“Children and the Border”
Contrary to what United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions says, God did not “ordain” his Justice Department’s orders to separate children from their mothers and fathers at the border for any reason.
So, says Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: “While protecting our borders is important, we can and must do better as a government, and as a society, to find other ways to ensure that safety. Separating babies from their mothers is not the answer and is immoral.”
Supporting Sessions, the White House’s Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says “I can say that it is very biblical to enforce the law. That is repeated throughout the Bible.”
Joining Roman Catholics in proclaiming the undercutting of our collective morality are some prominent Evangelical Christians in a letter to President Trump who is President today because of hard-core Evangelical Christian support. In the letter they state:
“As evangelical Christians guided by the Bible, one of our core convictions is that God has established the family as the fundamental building block of society. The state should separate families only in the rarest of instance…a “zero tolerance” policy removes that discretion—with the effect of removing even small children from their parents.”
Laws and policies aside, a deeply disturbing defense of the Administration’s policy by Attorney General Sessions and Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders based on the Bible is abhorrent. It is not a law. The Bible is not the law either.
It is a policy generated in the Trump White House by ultra-anti-immigrant ideologue Stephen Miller that uses as its basis, court decisions that Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama encountered when they flirted with the child situations during their presidencies.
Hundreds of children are being separating from their mothers every day. 1900 in the past six weeks. Over 11,000 children are enmeshed in a system many criticize.
The problems of children at the border unaccompanied or otherwise are more than court rulings and anti-trafficking laws, they are moral and values problems we must face.
Roman Catholic churchmen and organizations like Catholic Charities as with Evangelicals like Franklin Graham and hundreds, if not thousands, of Evangelical Christian leaders have objected to the Trump policies that have ensnared over 11,000 children from Central America into nightmarish situations so reminiscent of “internment” of American citizen children from Japanese-origin families in 1942.
Joining the rising cacophony of objections to the Trump policy of holding children at the border are Mrs. Donald J. Trump and former first lady, Laura Bush. Melania Trump’s statement on the subject does not equal the outright criticism of Mrs. Bush but it does highlight the problem.
Like most Americans I am far removed from these 11,000 children being held by the U.S. government and am especially far removed from the hundreds of children caught up in the current Stephen Miller–Jeff Sessions—Donald J. Trump “zero tolerance” but almost 60 years ago, my life was blessed with my friendship with Kengo Hayashi with whom I shared a birthday.
He was born a two-years before I was. He was born in San Diego in 1939 to parents whose grand-parents had immigrated here from Japan. We were in the U.S. Marines together. We were in Boot Camp together. During the precious free time we had, we talked about our “exotic” backgrounds that was so different than those of our fellow Marine “boots.”
My story of the long days of train travels from and through Mexico and Texas to California for me to arrive in San Diego though entertaining did not measure up to Kengo’s first memories of life in a desert camp – Manzanar — surrounded by barbed wire and guarded by U.S. soldiers carrying Thompson sub-machine guns. Kengo was almost three years old. His crime, being descended from Japanese immigrants.
Do his stories compare to the stories that will be told by the 11,000 or more Central American children held in government facilities guarded by rent-a-cops? The one big difference is that Kengo was not separated from his mother by the government as so many of these kids in today’s scenario, he was separated from the rest of his country, America.
His stories reflected a shameful America; the stories of children forcefully separated from their mothers may just reflect an immoral America in 2018, 76 years after Kengo Hayashi, American, awoke every day in what we charitably an “internment” camp but what others called “concentration” camps.