable happen: their children ripped from their arms and simply taken. The idea of children as young as babies feeling alone and terrified…it is too much to bear.
If my children were ever taken from me, to places unknown, with no idea how or when we could reunite and no knowledge of whether they were safe– I could absolutely not survive it. It is inhuman for the parents, but traumatizing beyond belief for the children. At this point we have all heard the audio recording of the children screaming, pleading and crying from the confines of their chain-link cages. We have seen the heartbreaking images of sterile bunks, children covered by metallic emergency blankets, the piles of confiscated shoes and belongings, the children being marched in a line from tent to tent like criminals. Besides being child abuse, the treatment these kids are experiencing is traumatizing them deeply in ways that will effect them for the rest of their lives. What chance do they even have now for any type of normal future? And why do even a small fraction of people (enough to create a “policy”) think that this is ok?
I’m completely disillusioned, I’m terrified for these families and heartbroken for our country. I love the United States Of America. I love the spirit of freedom, of perseverance, of strength, and I love the dedication I’ve seen recently from so many Americans towards the protection of what’s right, true, and fair. But right now I see a country I don’t recognize. I feel helpless and hopeless, even with the eventual “lift” of the family separation policy that happened earlier today. This is not a solution. These children have already been traumatized, they now need to be reunited with their families, and then they will remain in detainment camps..indefinitely? It isn’t right. One of my favorite things about our history as a nation is that we are all descended from immigrants. We all have that spark of courage that courses through our veins, and our families have all known historically what it feels like to be scared and unsure of the future. The treatment of these immigrants, in a country like the USA, truly sickens me.
At this point, I personally believe that this has gone beyond a political issue and become a human rights issue. I feel that the ideas and ideals that we are faced with in this crisis are completely bipartisan in nature. At this point, it is really about humane and inhumane, right and wrong. I really hope that we can set the past election aside, and come together now. If you are a Trump supporter who is happy that he is President, yet recognizes the brutality of this policy, it is SO so important that you speak up and share your truth. It’s ok to support somebody but not support everything they do. And for the people on the other side, like me, who have been frustrated with this administration from the beginning– pointing fingers and demonizing Trump voters does nothing to move this issue to a better place. It’s important now to look at who among us is willing to come together and make our voices heard towards what is right and just. If these families were our children, our sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, grandmothers or uncles– would we fight harder? We are each of us a slight sliver of circumstance away from having the shoe on the other foot– in every arena of life. Today, I am as fortunate as a person can get– but I know that my luck can always change at any time. And if it did, I surely hope that our culture would have cultivated enough compassion to have empathy for me in my time of need. We all really do need each other– in our towns, in our cities, in our nation, and in our world.
It’s more important than ever to stay connected to this story and to watch this situation closely. If you’ve voiced your fury, that’s great…keep doing it. Stay awake and aware, and let’s keep supporting the lawyers, senators, activists, and journalists who are working tirelessly to keep our country honest and safe. I’m placing some specific ways to help below, and please share if you know of others! More than anything, I want to create a space (in the comments below) where you can share your own fears, frustrations, anger, and pain. This whole situation triggers a lot of personal pain for me from my childhood, and I’m sure there are those of you out there that feel the same. Whether it triggers you for personal reasons, political reasons, or moral reasons–you are not alone. At least on this little piece of the interweb. Sending my love to you, let’s all figure this out together.
Ways to help families and children at the border…
- Call your Senator. Dial (202) 224-3121. State your zip code. When connected, simply state: “I live in (____) and I support S3036, the Keep Families Together Act. What are you doing to make sure these children are reunited swiftly with their parents?” (It is important that we keep showing our senators that we are aware, awake, and we are counting on them to make sure the children are RETURNED to their parents immediately)
- The organization Baby 2 Baby has set up a registry through Target to get essentials to detained immigrant children. They still need these items! You can shop there and donate if you can.
- Financial donation to RAICES (the Refugee And Immigrant Center For Education and legal Service). This organization provides legal help and guidance for families at the border. They have been integral through this process in fighting for the rights of the children and families, and will continue to do so as the children are returned at the detainment continues.
- Catholic Charities Of The Rio Grande Valley. People close to this crisis have let me know that this organization is doing amazing things for immigrant families.
- Take to the streets. On June 30th, tons of organizations are planning coordinated protests. Check out Moveon.org to find one near you.
- Keep talking about this. Let’s not forget, and make the mistake of thinking that children reunited with their parents growing up in detainment camps is appropriate or compassionate. It was a big step in the right direction, but it’s not the end.