I know this is an issue that is near and dear to Michael’s heart and has brought him much consternation and despair over the years. Let it be known that these are my own thoughts and words that I have written only at my own initiative, and any adverse thoughts or reaction should be directed at and placed upon me.
There is so much information and misinformation out there right now that it is hard for the common person to get a full and accurate grasp and understanding of what all is currently going on and has happened in the past with the family separations at our southern border. More so than anything else, some of those on the political left and in mainstream media seem overly desirous of pinning all blame on President Trump and his administration and to make him/them appear in the worst possible light, whether through real facts or fabrications or misrepresentations, while also harboring other political motives. More so than anything else, some of those on the political right and in conservative media seem overly concerned with protecting President Trump and his administration and shielding him/them from any blame and also highly esteeming his/their actions, whether through real facts or fabrications or misrepresentations, while also harboring other political motives.
What is without question is that the practice of separating children from their parents on our southern border has risen sharply within the past couple months due to actions taken by this current administration. And also what should be without question is that this practice and its rapid expansion are not good things. For those who choose to delve into this issue, this is where I believe our major focus should be at this moment. How do we put a stop to such an anguishing and traumatic practice while also maintaining some measure of law and order? As with ostensibly many immigration issues, there are not simple and easy solutions. However, we must find a way to do better. Until very recently, our government found ways to employ the use of this practice to much lower levels and I would contend in no way was its lesser use resulting in a catastrophic effect upon our country, or anything close to it. I am not versed nearly well enough on the subject to give expert opinion on the technicalities of how to do so, but at the very least, if we want to more strictly enforce our borders, let’s at least first find a way to do it more humanely.
Yes, there are cases of people getting into our country that shouldn’t under any circumstance – drug traffickers, child sex traffickers, and other serious criminals. Even with the sudden and drastic “zero tolerance” policy in effect, many of these types will still get through as they know the strategic avenues of how to do so. Most of those being caught are the “commoner” families and individuals who don’t know the strategic ways to get in covertly, or who even in many cases, are purposely giving themselves up to authorities once they cross. It takes much more than this “zero tolerance” policy to capture the majority of those who truly are coming to cause harm. And when the dangerous criminals do get caught, they should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, including having any children taken away from them.
Beyond that, there seemingly have been others who have been taking advantage of the situation by bringing children with them, sometimes children who are not even their own and/or for which they are not main guardians, to increase their chances of receiving favorable treatment. Others have been claiming asylum when they may not have any real claim of fleeing terrible situations. There are definitely cases that are fraudulent. Our government uses their intelligence and capabilities to sort through and identify such cases, yet surely, there are some who end up getting through and receive better treatment than they should.
Nonetheless, above all as a Christian, I must view this through a “God lens” first, and not a nationalistic or political one. And I see much in Scripture exhorting us to be especially mindful and compassionate towards the poor and needy and sojourner and the “least of these”. Many of these families that are being separated are not out to cause harm. They are fleeing dire and calamitous circumstances for the protection and betterment of their loved ones. In many cases, they are claiming asylum once they cross, which is an allowable and legal thing to do. Often times they aren’t crossing at the approved ports of entry due to some combination of not knowing where they are supposed to cross, or being scared off by organized crime on the Mexican side of the border, or in many cases, being confusingly told at the approved ports of entry that they can’t come through. If I chose to place my main view of focus to see and treat people in circumstances like these as “criminals”, then I believe I am miserably failing how God calls me to see and love people. Even if it causes me to end up viewing some people better than what they “deserve”.
This has nothing to do with needing to find something to be “outraged” about or needing to be a “social justice warrior” or needing something new about which to be “anti-Trump.” The hazarded pejoratives may come in attempt to diminish or belittle my stance or those of others with similar postures. But they will not stick as this is about trying to see and have people treated as I believe God would have us to do so, and nothing else.
Just as I would with other issues, I implore my government to act more justly and righteously on this issue, most specifically in regards to the practice of separating parents and children who have crossed the border. I would implore other Christians who choose to engage in this issue to do the same. And may God have mercy on the poor souls who are seeking some kind of earthly relief from atrocious conditions for themselves and their families.