Should I be angry? Should I be confused? Am I supposed to be conflicted in regards to the recent immigration events going on? As many of you are now aware, the immigration debate has taken a turn today. Initially, around 140 illegal immigrants are being transported to a neighboring city to be processed and released to family members in and around the Southern California area. And from what I hear, more will be arriving around the clock.
Given my background in teaching American History, I can tell you that I’m conflicted by the response of so many who are obviously ignorant to our history (and most likely, their own). Any respectable American knows that this nation is, of course, a nation of immigrants. No one is going to dispute that claim. People from all nations have flocked to this nation’s shores since the time that man decided to leave their own shoreline, traverse the oceans, and willingly flirt with the other side of the horizon. England, France, Spain, and Portugal started it all by fighting for ownership of this great land. Since then, people have flooded North American shores for the same opportunities that brought everyone else over to the New World…opportunity. I used to define it to my classes by the three “G’s”: God, Gold, and Glory.
Jump ahead to the turn of the 20th century. Another wave of Europeans, by the millions, come knocking on Liberty’s door. But here’s the intriguing part of the immigration story. The descendants of those early immigrants are now standing on the docks saying, “No thank you. Go back to where you came from. We don’t want your kind here.” An interesting turn of events. Yet despite the outcry of so many “Americans”, millions came, settled down, and made a life for themselves in America. Now getting to add the desired hyphen to who they are: ________-American.
Lets jump ahead another 100 years. Here we are again. More and more people desiring refuge in America are being met with boos and hisses. Instead of food and accommodations, they are met with protest signs and American flags meant to show them that they don’t belong here. I am disgusted. I’m distressed that Americans don’t show them hospitality and care. I’m upset that American citizens are protesting people who simply desire to have the same freedom and opportunity that they have. I was disgusted upon reading a few people’s claims on social media. “We should load them in a truck and send them back to where they came from!” “Kick them out!” “This is my country. Go away!” I wish I was joking. I’m curious to know what lengths they went through to stake their claim to the American dream. Or, were they simply born here, and are now planting their patriotic flag in their land of entitlement.
If you’re going to be out to protest anyone, it should be our government who has allowed their bickering across political lines to keep them from developing an answer to this issue. The Republicans and the Democrats are to blame. Our President is to blame. They are the ones responsible. The tens of thousands of people who have had the door held open for them, by our government agencies, are not to blame. If you had the full intention of going to Disneyland with your family, but did not have the money to get in to the park, you couldn’t go, right? Now imagine that a Disney employee opens the gate for you and your family and welcomes you in free of charge. Are you going to turn them down? Some of you would say, “Yes I would! It’s not right that I should get in to the park for free. I would decline, go and work for the entrance fees, and then return when I had enough money.” For all you know, this is a legitimate employee of the magic kingdom telling you that you are welcome to come in for FREE. Now imagine that as you are walking in to the place you’ve dreamed about, every person who paid their entrance fees was standing there booing and hissing at you. Wearing their Mickey mouse hats and t-shirts claiming that Tomorrowland and Frontierland belong to them and you should go home.
Elementary? Stupid example? Well, you peruse social media and tell me that it doesn’t fit the kind of people who are protesting these families who are seeking refuge. Those who have very little money, very little food, and most likely just the clothes on their back. Hey, but at least the Border Patrol is prepared by having 140 burritos on hand.
Ultimately, this goes to show how far we’ve decided to remove ourselves from who we once were as a nation. The Declaration of Independence. The Constitution. The Bill of Rights. What do they mean anymore? I’d even go so far as to say that the Statue of Liberty is an old relic that has no meaning. She still stands in New York harbor, but is she allowed to speak?
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Yes, I’m at odds with all of this. My patriotic-American mind is fighting with my Christianity. The struggle is to separate the two. The dichotomy of being an American-Christian is one that needs separation. My intent is to win this battle in my heart and mind and simply be a Christian who lives in America. All I am is because of what Jesus Christ did for me. Who am I to look at someone else and say they don’t belong? Rather, to live as Christ lives is to reach out in love. Did they dig trenches and hop fences to get here? Not that I’m aware of. I’m seeing that the door was opened for them. So they did nothing wrong. If they had, the tens of thousands that came across would’ve been stopped, right? Should they in time seek the proper paperwork to become American citizens, yes. Should there be a system of checks and balances that holds them accountable to seek refuge according to our laws? Of course. But I say with all my heart, stop treating them as if they don’t belong. To those that want to load them up and ship them out: how much better are you then those that said the same thing about the Africans during the slave trade? Stop treating people as if they are less than you. They are human beings, loved by God. Jesus died for you, and for them.
Yes, I admit, I still have a conflicted heart. However, I’m hoping for other perspectives on this issue. Mature perspectives. Don’t use this as a platform for your hate-filled political jargon. Feel free to comment. God bless you!!