Disclaimer: as with all posts on my blog, the views expressed in this post represent my personal opinion and are not intended to be associated with my employer. This was posted with my daughter’s permission.
My daughter is an immigrant.
Perhaps not in the “legal” sense, but by Google’s definition she would qualify. She was born in the Russian Far East, adopted by us, and traveled to the United States (on a Russian passport) just before her first birthday. She was a newcomer. She was a nonnative. She was an outsider. Now, she is a beautiful teenager who just finished her freshman year of high school. She is the pride and joy of her parents and the best thing I have ever done in my life.
Those of you reading this who are adoptive parents know that the process is long and arduous. During the two trips we made to Russia, we experienced multiple miracles — more than enough to convince me that this beautiful little girl was always meant to be our daughter. But, those are stories for another time.
Recently, the United States has begun a “no-tolerance” policy for deportation of illegal immigrants. As a result of that process, children — seventeen and under — have been torn from their families. At the time of this writing, the Los Angeles Times reported that 1,995 children have been separated from their parents. This is a tragedy, an immoral abuse of power, and a policy that demonstrates a lack of value for human life. It is wrong, and it must stop.
Regardless of political leanings, I would hope that most people would agree that children should not be used as pawns in the fight over immigration policy. The fact that our current politicians are incapable of working cooperatively to develop a reasonable solution to the immigration issue is no excuse for taking actions that are clearly detrimental to kids. And, although I am not a religious scholar, I feel confident in saying there is absolutely no biblical basis for separating children from their families. However, I can reference many verses that indicate we should love our neighbor, care for children, and act justly.
Imagine the level of trauma inflicted upon a child who likely does not speak English, has just endured a difficult trip, and is now ripped away from their family. Their “legality” has absolutely nothing to do with our ability to treat them as fellow human beings of infinite value, worthy of respect and empathy.
We began to bond with our daughter and love her the first moment we saw her. We immediately wanted to provide the best care we were able to offer her. Fortunately, we had the means and privilege that allowed us to complete an adoption, navigate oceans of paperwork, and bring her to the states legally — as our daughter.
The parents who are currently bringing their children to the United States are undoubtedly seeking the same things we wanted for our daughter — the best possible care, education, and opportunities. Unfortunately, most are coming from poverty and do not possess the material, financial, or political capital necessary to navigate the immigration process. They are not people of privilege. We are.
This is not a post about immigration policy, it is simply a plea to do the right thing for kids and keep them with their families. I work in a profession where we are taught that the best interest of kids should always come first. That should be no different in this circumstance — the needs of children should come first. As Mother Teresa so wisely stated,
If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to one another.
I fear this may be true. We have forgotten that we belong to one another. I pray that our citizens will make it clear that the current situation is unacceptable and that our leaders will step in and do the right thing for the sake of these kids. We must demand nothing less.