Children on the border

  • Wednesday, July 16, 2014

“You’ve really done it now,” Mojo said as he watched Isabelle and me begin a commentary on immigration.

“I’d better get back up in the attic and find that old helmet from your military days and go out into the yard and dig fox holes. We are sure to get incoming fire.”

Isabelle looked up, “put a sock in it Mojo. This is an important issue that needs to be discussed.”

“Whoa, hold the phone guys. Retract your claws. Mojo, Isabelle is right. Our nation is at a crossroads when it comes to immigration.

“Ground zero for the crossroads might just be the 50,000 children who are on our southern border. It seems to me that our challenge is to be a nation of laws while retaining the values inscribed on the statue of Liberty.’Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breath free.....’

“The law has room for compassion. Undocumented persons in this country, even if they are just nine years old, have the right to a hearing to determine if they meet the criteria for refugee status. “I hope the hearing process will be taken seriously for the children on the border and that they will have legal council to help them.”

“Sounds like you’ve got more invested in this than I thought.”

“Very astute Mojo. The majority of the children come from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Those nations share a bloody history of civil war and a current status of being the violent turf of drug cartels smuggling cocaine to the north.

“Some years ago I was in El Salvador as part of a delegation. Just as we arrived, the director of the country’s human rights organization was murdered. A friend and I paid our respects at the cathedral where the human rights leader lay in state.

“We were walking back to our hotel. The hairs on the back of my neck began to stand up. I glanced behind me. We were being followed by a black Suburban with tinted windows. The vehicle of choice of the death squads. Luckily, I think they were only sending us a message; we are watching you.

“I can’t imagine what it is like for a child to grow up in the midst of that kind of anxiety day after day.

“And you know guys, our faith has something to say to all this. All religious traditions call followers to welcome the sojourner, the stranger.

“And a case can be made in our faith tradition, that Jesus and his family were refugees fleeing a scary situation, Herod’s death squads.

“Sounds like you’ve starting to preach.”

“Well, Isabelle, sometimes preaching is needed.”

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