The Ugly Cry (Part 2)
It was never my intention to go silent. I knew what I had to write about. I knew the source of my ugly cry's tears. But I didn't know how to share what was waging war on my brain and my heart.
I was afraid I would be misunderstood. I was afraid I'd be ignored. I was mostly afraid that those I told wouldn't care.
I can't even tell you how many drafts of this I have written, edited, and erased. So, I finally decided I would just write and then post. Because this hasn't left my heart or brain. It's still important. It still needs to be talked about.
Watching the stories of immigrant families being separated at the border from my computer while sitting in Costa Rica was extremely difficult for me. Not only because it is just plain wrong to separate children from loving parents. We know that separation causes trauma. We know that detention causes trauma. We know that being in a place where you cannot clearly communicate with those in authority causes trauma. And there is plenty of research to explain why detaining asylum seekers, and especially separating families is just wrong. The US government in their review of immigration two years ago stated, "Detention is neither appropriate nor necessary for families." I hope I don't need to bother spending time explaining why this was and is (as all children have not been returned to their families) just wrong.
The thing that broke my heart was the conversations I heard surrounding me. It's Trump's fault. No, its Obama's fault. Well, we can't just open the borders and let everyone who wants to come in walk right on in. We need order. We need rules. They need to go back home. Us versus them.
Two MAJOR problems I have here...
US History 101: The United States is made up of immigrants. The Native American, or FIRST people, community only makes up 2% of the US population, according to the 2015 Census. That includes people who indicate mixed heritage. So, 98% of the US population claims a heritage of immigrants. So it absolutely blows my mind that there is an us versus them mentality. When did we forget exactly who we are? Who we were?
Secondly. according to Raices Texas (raicestexas.org), 85% of people in immigration detention centers in Texas are from Central America. Most commonly from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatamala. I love Central America. I've lived in Costa Rica for 12 years. I have traveled quite a bit throughout Central America and I have friends in each country in the region.
Anyone who knows anyone from Central America, knows two things about them. They are extremely family oriented and they love their country. I've never known anyone to love their families and countries more. I can't explain the amount of fear and desperation it would take for a family to choose to leave. Or for a mother to send her child away. Or for someone to leave their extended family in hopes that maybe they might be granted asylum in the United States. The situations these immigrants are leaving are extreme.
A friend of mine who lives in El Salvador had a gang boss show up on his doorstep one day and tell him that he had two days to leave the city with his family, or they would be killed. The threat was real. My friend knew of other families in which no one was spared. Families where children were tortured and killed in front of the parents before their lives were also taken.
Raices Texas also states that 90% of murders of women committed in Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala go un-prosecuted. Where do you go when the threat on your life is real and the authorities do not care? Where do you turn when the police and government officials are known for their corruption?
How desperate do you have to be to pack your bags and make a treacherous journey towards a detention cell in the US while seeking asylum?
My heart continues to break for this broken world. I'm glad I'm a part of an organization that is changing the lives and futures of Central Americans. I believe that Central America is a beautiful place to live and raise a family, but there is also a lot of brokenness and terror.
I just wish that everyone would take the time to hear some immigrant's stories. I pray that we would all continue to fight to make each part of this world a better, safer place. And I pray that we could remember that we are all just humans trying to survive and thrive.
And that maybe you would take a second to pray for the nearly 3,000 (mostly Central American) children and teenagers being detained in the tent city detention center in Tornillo, Texas - that they might know that there is a God who sees them, knows their names and their stories, and loves them deeply. They are on my heart tonight.