It has come to an epic confrontation for all American Catholics and Christians. Politicians, families, friends, religious affiliations, and work associations once in comfortable silos have been shattered by a crisis of conscience over immigration. They have to face each other across the divide of rich and poor, red or blue, pro-Trump or not.
There is real fear out there for the American middle class. We cannot deny that global poverty is driving a refugee crisis across the globe. Still we need the labor force as well, both skilled and unskilled:
Unfortunately our nation wants the labor without the responsibility. These are complicated issues. The above caption could be mistaken for drugs being sold over the border or for our demand for cheap labor. America demands both from our southern neighbors. Right now Delaware is short workers for our Crab industry.
However, for Catholics and Christians it is not complicated. We do not have that luxury for an excuse to be overwhelmed by complexities. There is a moral issue here that we are well-versed in defending – Right to Life.
“There are no single-issue saints.”
Charles Camosy, a theology professor at Fordham University, presents the case for Right to Life supporters to stand up against the inhumane treatment of refugees seeking asylum and their children: “https://www.americamagazine.org/politics-society/2018/06/22/pro-life-groups-have-obligation-call-out-trump-immigration.” We cannot remain silent on immigration while claiming to be pro-life. Charles makes a detailed case above on this so let’s focus on immigration.
Prior to Donald Trumps 2000 dollar a day per child tender age shelter system, some of us were comfortable being arm-chair politicians, flag wavers, moral voices, fiscal hawks, healthcare advocates, and various other forms of prognosticators. Yes, Red and Blue clashed and dug in on various issues with vigor and hubris. And yes Red and Blue alike took hypocritical stances on practically every issue. This issue below has risen above that standard to our government being the actors committing the separation of children and parents and then trying to deny responsibility.
Today we have a President who is blaming the democrats for lack of a comprehensive immigration reform policy when the GOP defeated bi-partisan compromise bills under Bush and Obama Administrations and recently told congress to not bother trying until after November. Wait for the red wave as 1800 of 2300 children remain separated from their parents. His followers and supporters are looking for cover under any rock: blame Obama, blame Clinton, blame Mexico, blame judges, blame democrats, blame South America, blame mothers with children fleeing violence, blame M3, and anything that will divert from a Stephen Miller idea to up the ante on immigration by changing strategy and separate children from their parents. This cannot go on.
So it is with a heavy heart that I write to democrats, republicans, family, friends, and anyone who reads this article to oppose the current administrations stance towards our southern neighbors. I do not ask you to oppose Trump, or strong borders, or comprehensive immigration policy.
I ask you to not be silent on the practice of separating children from parents and to denounce the politics of hate and deceit by any party or elected politician. Camosy spoke out, and despite his Catholic “pedigree”, was attacked by fellow Catholics and Evangelical Christians. He is aware that this is required of him, to stand-fast for the truth. You too may have to risk leaving the comfortable bubble of Trumpian identity politics just on this one issue.
Our first fight is with each other on the sole narrow issue of is it wrong to separate children from their parents in the vast numbers and manner conducted by this administration.
Our second fight is with government on passing a comprehensive immigration bill that is based on real numbers, economic needs of our country, safety, and Christian compassion.
Our third fight extends past our borders into the geopolitical reality of world poverty and violence that is driving the immigration crisis world-wide. Donald Trump is not our fight, as he has said he inherited this issue. He does not have the staff around him to develop and create a reasonable and compassionate solution.
The Tempation of Jesus in the Desert · “The Human Temptations of Our Divine Lord”
Ultimately we all have a confrontation in front of us that looms much larger: A confrontation with Christ and God the almighty. As Jesus had to fight off Satan we must fight off evil in our midst as well and confront it when it is uncomfortable to do so.
It is not at our deathbed where we have this confrontation but in the million decisions we make before we get there. This confrontation supersedes all of the previous confrontations above – though each of those are important. Without love for our neighbor in the midst of a national crisis we will only perpetuate the culture of hate and division. I may not reach you in this issue. Yet I recognize inside you a person to be loved who shares the suffering of every sojourner on this earth with me. I am not free of error or obstinancy myself. May the Holy Spirit guide me and our Nation to do the right thing.
We must confront the policy – not the people. We must not accept distraction and obfuscation.
The refugee crisis is larger than we can fathom in the long run. Vilifying the desperate will not solve our dilemma. I could quote bible scripture here – but do not need to present that to this audience. If you are Christian you know our roots as immigrants and Christ teachings. If you are not Christian, presumably you have read this far as you have a conscience and are curious how a nation of Christians can support such a stance. The answer is we cannot without compromising our faith:
“The pope, who has placed the issues facing migrants at the center of his papacy, also stepped into the issue, saying in an interview with the Reuters news agency that he agreed with statements by U.S. Catholic bishops, who called the separations “immoral” and “contrary to our Catholic values.” He added that “populism” and “creating psychosis” are not the way to resolve migration problems.
In this policy we create the action and the separation. We tore children away from their parents. Sometimes we try to impose laws for the good of others (i.e. abortion for the unborn and those who perform or choose an abortion) even though (I hope) we are not or have been in the position to consider this action. In this case we are fighting for a law against what we do as a nation – not what others might do. We are responsible.
This is our mugshot together.
We cannot remain divided. I have heard people ask what would Jesus do? Or could we in all honesty defend this policy with a “Christ stamp of approval.” If you are not Christian, can you stamp this policy as being humane?
Please write your representatives with prudence and compassion, especially if you are republican. The party in power needs to hear from there base. They do not fear democrats – they fear Donald Trump’s core base. Without them they have seats in jeopardy. Be there for them in November but be there for the immigrant children today. Of course Democrats and independents you cannot idly watch and not act as well. Our hands are as dirty as the rest – if not more so – who am I too judge?
A letter from the heart is best. However, if you are not the letter writing type here is a sample: https://ignatiansolidarity.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Sample-Letter-to-Congress-Immigration.pdf.
Perhaps e-mailing is more expeditious? Find your representative here: https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative.
Godspeed that this read may move you to advocate for the defenseless children at our southern border (while maintaining your political ideology). No images of children or mass refuges behind Nazi concentration camp fences in this post – just a direct appeal to your sense of humanity for families fleeing one horror and finding themselves in another at our southern border.
“We are now witnessing the highest levels of displacement on record. An unprecedented 68.5 million people around the world have been forced from home. Among them are nearly 25.4 million refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18. There are also an estimated 10 million stateless people who have been denied a nationality and access to basic rights such as education, healthcare, employment and freedom of movement.” UNHCR
Think we have our unfairshare?