“no one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark”
– Warsan Shire
There is a time for holy anger. That time is now. I am asking you to be angry with me, and I want you to turn your anger into action.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions quoted the Bible as justification to separate children from their parents at the U.S. southern border. The Trump administration just overturned asylum protections for victims of domestic and gang violence. Since these heartless policies have been enacted, more than 11,000 children have been taken from their parents according to NBC News last week. These families have been systematically torn apart by our government’s immigration enforcement.
Some of these beautiful people are coming to LCS Northwest now for help with immigration, asylum services and counseling. There are many, many more we don’t know about. I am a better person for breaking bread with them and listening to their stories.
One of our primary goals at LCS Northwest is to keep children safe and families together. The stories we hear everyday from the border are horrifying. We know from experience that no one leaves home and risks their family’s lives unless the fear of staying is even greater. It is unconscionable to add to this trauma by tearing children away from their parents. The trauma these children are suffering will likely impact them negatively for their entire lives.
Those who ask for protection at our borders are doing nothing illegal. Family unity is a right enshrined in U.S. law, which recognizes that strong families are the cornerstone of our society. Further, the right to seek asylum is protected by both U.S. and international law. It’s time for us to follow these laws.
The safest place for children is with their families and in communities that care. We need to ensure safety and representation. Surely, as as a nation, we can protect our borders while NOT inflicting cruel trauma on vulnerable children.
These new policies toward immigrants and asylum seekers are not only un-American – they are evil. I do not use that word carelessly. I cannot pretend to diagnose the people creating and enforcing these policies. However, I can say it flies in the face of “love thy neighbor as you love yourself.”
This cruelty started with the first travel ban that targeted predominantly Muslim countries. It has graduated into a policy that purposely separates children from their parents, as a “deterrent” to seek refuge in America.
Right now, more than 200 moms are being held in the SeaTac Detention Center – in our own backyard. Most of these mothers did not have the chance to say goodbye to their children. This cruelty goes against my faith. I do not see it as a partisan issue. Most Republicans I know are just as disgusted by this practice as my friends who are Democrats. ALL of us need to speak out against separating children from families no matter who or where they are.
President and CEO
Lutheran Community Services Northwest
What can you do?
- Contact your elected officials. Let them know where you stand on this issue and ask them to take measures to immediately halt the forced separation of children from their parents. Here is a link to find your representatives’ email addresses:
- Coordinate a food or hygiene drive. We are out of food and hygiene supplies for our asylum seekers. Go to this website for details and who to contact.