We can’t keep quiet

I couldn’t make myself listen to the audio this week of immigrant children crying for their parents in a detention center. Like many Americans, I am appalled and am having a difficult time reading these stories. I mostly read the headlines because it is too painful to read the truth about what is happening to our country. The truth about what this administration is doing, the separation of innocent immigrant children from their parents and putting them in detention centers, a kind word for where they are being kept. Will these children ever be reunited with their parents and even if they are, the children will live with this trauma forever. Many will suffer PTSD. My mother, an American citizen, was brought up in Mexico, married at the age of 18 to my father, a Mexican citizen. They soon had three daughters, all born in Ojinaga, Chihuahua, Mexico. Times were difficult in Mexico so the family, like many immigrants before them and after them, decided to come to America, the land of opportunity. My mother and her three little girls crossed into the United States in a taxi. My mother presented her birth certificate but wasn’t asked about her daughters’ citizenship. My father crossed the river illegally. The family somehow ended at a ranch near Shafter where my father worked. Border Patrol eventually found the family at the ranch. I keep wondering, what would my mother have done if they had taken away my sisters, Enedina, Olivia and Alma. And what would she have done if my father, too, had been sent to a detention center. My mother, for all practical reasons, was in a foreign country, didn’t speak English, had no means of transportation, communication, or money. What would have happened to my sisters and my father? Because my mother was American born she was able to help my father and her three oldest daughters apply for residency and all remained as a family unit in Presidio until they were able to become legal residents, and later, naturalized U.S. citizens. Seeing the news headlines these past weeks, I kept thinking this could have been my sisters. I thank God that Trump and Sessions weren’t in power then, that their zero tolerance policy wasn’t in existence then. My parents raised 10 children, the rest of us were born in Texas. My parents were hard working, good parents, and good citizens. My parents never asked for a handout, they weren’t ever on welfare. Their story is like many others, immigrants who come to this country to find a better life for their children. I keep wondering, how can this country call itself Christian when it is doing everything but practicing Christianity. People wrap themselves in the flag of Christianity and turn around and separate children from their mothers. This is child abuse perpetrated by our government. How far will we let this go? This administration lies and cheats and hurts people, takes our rights away, is demolishing our democracy. We will wake up one day and find ourselves under an authoritarian thumb unless we let our voices be heard. Saying that the zero tolerance policy is a Democrat-created policy is a lie. Trump spews lies like a sailor spews bad words, one after another. During President Obama’s administration, Hondurans and Guatemalans fleeing violence in their countries were given temporary asylum, “catch and release” was Obama’s policy. They were given ankle bracelets to keep track of them and eventually went before an immigration judge where their case was disposed of, either they could stay in the country or were deported, but babies were not taken from their mother’s arms and put in detention centers. During that time, my husband and I were on a flight with a young Honduran woman and her baby. She was fleeing violence in her village. She courageously traveled with her tiny baby and a little backpack, crossing Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico before she arrived in Juarez. At the El Paso port of entry she asked for asylum, was taken to a detention center with her child who she was breastfeeding at the time. An immigration judge granted her temporary asylum, they put an ankle bracelet on her to track her in the U.S., but she had her baby with her. The baby had not been ripped from her arms like our government is doing today. An El Paso Catholic organization purchased her flight tickets, as she was travelling to another state where she had family. I worry about all those thousands of immigrant children, some in tents in Tornillo near El Paso with temperatures over 100 degrees. Even if the tents are air conditioned, this isn’t healthy for their bodies or minds. The events unfolding today in our country are so similar to Nazi Germany, when parents were separated from their children, husbands separated from their wives, all to face extermination in gas chambers or the firing squad. This mustn’t continue, or will citizens continue to wrap themselves in the flag of Christianity and say Trump is making America great. Who is next? LGBTQ people? Blacks are already being killed with impunity, and Muslims are pilloried, anyone who isn’t Anglo Saxon. How did we get here? How could our country created by immigrants become so racist, and dare I say un Christian. I can’t keep quiet any longer! When Hitler begin his round up and killing of Jewish men, women and children, the German people kept quiet, and countries kept quiet. I say, we can’t keep quiet any longer.