Imagine fleeing your home, frightened for your life. Maybe you are with your family, lucky to have been able to escape together, or perhaps fate hasn’t exactly been in your favor. Eventually, somehow, you make it to the border of the United States, a place where you hope you can find some kind of salvation from the violence tearing your country apart. You arrive, and are detained, but still brought into this place you gave up so much to get to and greeted with throngs of white faces chanting “Go back home!”.
How do you explain to these people that you can’t? That what they are yelling at you is impossible? That this “home” they speak of is ravaged by blood and fire and bullets? How do you make them understand that what they ask of you essentially could also mean your death?
For decades, the United States has been a golden land of opportunity and sanctuary. The “Land of the Free” where you can discover your destiny around any corner. The United States long has even embraced this notion. Some proudly proclaim we are a “land of immigrants”, regaling others with their tales of their great great great grandfather who sailed to the East Coast from some obscure village in Italy. We as a country once fashioned ourselves as a beacon of hope for those less fortunate, and continue to implement ourselves into the dealings and structures of other countries, spreading our doctrine of democracy.
So, why now are so many so vehemently against these people, these refugees, seeking our aid and coming to our country to escape the violence destroying theirs? Is our land of hope and prosperity no more?
Recently, on the California-Mexico border, there have been protests by members of a small town accepting detainees against migrants, primarily migrant children, coming into our country for processing. Typically, these migrants are released following this process and asked to return at a later date, however many never do and simply disappear into the masses of undocumented citizens living in the U.S. The protests were cited to have gotten so unpleasant that the detainees had to be taken some 40-60 miles away to be processed in a different city.
While it is certain that immigration reform is vital on the federal level, as our current government is woefully unequipped to handle the enormous amount of new immigrants coming here, we can’t just turn these individuals away, and we absolutely can’t turn children away. This has become a humanitarian crisis, and we need to rise to meet it.
- Rachel Nipper