I sat down Monday after work, knowing that what I was about to do would break what was left of my already-breaking heart. I listened to the cries of children being separated from their parents. And I cried with them. My own daughters heard me and came to comfort me – and thought, what a luxury. What a luxury to have won the birth lottery – for me, my husband, and my daughters to have been born into a safe country, into relative affluence, and of course, into white skin. What a luxury for our family to have the chance to comfort each other when we are sad and fearful.
Right this moment, children like mine are sleeping in cages. Right now, parents like me are panic-stricken with the pain of not knowing where their children are and how they're being treated. Right now, plans and logistics are being made to create tent cities (or more accurately, internment camps) so that those children can sleep outside in the heat of a Texas summer, surrounded by guards ordered not to hug or comfort them. Right now, they are wailing for their parents while we check Facebook and take our kids to soccer practice.
Please, just close your eyes for two minutes and be there with them in your mind. Can you not feel their pain and fear? Can you not hurt with them? Or have you bought into the idea that they are somehow different than you and your kids? Have you bought into the idea that they are somehow less than human because they are not American? If you haven't already, take a listen ( https://www.propublica.org/article/children-separated-from-parents-border-patrol-cbp-trump-immigration-policy )
If tears aren't rolling down your face by now, you have lost a part of yourself somewhere along the way. You, too, have won the lottery, and now you don't want to share the spoils.
If you must (and believe me, I wish you wouldn't), you can keep your position on illegal immigration and still find compassion for these children and admit this policy is wrong. But if you've ever lobbied your school to get your kid into the class with the best teacher, if you've ever worked the system to give your kid a leg-up with the financial aid department at college, if you've ever called a teacher to address his or her “unfairness” to your child, if you've ever shielded your child from the minor daily hurts of social exclusion, losing a game, failing a test or not getting the latest and greatest tech device – then you cannot tell me you can't understand parents who take the ultimate risk to get their kids to safety.
You cannot tell me that MS-13 is evil and then fault parents who are trying to protect their kids from gang violence by attempting to cross our borders. You cannot spend more money on your kid's 9th birthday party than the average monthly income in El Salvador and then talk to me about the “unfairness” of illegal immigration. You cannot convince me that you support this policy because you respect the rule of law if you voted for the guy because he was selling a border wall and then stand by as his administration breaks every ethics law on the books.
People are hungry and terrified and they are doing what every parent would do under those circumstances – whatever it takes. Whatever it takes to protect their kids. They're human, you see, like you, like me. Trump and his cadre of rich, white henchmen like to call them animals, but actually, they're humans. Humans who didn't do as well in the birth lottery as you did.
There are causes and conditions that have led to these mass migrations that the hard-right all over the world is railing against. Much of the time, American or European dominance created those causes and conditions. All of the time, the wealthiest grab as much as they can, wielding power and influence, while those left behind are excoriated for fighting for survival. If you support this kind of policy, I'll remind you that you probably like to think of the Nazis as “bad guys.” But this is how it happens, you see. Leaders dehumanize a group of people so their followers feel justified in, say, putting them into camps. Into treating them like animals. Once again I ask - as I've had to ask too many times since November 2016 – how will history view the people who support this?
A Quinnipiac University poll found that while 66 percent of Americans oppose family separation, 55 percent of Republicans support it. If you're one of the 55%, you should probably unfriend me now. Because I choose “them.” Every time.