The Huddled Masses

Barack Obama has deported a significant number of people in his tenure as POTUS.  In fact, depending on how you understand the numbers, he has deported more than any president in the history of the United States.  We’ll see if his numbers hold steady.

There has been a significant decrease in illegal immigration in the last ten years.  In fact, it is pretty safe to say that the illegal immigration crisis has largely been a manufactured issue designed to bring in votes.  It appealed to the worst in us, and it worked.

But we all know the current news.  We all know the legitimate crisis along the borders right now.  We all know there are children packed into crowded rooms, afraid and missing their parents, and wondering where they will end up.

There are those who are calling this an immigration problem.  It seems to me it is more of a refugee problem.  A refugee is somebody who has had to flee their country.  These children are running.  And they are running to us.

Children have been coming to America since Ellis Island.  And there have been those among us who have found these children terrifying.  We have been terrified they would take our jobs or our food – or that they would bring disease or crime.

These are children looking to escape things that I can’t imagine.  I look at my son and weep at how lucky he is.  He was born in a safe place, in the safest time, and wants for nothing.  He is spoiled beyond belief with stuffed animals and educational toys.  I still tuck him in every night.  What kind of world could take a child like my son and deposit him on a road to somewhere far away with nothing but his clothes and his luck to survive?  Who are the people who could look at my son and see a crime?  What must these children be trying to escape to come so far?

I understand that border towns are worried about their resources.  But when does humanity trump our fears?

Jesus said, “Let the little children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”  He also warned that “Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.”  

These are not hard to interpret.  So don’t ever tell me about being a Christian nation.  Christians have a clear call and clear commandments.  This is not up for debate.  Ignoring those out of fear is simply one more proof that this is not now, and has never been, a Christian nation.

There is a poem on the Statue of Liberty called “The New Colossus” that I have posted on my office door.  The words of Emma Lazarus are all to often lost in a haze of anxiety about our own selves:

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

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