July 9, 2018 10:55:24 AM
First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a socialist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out - because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me - and there was no one left to speak out for me.
-- Martin Niemoller
The complexities around the immigration policy debates are too many to address in a few hundred words. What may be easier to consider is why citizens in a town thousands of miles away took to the streets to rally on behalf of keeping families together who are seeking to enter this country primarily along our Southwestern borders. Why is this our concern? We are not directly affected by this mess, or are we? As legitimate news reports continue to be released surrounding the separation of families who are attempting to enter the country, is it possible that the majority of us are feeling uncomfortable? For the many who strongly feel that something has to be done to address the flow of immigrants into the county, speaking against the current immigration policy of separating families is not inconsistent with a belief in the reform of immigration laws.
Perhaps those at the recent local rally came to protest the current policy of family separation because they had read about the unaccompanied three year old who was in court alone for his hearing. Immigration lawyers across the country have told news sources that unaccompanied minors have been required to appear in court alone for some time, but with the new family separation policy being enforced, younger children are appearing in greater number. Maybe some were in attendance at the rally because they questioned the current administration's claim that immigrants commit more crimes than people born in our country and found the claims to be false. A recent NPR report indicated that upon examination of the facts, immigrants tend to commit crimes at lower rates than people who are born in this country.
Participants carrying protest signs may not be the ones you would have expected to take to the streets. Middle aged doctors, teachers, and business owners, alongside high schoolers, parents and grandparents chanting about change to the separation policy.
Each person who was present at the rally can give you a reason, or a story. Did religious beliefs drive them to act or was it the pictures and reports of the unprecedented separation of young children from their families by our government to facilities unknown to their parents? Maybe the rally was more for the participants than the families who will never hear about those in a town thousands of miles away who tried to be their voice. But maybe those in the community who can influence the country's policies will hear and listen to the simplistic message they were trying to make clear. Families belong together. Period.
Debating the circumstances of family separation is for another day. The way of enforcing the law that the current administration has chosen is the focus of the outrage, and it should be if all the churches in this town are making even a scintilla's worth of difference in how congregations are processing Christianity in real time.
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