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Monday, June 24, 2019

NOT OUR KIDS?

If you don't already know it, I am a Cuban-American woman, who is immensely proud of her culture and heritage.  Not to be confused with agreeing on the politics of Cuba.  I am proud of where my family is from, my roots and the traditions that were instilled in me from a young age.  I made that choice to be proud, to carry it on with my children.  I think it is essential to NEVER forget where you came from, whether it was a boat from Cuba or Haiti, an airplane from Argentina, Venezuela, Colombia or the freakin' Mayflower!  You have to know that NO one is native to this Country, except the American Indians, but that is a whole other history lesson and article that can be written.  

For now, I want to focus on the problem we have at our doorstep and that is, hundreds and hundreds of immigrants, women and children specifically (of my concern) being held in camps, indefinitely, by the United States of America, while most citizens sit by and idly watch this happen and judge, as if somehow they are better than... 

My parents each came separately as CHILDREN, when they came to this Country at around age 12 or so. It is because each set of my grandparents saw that life where they lived was turning into a dictatorship that would no longer be a viable option to raise their children. 

Truth be told, they got LUCKY!!! The fact that they were able to enter this Country legally and easily is luck, or as religious people see it, a blessing; However, the despair of my grandparents to give their children a better life is no different than the despair that these immigrants coming in at the border feel.

The difference is they may not have the money or the resources to do so as easily or effectively, but the love of their children and NEED for a better life is the same! 

I am not speaking up or standing up for criminals but the scare tactics and fear-mongering regarding M-13 gang members has to stop.  Sure, there are criminals in the mix, but they can go back. The majority of the people being held are hard-working people, who simply seek a better life in this Country. I am vocal regarding  the families, the women, who have traversed miles and miles with their children simply for a better life.

And our response is to lock those children up and often times, just take them away?!!!

I often think of my dad with his younger siblings traveling ALONE to this Country because his parents felt at the time, that was the best choice for their safety and their future. It was a very ballsy move! One I am forever grateful for, as it affected me and my children.  That is called foresight - being able to visualize a better life, not only for yourself but for your children and their children...

I don’t know if I could ever send my kids alone to another Country for their safety, but I sure as hell would go wherever I needed to simply to protect them and give them a better life, if it came to that. I would fight for them hell or high water - which is simply what these migrants are doing.

How then, can you sit there in judgment and say, “Well, they shouldn’t have come,” or “they should know better” or “they should do it legally.”

First of all, SEEKING ASYLUM IS NOT ILLEGAL...and secondly, if you have children, you should know that you would do anything to protect them! The problem here is that people have no empathy and feel entitled once they reach a certain level of comfort.

This is the perfect example.  Listen to what Brian Kilmeade, a host of one of President Trump's favorite cable news shows, "Fox & Friends," had to say, when he was defending the Trump administration's policy of separating at least 2,500 children from parents who allegedly entered the United States illegally, he sought to put concerns about them into perspective. 

He said:  "And these are not — like it or not, these are not our kids. Show them compassion, but it's not like he is doing this to the people of Idaho or Texas. These are people from another country, and now people are saying that they're more important than people in our country who are paying taxes and who have needs as well."  (Source: The Washington Post)

Are we only American citizens now and not human beings?  Do we not have compassion for other human lives?  No one is implying that these immigrants should have more rights than American citizens, only that they be treated in a dignified manner with safe and sanitary conditions, and at the very least NOT DIE on our watch!

Children being held in U.S. detention centers, while two teenage girls watch TV.

How crappy must conditions be in their countries that they walk hundreds, maybe even thousand of miles to put up with this? This to them, is "better." Put that into perspective.

Granted, the Trump administration ended the policy of family separations, but the policy continues to affect children already in separate detention facilities (like the one shown in the image above) and this is what I am referring to, that and the fact that children are literally dying trying to enter here to seek a better life.

How dare Kilmeade  say "not our kids!?" This is infuriating, especially to those who preach constantly about being Christian and living an exemplary life. The hypocrisy is sickening. 

Of course, we have rules and laws in this Country and they should most definitely be followed but there MUST be an element of humanity and compassion in the way we treat these immigrants. I am not arguing policy and I really don't care which President is in office, we have had immigration problems in this Country for a long time.  Why?  Well, because this Country IS GREAT and people want to live here seeking a better future!  This happened under Obama administration as well, however, the detention of migrant children has skyrocketed to the highest levels ever.  

"The huge increases, which have placed the federal shelter systems near capacity, are due not to an influx of children entering the country, but a reduction in the number being released to live with families and other sponsors, the data collected by the Department of Health and Human Services suggests" (Source: The New York Times)

According to an Associate Press investigation, "It will likely be years before the tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors illegally coming to America face any action related to their immigration status.

The immigration system is broken but we are still the United States of America, you know the "great again" country? 

How is it then, that children sleeping on concrete floors, not having soap or toothbrushes, using aluminum foil (mylar blankets) acceptable? Come on now!  Are you seriously going to tell me we don't have the resources to help these people, (at least temporarily) until politicians figure this immigration policy situation out? Are you going to tell me you are okay with seeing kids in cages, fenced in (or however you want to grammatically put it) simply because they are "not our kids?!" That is just wrong on a humanitarian level.

To those of you who were once immigrants, don’t forget where you came from and remember: you got lucky and your parents or grandparents had more chutzpah than you could ever imagine.

To those of you, who like myself, were born here in the U.S.A and perhaps cannot relate, I simply ask you to be more open-minded, to have a little more compassion and understanding. You never know when a Country will be turned upside, whether by economic turmoil or poverty or dictatorship and what you would be capable of in order to protect your family, your children.

You are BLESSED.  Never take your freedom or the sacrifices your ancestors made for granted. I know I do not.

Make your voice and your vote heard, not just with the presidential election, but with every election, locally and nationally.  Stand up and fight for those who cannot fight for themselves.  That is what humanity is about, not just some self-contained happiness in your own bubble.

Life is bigger and greater than that, and so are YOU!





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