In perhaps the best-known inaugural address in U.S. history, Franklin D. Roosevelt calmly declared, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” Jesus tells us the same thing in John 14, to “let not your heart be troubled…neither let it be afraid.” Often fear is used as a weapon to galvanize movements or to garner support, but a cause built on fear rather than hope, grounded in anxiety rather than truth, is a cause destined to fail.
When it comes to the current policies of the United States Federal Government and to the political climate in general, on both sides of the aisle, I am concerned that our human inclination toward isolationism and protectionism may in fact be drowning out our better angels of reason and compassion.
No one is disputing the need to protect our borders. In fact, at the end of the Obama administration, illegal immigration was at a 40 year low in this country after being at an all-time high just a decade or so beforehand. Nor is anyone arguing the need to be watchful and to keep vigilance. Strength and wisdom are not opposing values.
But when a government enforces an ambiguous policy that separates parents from children, fathers from sons, daughters from mothers, and then relies on that same government to make sure their kids are placed in the hands of family members rather than strangers, the pendulum has swung too far. "America First" may be a fine campaign slogan, but it is not the gospel of Christ.
Is it just me, or have we forgotten that every event of domestic terrorism in this country, aside from Pearl Harbor, has happened at the hands of U.S. citizens or those we were here legally, not illegally? For every MS-13 threat from without, there are a thousand threats from within. If we’re not careful, we may very well build a wall without a castle (watch the first 5 minutes of this sermon).
In cases of domestic violations, the USFG is often required by law to separate families. In the cases involving the US border, they are not, nor have they ever been. It seems to me that we ought to ere on the side of compassion when children are involved. There are recorded documentations of children not being able to be placed with their parents again because the federal government is not the best keeper of records (IRS anyone?).
I recognize our country has challenges, but using children as pawns is not the solution. The USFG seems ill prepared at best to enforce this new policy given that children are sleeping on floors and in tents. Many of these families are either looking for work or fleeing from persecution. Doesn't mean they should be rewarded for crossing the border, but neither should we be penalizing their kids. Let these children remain with their families while their cases are being reviewed, as the policy has been for decades. To do otherwise is not only fearful; it’s simply inhumane.