Thoughts on the family separation policy

I don’t nor­mal­ly get into pol­i­tics on a pub­lic forum, but I need to get some things off of my chest. The lat­est news about chil­dren being sep­a­rat­ed from their par­ents at the bor­der appalls me.  I have some thoughts. 

Without get­ting into what I think about the Trump admin­is­tra­tion’s myr­i­ad of scan­dals, this issue is near and dear to my heart as a par­ent.   It ter­ri­fies me to think of my chil­dren being ripped out of my arms.  Losing con­tact after­wards is unthinkable.

Jeff Sessions referred to Romans 13 when he stat­ed “obey the laws of the gov­ern­ment because God has ordained them for the pur­pose of order.”  I could not find that exact quote in any of the trans­la­tions I have, but the actu­al verse he is ref­er­enc­ing is likely:

Let every­one be sub­ject to the gov­ern­ing author­i­ties, for there is no author­i­ty except that which God has estab­lished. The author­i­ties that exist have been estab­lished by God. Consequently, who­ev­er rebels against the author­i­ty is rebelling against what God has insti­tut­ed, and those who do so will bring judg­ment on them­selves. (Romans 13:1–2 (NIV))

It would seem that Sessions is argu­ing that when a per­son enters our coun­try ille­gal­ly, they should expect the con­se­quences.  However, this ignores expec­ta­tions of due process.  Our gov­ern­ment is assum­ing that these peo­ple are guilty and apply­ing pun­ish­ment sight-unseen.

Romans 13 also states:

10 Love does no harm to a neigh­bor. Therefore love is the ful­fill­ment of the law. (Romans 13:10 (NIV))

We live in an increas­ing­ly shrink­ing world.  All peo­ple are our neigh­bors, in a sense.  Is tak­ing one’s chil­dren away from them “love?”  Is it doing “no harm?”  It is dif­fi­cult to pre­dict the long-term con­se­quences, but I don’t envi­sion many good ones.

Trump speaks of MS-13 as the immi­gra­tion bogey­man, the rea­son that we should not be allow­ing any­body into our coun­try.  I will not argue the mer­its of this asser­tion here.  Mistreating the chil­dren here for a bet­ter life does have the poten­tial to cre­ate more rad­i­cal gang mem­bers, not few­er, though.

This has had me reflect­ing me on my father’s child­hood.  He was born in Hungary and moved to the United States as a teenag­er dur­ing the cold war era, when peo­ple feared the com­mu­nist threat.  His move here was not easy; Hungary was well entrenched behind the Iron Curtain at that time.  He and his fam­i­ly were heav­i­ly vet­ted and had to jump through many hoops to be allowed to come to this country.

I rec­og­nize that his expe­ri­ence was dif­fer­ent, and that he went through dif­fer­ent chan­nels to arrive here.  He was, how­ev­er, flee­ing his coun­try and cir­cum­stances in search of a bet­ter life, just as those arriv­ing at our bor­ders are today.  His fam­i­ly was blessed with the time and resources that they need­ed to go through the process.  Many oth­ers are not, and have not been, so lucky.

I can­not imag­ine how dif­fer­ent his life would have been, had the author­i­ties sep­a­rat­ed him from his par­ents when he arrived.  He may not have met his wife.  I may not be here to write this today.  An entire gen­er­a­tional line may have been changed, or have nev­er existed.

Having chil­dren is the most basic of human rights.  It is the first com­mand that God gave to man. (Genesis 1:28)  Humans were not cre­at­ed to have chil­dren and then aban­don them.  We all need par­ents to care for us, to raise us, and to teach us right from wrong.  A gov­ern­ment can­not do that.  Our gov­ern­ment is effec­tive­ly doing the oppo­site by forc­ing these chil­dren to fend for themselves.

I find the heart­less­ness of the cur­rent pol­i­cy incom­pre­hen­si­ble.  As a father, I do not under­stand how the admin­is­tra­tion can be as cold and cal­lous when deal­ing with so many peo­ple who have done no more than hope for a bet­ter life for their children.

To sum up: the United States was once thought of as a coun­try peo­ple could come to in hopes of a bet­ter life.  How does one start anew with­out their clos­est loved ones?  How do the chil­dren learn to love and trust?

Next time: “On the con­di­tions in the hold­ing facilities”

 

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