It’s not often you hear the words “sin” and “immigration policy” in the same sentence, but there is simply no other way to talk about the atrocities that the Trump administration is committing against immigrants.
Right now, entire communities live in fear, wondering if today will be their last day of freedom.
Children wonder if mommy and daddy will be there to get them from school. Husbands and wives kiss goodbye in the morning knowing it could be the last time they see each other. Parents refuse to take their kids to the library or to church because they’re afraid of being picked up while out and about.
Talk about being tormented and stressed.
What’s equally bad but yet doesn’t get enough attention is the evil that is taking place at the U.S.-Mexico border.
No, I’m not talking about the flow of drugs from Mexico in the United States, or the flow of guns from the United States into Mexico, as awful and abhorrent as they are.
The evil I am talking about is what our own government is doing. Ripping families apart, indefinitely detaining people fleeing violence, and charging them with crimes they didn’t commit.
In case you are not aware, it is now common practice when a family crosses the border and requests asylum for the parents and children to be separated from one another, not told where the other is, detained indefinitely and denied bond.
Parents are being charged with child smuggling, a crime they did not commit, for trying to get their kids away from corrupt, gang-filled countries.
Children are being ripped from their parents’ arms and placed into immigrant detention facilities where private entities make a fortune off of housing them.
I’ve seen it with my own eyes.
This isn’t simply a few rogue agents who are acting badly. These orders are coming from the very top – from Attorney General Jeff Sessions himself.
It’s a campaign of torment, a reign of terror for people running to the doorstep of the U.S. asking for safety and for refuge.
Countries have a right and responsibility to monitor and protect their borders, but these policies and practices are not about safety and security. These families pose no threat to our nation, and separating parents from children serves no purpose other than to enact fear.
We also must pay attention to what is not being done.
Border patrol agents aren’t picking up the drug kingpins who many times march effortlessly through border checkpoints.
They aren’t stopping the flow of drugs that most often comes through official ports of entry, not across the Rio Grande River or the Arizona desert.
They aren’t addressing the flow of weapons, so easily purchased in the United States, which fuel the gang and cartel violence in Mexico and Central America. They aren’t even stopping human trafficking.
Following the directive of our nation’s leaders, they are attacking families that are coming to ask for help, for asylum. I wonder what Jesus would have to say about that. Matthew 19:13-14 and Matthew 23:41-43 should provide us some insight.
Imagine a scared child of maybe 4 or 5 years of age, ripped from her mother’s arms by a man who doesn’t speak her language and shipped to a detention facility thousands of miles away.
Imagine the father, screaming “I love you; I’m sorry!” to his 7-year-old son as the two are forced apart after crossing the border to ask for help.
Now imagine where Jesus would be amid that and join him there.
Blake Hart is missions coordinator at the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of South Carolina. A version of this article first appeared on his blog and is used with permission. You can follow him on Twitter @blake_hart.
Blake Hart is executive director of the Carolina Immigrant Alliance.