Build A Wall, or Save The Children?

 

Image result for yahoo images, border crossers, kids

“The USA has to protect its borders.”

“Border crossers are breaking the law.”

“If they die in the desert, it’s their own fault.”

In response to sentiments like these, Mr. Trump thunders, “Build a WALL!”

I wonder if Mr. Trump knows what I now know: many would-be immigrants are children, who are deeply loved by their parents.

So deeply loved, that their parents pay a small fortune they cannot afford to have their kids led through the desert by “coyotes” (smugglers)  in the faint hope that they can cross the Mexican/US border into freedom.

Image result for yahoo images, border crossers, kids

Does that surprise you?

It surprised me, because that’s not what I’m hearing from the media.  I hear about drug smugglers, murderers, and thieves climbing our inadequate wall, intent upon invading America.  I hear about valiant border patrol agents keeping America safe against overwhelming odds.

But then I saw this movie on YouTube:

 

…and I realized it was a lot more complicated than that.    I realized it was about poverty and violence and how people of faith like me choose to respond to the least among us.

In the first 6 months of the 2016 fiscal year, over 27,000 unaccompanied children were apprehended by border patrol agents at the US-Mexico border.

“The root causes that are driving children out of Central America have not changed, and that’s violence in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras,” explained Wendy Young of Kids in Need of Defense (KIND). She said the threats are “caused by gangs and criminal cartels who are very specifically and viciously targeting children at very young ages.”

“Seeking asylum is not illegal immigration,” Young notes. “And it is the right thing for these children and families to do because they are fleeing violence in their home country; they are a refugee population.”

Yet, many of these children are deported after a hasty trial they cannot understand.

Jesus would be appalled.  His attitude towards children is very clear:

“Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, ‘Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me, welcomes not me but the one who sent me.”  (Mark 9: 36-27)

But just what does it cost, to welcome Jesus in the person of a traumatized child?  Can America afford it?  After all, children need secure, stable places to live, food to eat, and education.   This doesn’t come cheap.

But neither does building a wall.  The “super wall” Mr. Trump wants to build is estimated to cost $15-25 billion dollars, not counting maintenance.    Mexico isn’t keen to foot that bill.

Neither am I.

As a minister and a pragmatist, I think it makes far better sense to spend those billions ensuring these children and their families receive the protection and the care they so desperately seek.  These brave kids deserve a better life.

And we deserve a better America, not a bigger wall.

 

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9 thoughts on “Build A Wall, or Save The Children?

  1. Thanks! This is such a complex issue I hardly knew where to start. Then I thought of Descartes, of all the unlikely people. There was definitely a method to his (un)madness.

    This 17th century thinker routinely took the most complex problems of his day and broke them down into ever smaller bits, then built them back up again. Somehow in the process, things became clearer.

    As a Christian, I realized that my centering focus is the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, and his ongoing presence in the world via persons of faith. That is elemental to my position on any issue. That made things a whole lot clearer. Discovering your axioms usually does!

    Of course Descartes was talking about math problems (!) but I believe his method can work for analyzing the extremely complex systems that underlie the pernicious ills of our world. At any rate, it’s one tool in the toolbox and every little bit helps.

    Thanks for stopping by!

    Kathy

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    • Hi Kathy
      As I read your article a second time, another question for me arose. In your article you write:
      “As a minister and a pragmatist, I think it makes far better sense to spend those billions ensuring these children and their families receive the protection and the care they so desperately seek.”
      This statement prompted me to wonder where you stand on the increasing police violence against unarmed African Americans and the hundreds of young black men and women killed by police over the past years? Many of the victims have been children, several as young as 12 years of age, and unarmed. Why aren’t we as a nation demanding justice for these American lives and the pain endured by their families.? Is it a question of classism, where the poor and the those with the least in our society are not deserving of our love and compassion? Just wondering what your thoughts were on that and why there was no comparison made to what is going on in our own backyard?
      These are just questions to begin a discussion.
      Thanks for the in-depth post.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for reading and re-reading! How cool. I’ll try to address some of your questions, and hopefully touch on more of them in my next post – which your comments inspired.

        I believe that it is a tragedy of nightmarish proportions, that so much police violence is directed against blacks and people of color. It may be classism, as you suggest. I also believe an element of dehumanization is in play.

        But to me, all of that begs the question of why these systems arise in the first place. Why is xenophobia so pronounced, even among the people who are charged with protecting EVERYONE in a given community?

        I believe that I’ve found an important clue, which I intend to blog about. As for why I didn’t compare the deaths of undocumented border crosser children with the deaths of young blacks at the hands of the police, it’s because that deserves a post of its own. Does this clarify?

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  2. This is a great post. A very readable (nice use of the video) and educational look at a tough subject. It is really hard to sort through all the misinformation around immigration, and much easier for people to rely on a a sparse narrative that suits their ideological agenda. You have challenged that in a very positive way.

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  3. Hi Kathy, thanks for your moving and pragmatic post. I appreciated reading the figures associated with this most human of issues, of course, but also the very human face at the forefront. That video added an element of urgency to your commentary. It is always easier to stay indifferent when we simply shout at a problem rather than engage it. From his public persona (which is all we have to go by, I suppose), Mr. Trump appears to lack empathy and I worry that his words are ginning up fear in the places we need empathy most. Succinct, relevant coverage of these issues is important, but putting a face on them is vital. Thanks, again, for sharing your words with the blogosphere. We are better for having your voice in the mix.

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    • Thanks! I’m not sure any of us has met the ‘real’ Donald Trump yet. What frightens me is that I’m not sure HE has either. And the indicators are not good… Thanks for reading.

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  4. I very much appreciate the style and flow of this post. You hook me with questions and aggressive statements that are tough to reconcile. You add specific context in word, photo, and video to appeal to my brain and heart through various senses. And even though you’re not dogmatic, you make a clear case for actually making America great.

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  5. The main cause for migration in Latin American countries is poverty, the second one is political persecution or insecurity (like in the north of Mexico, or Colombia before the agreement of peace a few weeks ago)
    There are many reasons why poverty is present in the world, and one of this is the fact that poverty is not a natural way of human being, it is action of impoverishing people, using rules to imposed a way of production by multinational corporations in Latin America (which is our particular case)
    Latin America is not a poor continent; our people has been impoverishing by national and international political powers, and then the population decides to emigrate to find another opportunity of life, in this case, USA. For that reason, poverty is a crime; there is not a valid argument to legitimate the existence of poverty in our rich lands; only the lack of opportunities and education, including the maldistribution of the wealth by the economic and political system, which is in hands of those who make laws to legitimate the super-wealthy improvements of rich, and the ideological legitimation of the marginalized and poor. Poverty is a crime; and emigrants follow a hope to change a place to live, also putting in risk their own life in the process. They think that USA is the promise land, the land of life; …and, they don’t know that this country is already occupied; there is not place to them here, but doesn’t matter, they will work hard to survived.

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