EDITOR’S NOTE: When news came about ICE being in Tillamook a few weeks ago, about the fear rippling through our Hispanic community, I forwarded the information to my social service resources, and others to spread the word, but how to write about it for the larger community? With a voice from our community, Romy Carver provides an insightful look at the impacts of our broken immigration system here in our own backyard. Thanks, Romy for sharing your blogpost.
By Romy Carver
So here we are at Easter. My mind is stuck on a conversation I had with a friend who is undocumented. Tears spilled down her cheeks as she talked about losing everyone to come here with her husband and children. Obviously someone doesn’t do that unless the situation is dire. Now her husband’s father is on his death bed in Mexico, and they can’t do what most of us take for granted: go home and say goodbye.
Two of their children are U.S. citizens. They face the agonizing choice of staying here with their kids, or going home to say their goodbyes and risk being detained and/or separated from their kids. The choice is obvious, so they wait…
Imagine for a moment to be in their shoes. Fleeing hardship for your children’s safety, knowing you will probably never see your other loved ones again.
And please don’t start with the “they should have done it legally” crap, because if you say that sort of thing in reference to refugees, you don’t know anything about the current U.S. immigration system, which has made it extremely expensive and nearly impossible for anyone to “do things legally” for decades. As usual, people without money are disproportionately affected by these policies and live with the consequences of a broken system, sometimes paying with their lives.
Both of these parents work very hard to support their family. When I suggested to the mother that she apply for food stamps for her two younger kids, who are legal citizens, she refused because she wants to earn everything, even though they have struggled. Can we please trade this family for some of our current citizens? I’m still waiting to hear what Melania Trump has contributed to society to earn a “genius Visa,” and using chain migration to bring her parents here. The genius Visa is supposed to be awarded to “an alien who can demonstrate extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics through sustained national or international acclaim.” Her only claim to fame appears to be nudity, but her husband is wealthy so the system works for them. There’s your money lenders and Pharisees, right there. Meanwhile, honest and hard-working families and children endure hardship for the simple crime of being refugees, and not being able to afford to buy their way out of the problem.
If you were in church yesterday worshipping a brown refugee, while simultaneously blaming and turning your back on present day refugees, you are part of the problem. Don’t pretend you care about human suffering. If Jesus came back today, you would sooner look at his skin color and put him in an internment camp. What if His pregnant mother had been met at the border by armed militia or border control, and Mary and Joseph had been separated, while Mary went into early labor alone in a concrete cell and had miscarried? If this thought upsets you, I’ll remind you that’s what is happening to current refugees in this very country. Jesus would not be welcome in the United States today, unfortunately.
If, on the other hand you are someone who actually follows Christ instead of just putting up Easter memes, take a look around the community at people who may be having a hard time, and just be kind. Be like the innkeeper who at least had the minimal decency to offer Mary and Joseph a stable.
It’s probably also worth mentioning that ICE was in our small town a couple weeks ago and quietly took some wage earning people from their families. I don’t know who they are but I may be able to find out. Maybe as a community we can band together to help them? That’s something Jesus would do. He wouldn’t ask for a green card. He wouldn’t roll His eyes and point fingers, He’d just help.