The Border and the Both/And

After 20 years experience working with children impacted by our policies regarding the US/Mexico border, I responded to the most recent border crisis (family separation) with a reflection carried by Colorado’s oldest newspaper, The Pueblo Chieftain ( Children pay price over border policy.)

It’s about children, red/blue division and our national inability to recognize the humanity of our newly-conceived children, which may be impacting our lack of clarity concerning all our child/family separation issues.

It’s a problem of both/and, not either or.  Human dignity is human dignity, and each side of the political spectrum recognizes this truth only partially, as it suits their purpose and appeals to the base that keeps them in power.

We must do better.

Listen to Michael Martin Murphey’s haunting song “Sacred Heart” (referenced in the editorial) here:

I think of so many children and parents I’ve known every time I hear this beautiful song.  Please keep them in your prayers.


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Related post: Land of my Sojourn: Ugly Politics and our True Home.

See NPR’s “A Reagan Legacy:  Amnesty for Illegal Immigrants” for details on the proposal in play the first time I heard Michael Martin Murphey’s “Sacred Heart.”

About 20 years later I heard Fr. Benedict Groeschel speak about the continuing problem as an issue of justice.

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Photo by Denisse Leon on Unsplash.

4 thoughts on “The Border and the Both/And

  1. Thank you, for making sense and providing those links.

    Seeing immigrants and ‘foreigners’ in general as people isn’t particularly hard for me. That’s not surprising, since I was a youth in the Sixties. It’s also no particular virtue, since it’s my ‘default’ attitude.

    Remembering that following the law can make sense takes a bit more work. A lot more, sometimes.

    Recognizing that sometime following natural law – unchanging ethical principles – sometimes means breaking civil law is easy too.

    Partly for the same reason, partly because important parts of American civil law have been profoundly wrong since my youth. I hope I’ll never have an opportunity to openly defy the local and regional powers that be. The results can be messy.

    I don’t know enough about the ‘family separation’ issue to have an informed opinion.

    My ‘gut level’ response is to see folks who don’t go through official channels or don’t have all their papers in proper order and forms filled in, much as I do my ancestors. Including the unsavory ones who were ‘of low type,’ surely a threat to American ideals. I’m nearly half-Irish. 😉

    I’m learning to notice my feelings, and trust them about as far as I can throw a mountain. Thinking about the situation instead has me agreeing – almost grudgingly – with a former U.S. senator who became president: “…those who enter our country illegally, and those who employ them, disrespect the rule of law….”

    Some of my Scandinavian family crossed the border from Canada. Not, I’m told, because Canada was their first choice. American immigration policy at the time made a direct move from their homeland impractical. Did they break the law? Maybe. I’m just glad they were able to enter a less finicky country on this continent, move about a thousand miles inland and then head south. And that’s another topic.

    Thanks again!

    1. Yes indeed! I’m mostly struck by how long it’s taking for the US to deal with the situation in a humane way. We’ve looked the other way at illegal entry for a very long time (while talking it to death). The NPR piece linked here talks about how employer sanctions, part of the proposal in the eighties, was taken out of the bill–businesses wanted the laborers and didn’t want to be sanctioned for using them. So our own culpablility is a factor, though not in the strict legal vs. illegal sense in which it’s usually debated. There are a zillion strands to it when you look at cases individually. No stereotypes work here. All kinds of circumstances cause people to take the risk of crossing the border. But it seems to me that if we could get some kind of sensible identification system off the ground, it would save a lot of heartache for people who deserve better than what they’ve been getting.
      I sure appreciate your thoughts on this!

      1. Getting “some kind of sensible identification system” seems like common sense to me.

        I also feel that it isn’t a can of worms. More like a few wormy shipping containers. The 40-foot size.

        The problem, I suspect, is that few ‘important’ folks really want their payrolls, voter contact lists, or other convenient but dubious aspects of their important positions open to review.

        And that’s yet again another topic. Topics.

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