We have a humanitarian crisis on our southern border, a crisis that requires our compassion and quick action by our officials. If people in need of asylum had been able to apply for both refugee status and asylum from their homes before heading toward America, we wouldn’t have this problem.
But, as it is, while they can apply for refugee status from home, though few know that, they cannot yet apply for asylum until they arrive at our border. This has created a backlog of immigrants in Texas.
Difficult situations propelled our southern neighbors to come now, including the hardships of past hurricanes and of COVID-19. Also, President Biden made campaign promises that gave them hope, and so, thinking that we were ready for them, they wisely headed north. Sadly, we weren’t yet prepared.
When families uproot and travel thousands of miles on foot—some of them starting the trip by first getting on a boat on the other side of the world, headed for Cape Horn—they do so for sobering and terrifying reasons.
They weren’t safe where they were, for the same bad actors of four years ago are again persecuting and harming people in Pakistan and Bangladesh. And so, they HAD to leave for the same reasons that many of our own ancestors came to America.
Let’s put the blame for what’s going on at the border on not only COVID-19, but THE BAD GUYS in faraway places who have scared parents, families, and persons with threats of harm and horrifying edicts. This has propelled these immigrants and refugees out of their home countries on the wings of fear, necessity, and hope for a better future for their children.
And that terror is so strong and gripping that they will try anything in order to get to safety, even knowing that the trip may be deadly and will include a high possibility for disaster. People leave because staying is more dangerous and/or deadly than that long risky trip.
For them, it’s safer to make the harrowing and hazardous journey than it is to stay home in Pakistan or Bangladesh. It’s safer to get on a boat and sail across the sea, leaving homes where extremists threaten once again. Due to this, it’s safer to take the baby on the six-thousand mile hike through South America, Central America, and Mexico than it is to stay where they are.
For others from the western hemisphere, it’s safer to pack up their families and hike two-thousand plus miles north from Central America with sketchy guides who may steal their money and then abandon them. All along the way, they also face sickness and THE BAD GUYS who are human trafficking.
Think about that for a moment. How BAD must it be at home?
Refugees must keep themselves and their children safe during this journey. They can only bring what they can carry for that long walk, bringing all their money to pay the guides, fearing that it may be stolen, and never knowing if they will survive the trip.
Consider how HORRIFIC it must be at home to propel them on this journey.
There are SO MANY strict requirements to immigrate and to obtain citizenship in the US—if that is their aim and if they’ve assembled the documents necessary to get into our country, so they can eventually obtain citizenship—that they should be welcomed into our country, just as immigrants were at Ellis Island.
If fact, one of my sons surmised that we need a new type of Ellis Island setup on our southern border to process these precious people who are fleeing for their lives, just as our ancestors did. A brilliant idea! I agreed.
Documents needed to immigrate. Additional documents for asylum. Take a look at these to see just how difficult it is to immigrate to our country. It’s a system designed to keep the current populace safe, but to allow people in need to come in and join us as citizens.
A look at the lengthy requirements from this one page reveals how hard it also is to seek asylum in our country. Their documents must have all been translated into English before arrival. Interviews. Sponsors. Six months to obtain a home, self-support, and enough English to navigate American life.
If one of their family group forgot their documents or lost them that one cannot attempt to obtain asylum in America for SEVEN more years, adding more difficulty. How will they maintain their family life through SEVEN years of separation?
For their good, we need to do this legally, so that they can obtain citizenship with all its benefits and the financial safety net of being a worker in America with social security and health insurance and other advantages.
Don’t blame the uprooted families for coming to America. It was a do-or-die necessity. Our ancestors did the same.
Acquiring those documents for asylum alone demonstrates their tenacity because one needed item from their home government is a signed letter stating that, yes, the government doesn’t want them any longer and may be trying to harm or eradicate their people group for whatever reason, typically race or religion. Consider the Uyghurs.
Obtaining that death-defying document requires a walk into the enemy’s lair, having to obtain it in whatever legal way possible, and having every single document that is needed already ready and on hand should THE BAD GUYS storm their house. They must have plans in place to be able to get everyone out the door and gone before they’re caught and/or killed.
Having all of these requirements gathered should qualify them for asylum. Don’t blame the uprooted families. Consider what YOU would do if your family faced the same kind of sobering risk. Have some empathy. Put yourself in their shoes. Then demand that your representatives quit blaming one another and instead work with the president to get the border ready to process refugees and immigrants. They must DO SOMETHING to process all of these people safely and efficiently as quickly as possible.
“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” Jesus said (Matthew 7:12 ESV).Don’t blame the uprooted families at our southern border. Consider what YOU would do if your family faced the same kind of sobering danger. Have some empathy. Put yourself in their shoes. #KindnessMatters Click To Tweet About the crisis on our southern border: “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets" Jesus said (Matthew 7:12 ESV). #KindnessMatters Click To Tweet
These same realities occurred as we were readying to vote in 2016. Remember the people washing ashore on Mediterranean islands, usually in inflatable rafts sometimes carrying children who had died during the journey across the sea or children with hypothermia. I was forever changed by those visual images, actually crying and yelling at the TV for someone to grab that baby who was about to slide out into the water, or to help the grandmother who died on the beach.
There are always children involved. What if these children were yours?
The beloved elderly are also endangered. What if they were your own loved ones?About the crisis on our border: There are always children involved. What if these children were yours? The beloved elderly are also endangered. What if they were your own loved ones? #KindnessMatters Click To Tweet
The visual images of toddlers washing ashore as the boats tried to land, resuscitations, and babies who nearly slid into the ocean as they disembarked changed everything. I began refugee assistance training in my county that fall. But then, when our new president took office, he defunded those programs, ended our training, and closed the borders.
That is what Jesus is talking about in Matthew 25.
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’” Matthew 25:40-45 NIV."Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger…and did not help you?" He will reply, "Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.” Click To Tweet
What will we do with Jesus’ instructions?
How is this crisis affecting you and yours?
What can each of us personally do about this?
Pray about this crisis and the needy people who are coming.