Immigration: First Do No Harm, and Then . . .
Immigrants! Getting emotional yet? Isn’t it amazing that these people and how we treat them can be so sad, so disheartening, so angry-making and now even hopeful? It’s hopeful that people have reacted and aren’t willing to put up with making children pay for the “crimes” of adults.
As long as we recognize that none of the major “issues” being discussed now is an immigration policy, we may be on the right track. There are many facets to immigration, solutions and helpful actions that we are not discussing at all, but it’s also obvious that we need to begin by showing our humanity and treat them as human beings: first do no harm.
Thank you to those who are speaking up. Imagine the difference it makes in people’s lives—their health, well-being and even their longevity. Every day we hear more from doctors and therapists about the incredible life-time harm we could be doing to both the kids and their parents.
The image I saw that captured me (pictured here) was from a video that appeared on several network news shows. A very young girl is standing in front of an ICE agent who is reaching his hands out and motioning for her to be picked up.
With one hand she is touching a woman with a purse overflowing with colorful butterflies. Her other hand is pulled back against her upper thigh. At her age, can we consider her expression as anything more than a reflection of what she is feeling?
The DOJ may think she is contemplating her legal options—I don’t think so.
I wonder where she is now. Was she separated? Reunited? Could she tell people who she was? Or who her parents were? At age three kids often know 200 words or more and can string together 3-4 word sentences. Given their whole life is ahead of them, this is who we punish the most. Numerous stories have been told of kids 10-12 years-old that can’t stop crying. What’s separation like for a girl this young?
Kids are special. When I shop I often see their wide-eyed and embracing looks. Is that innocence what we are destroying? What replaces that open exploratory spirit when this happens to them?
Unfortunately, none of what the Administration is doing helps. Every day we hear of new techniques they devise to turn people away. Offering to reunite parents with kids if they drop their request for amnesty, for instance. Denying bonds. All come from the same rule book that can be described only as mean and inhumane.
Some have entered illegally and some have not. Some ask for amnesty, which is not a crime—and certainly not one punishable by losing your child.
Once they get here, what’s the difference? Do we treat them differently? More like human beings? Not really.
Libertarian columnist George Will recently said that any “zero tolerance policy” on its face is objectionable. Zero tolerance, he said, ends the thinking process. It does remove the human element and discernment that we apply when we look at different circumstances.
If we think about it, does building a fence—in some areas and not others— along a very long border, or putting people in detention centers solve our immigration problems? Will even getting rid of ICE, if that’s all we do?
Recent polls show both political parties agree on a lot of the immigration issues. DACA, for instance. Let’s look at the bigger picture and build a consensus—by exploring options.
Rather than be fixing the immediate problems and after adding a human perspective, there are two “given” elements to recognize.
One is that life began for homo sapiens in Africa and shortly after people became illegal immigrants and squatters—or maybe they began as intruders. The only question is when you or someone in your family tree were intruders. Don’t forget we punish kids around here for what their parents do, so none of you are innocent.
If you claim innocence you need to turn yourself in to a Space Cadet for intergalactic deportation.
The other thing good to remember is that the immigrant “problem” is universal. It’s happening everywhere—and causes chaos—all over the world. Are we really oblivious to the millions of immigrants being detained around the world? Can building a partial wall along the border with major gaps in it as the only solution realistic? We’ve had one for years already.
Ideally, don’t we want to look, investigate and explore the conditions that force people to leave? More are coming and moving ¾ of the world in with ¼ of the world is not a workable plan, either.
We should notice that immigrants coming here now are mostly from Central America. Why? Mexico’s economy is doing better—and more people want to be at home than leave unless they see no opportunity to better their lives—or their life is threatened.
Besides, we need immigrants. Hasn’t anyone noticed our population is declining? That’s in addition to ageing, a separate, but related issue.
Are there better ways to help integrate new immigrants to “our” society? What kind of immigrants do we need? Did you know that 50% of our agricultural workers are undocumented? We need the unskilled workers.
There’s a lot to think about and question. But let’s start without the prejudice of party positions or thinking there are simple fixes.
Are there steps we can take to relieve the pressures that force people to come here? If we studied it, we may discover our policies now help create gangs.
Ultimately we are looking for how you build a society that fits today’s world. Let’s see what we need and explore how to build communities. Some of our cities really need help.
Homeland Security has the power to deal with terrorists. They can go after them and incarcerate them without a trial. Instead of going after gangs, they went after the kids.
It’s inspired me to look at immigration closer. If the motivation is to stop terrorism, why are we giving these kids the kind of traumatic experiences that actually create terrorists?