I breathed a small sigh of relief after the tumultuous election of 2020 came to an end, hoping things would change for many waiting to flee harm and danger, whether from their own countries or ours in detention centers.
Gone would be the days of children in cages, parents and guardians being separated from their babies, and newsreels of people bearing the image of God being dehumanized in front of our eyes making their way around social media.
In 2019, clergy rushed to the borderlands to “bear witness” to the Trump administration’s unjust border policies. These policies continue today, but under a different name and the prophetic voices seem diminished.
In August, I asked whether we eased our vigilance against unjust policies merely because of who the previous president was. Have we lost our momentum in keeping our government accountable for the ways in which we treat and welcome vulnerable sojourners?
We were outraged at the thought of a border wall under Trump, but this week the Biden administration is considering opening a migrant detention center at Guantanamo Bay.
It was easy to criticize Trump because of the blatant hatred and racism he spoke or tweeted daily. And it is easy to ignore Biden’s shortcomings because they are hidden under flowery language and bureaucratic excuses.
However, the only difference is that Trump had cages and the promise of a wall, while Biden has cages and whips.
To any person trying to explain away the differences in the two administrations and how one is better than the other, the argument is already moot. We have yet again chosen to side with violence rooted in white supremacy merely under a different name and primary color.
So what now?
It is time to keep the same 2018/2019 energy without the performative activism. For every photo-op or “pilgrimage” we took to bear witness under Trump, we must continue to push back on the atrocities that remain.
Hatian lives matter just as much as Afghan lives, and any person who seeks asylum, whether from a country on the other side of the world or at our southern borders, ought to have the same treatment.
Siblings, we as Christians worship a God who knows no border, and while we render to Caesar what belongs to him, our faith compels us to meet God in the places where heaven and earth meet, creating holy ground. And the borderlands are holy ground.
There is a mystical presence on the borderlands of south Texas. For many, it has served as an in-between space — the hyphen in Tex-Mex is a holy ground of sorts, a testimony to many in this country who live in what the Celtics called the thin places.
For my family, it is where so many settled after crossing the border. For others, it was a respite for the journey north.
South Texas was an escape during wars and revolutions. And in every change in border lines, it was and is a holy place with the opportunity to meet God.
This week, rather than welcoming Hatitan image bearers of God with love and kindness, this country chose violence in the thin place.
It is easy to feel hopeless or ignore the crisis, but we must not despair.
During the Trump administration, thousands of people across the country stormed out to protest the injustice being perpetrated by Donald Trump. By harnessing that energy now, through community action we can tear down barriers to our siblings and create more room for all.
Because there is enough room, and the Jesus we claim, who was himself an immigrant, reminded us again and again that there was and is always enough.