'They're children!'

FresnoJuly 5, 2014 

Here's the debate: increased deportations or protection and asylum? How we act as a nation — what we say and what we do — defines us as a nation. As most of us know, news media are utterly failing in their responsibility to tell the heartbreaking truth of what's happening at the border.

Put all news reporting aside, put aside other persons' words; go to your own heart and pray on this one. Is it a humanitarian problem, we ask ourselves. (It goes way beyond our immigration system. Everybody knows it's broken.) But our militaristic language is scary. We refer to "surges" and "detainees" when we talk about these kids at the border!

Are we suggesting they all go to Guantánamo? So we ask, "Where are their parents?" and I ask this, too. But, we must also ask, "What are these kids going through right now in Arizona, California and Texas?"

Some call it "hell," a truly terrifying experience: crammed in detention centers like dogs in a kennel while allegations of sexual abuse (abuse of the kids) are surfacing. And how have we responded? We've speeded up deportations. And some want to deploy the National Guard.

So, who are we as a nation? How must we respond, as Americans proud of our democracy, of our big hearts, of our belief systems whatever they may be? Who are we and how will we show the world our humanity? How can we change the language? How can we change our thinking? How can we shift the debate from deportations to protection and asylum? My God! They're children!

Elizabeth Leone



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