Boys…I just don’t even know how to begin. I love you. I love you so so much. More than my own life. I would do anything, ANYTHING to keep you safe.
Right now, you’re playing Minecraft, building fantasy worlds filled with mazes and TNT cannons and FNAF statues and towns that are bursting with creativity. Every few seconds I hear, “Mommy, look at this!” “Mommy, watch this!” “Mommy, look what I made!” “Mommy aren’t you ever going to finish the Resident Evil house or Husky World you started building?”
It’s bliss. Watching you, seeing your creations, marveling at your imaginations. I love it.
And yet I’m heartbroken. I’ve been crying or on the verge of tears all morning. Like so many parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, human beings, I am outraged at the news of families being torn apart at the border. I’ve been trying to channel my emotions into spreading awareness, fundraising, raging on social media, correcting misinformation, attempting humor. But this morning, I broke. It’s just too much.
This picture popped up in my Facebook memories today. Your sweet, chubby, baby faces.
I remember that day.
Every day that passes is another day closer to you being grown up, moving out, starting your own families.
There are so many days I don’t remember anymore, and I’m so glad we have so many pictures to remind me of the years that are already behind us.
So many incredible memories. Every single second I’ve had with you has made everything worth it.
Thousands of pictures to remind me of thousands of beautiful moments. I can flip through them and watch you grow up all over again.
I’m so incredibly thankful that the pictures of your childhood don’t look like this.
Thanks to Trump’s Zero Tolerance Policy, implemented in April of 2018, these are the memories thousands of parents and children will have to look back on.
Oh, hey, grownups, I’m talking to you now.
Before you jump in and say anything remotely resembling, “Well, if they didn’t break the law…” STOP. Shut up. Just….just fucking shut up.
Don’t bring up our foster care system, or abortion, or any other false equivalency.
These are the facts:
The majority of those being prosecuted now are mothers who are fleeing unimaginable violence in their own countries. They are seeking asylum.
There is TONS of information out there on this problem, you only have to look for it.
Unfortunately, the backup at our asylum entry points has resulted in families who are literally fleeing for their lives being turned away.
Now these families are trapped in Mexico. You’d think that would mean they’re still safe, better off, right?
And so these parents are faced with three choices:
1. Go back, risking their lives and the lives of their children.
2. Stay in Mexico, risking their lives and the lives of their children.
3. Cross illegally into a safe country and hope for the best.
What would you do? If you knew what was waiting for you on the other side of the border if you were caught – that you might be separated from your children, but that they would be safe – would you risk it?
OF COURSE YOU WOULD.
But until April of 2018, if you were caught entering the country illegally and you had no prior offenses, no criminal background, you were fined. Your children stayed with you. You were given a chance.
Worst case scenario, if you were detained for criminal proceedings or to be deported, you were detained together.
For many fleeing the violence in hopes of finding refuge in America, the possibility of having their children ripped from their arms and detained in a separate facility for weeks, months, years…indefinitely, wasn’t a possibility they were even aware of.
Now, after public outrage has finally begun to affect his brand, Trump has decided to fly in and play the hero. To fix the problem he created, without admitting fault of course.
At face value, it seems to solve the immediate problem of families being separated at the border.
Except it might not.
Because those who are crossing illegally, but still seeking asylum, are still breaking the law. Which means that they can (and probably will) still be separated under the Zero Tolerance Policy.
It also doesn’t appear to address the thousands of children already being detained, or how – if? – they’ll be reunited with their parents.
The fact is, the likelihood that these babies will find their way back to their families is slim. Our legal system is flooded with these misdemeanor cases now, and if you’ve ever dealt with our system you know it’s unbelievably inefficient.
And when it comes to unaccompanied immigrant children (which these minor detainees are now categorized as, because we separated them from their caregivers), it’s worse than inefficient. It’s useless.
Our government has no obligation to provide lawyers for these children, and so they don’t. Teens, adolescents, toddlers – they’re expected to provide their own defense against our immigration lawyers to avoid deportation back to the countries they were fleeing.
On and before you say: Those are from 2016! (Like that makes it better.) It’s still relevant.
Outraged? You should be.
Feeling helpless? You’re not.
You can help by donating to the non-profits that provide legal assistance to immigrants.
A good place to start? The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES). They have a bond set up specifically to provide legal assistance to the families separated at the border to help reunite them. This organization also provides legal assistance to immigrants to help them successfully navigate our system.
This is not the world I wanted my children to grow up in. I truly thought this country was better than this, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve realized that children are the lowest priority for a lot of people.
Child abuse is punished by slaps on the wrist, programs to assist families are demonized and hundreds of thousands of kids in foster care age out of the system instead of being adopted. Guns are valued over the safety of our kids in schools. Our public education system is defunded over and over again.
And now this. Psychological torment inflicted on children whose parents’ only crime was trying to keep them safe.
We can make things better, but we have to do more than just wish things were better.
We need to vote. We need to protest. We need to donate to organizations who are actively trying to help.
I love my children, I would do anything, ANYTHING to keep them safe. I know you would do the same for yours.