Across the country mothers are keeping their children out of school, making less trips outside, not answering knocks on their door and staying to themselves; they are hiding in fear of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), part of the US Department of Homeland Security.
Much like the Jewish children during the Holocaust, they are keeping a low profile and hiding from the outside world. They have imprisoned themselves from America because they are afraid of being torn out of the arms of America by ICE.
Every since an Arizona mother of two was taken into custody for deportation after a routine visit to immigration officials, undocumented immigrants have been on high alert, and rightly so. In the last few days there have been a rash of raids in cities throughout the country. ICE carried out raids in California, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Arizona, Florida and other states. Trump, may have lost his battle to invoke a travel ban on seven Muslim countries – for the time being – but he is making good on other promises in the meantime. The President has vowed to arrest and deport an estimated 3 million undocumented immigrants who have criminal records, but not all have criminal records. If you’re Mexican and you are in the US illegally, you are a target.
Like the Jews in Nazi Germany, immigrants are systematically being deprived of human rights. They are ostracized by the government’s propaganda. They are vilified and blamed for the loss of American jobs, increased crime and blamed for being, well, different. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said Friday the US is not “rounding anyone up,” but the evidence shows his statement to be a shameless lie. It’s a lie because he knows it is not the truth and he is saying it anyway.
ICE announced that 150 of 160 arrested this past week have criminal records. Most of those arrested were males, and 30 had already been deported to Mexico. Trump’s directive, signed during his first week in office, focuses on virtually any undocumented immigrant living in the US, not criminals alone.
By saying they are after criminals, it makes it easier for others to agree with the orders. The problem is, those who support the deportation orders, along with the “wall,” do not care who gets caught up in the ICE raids. Families will be torn apart. Parents of children who were born in the US, criminal or not, must hide in the shadows. In many, many cases, these are men and women, who for decades, have lived, worked and been active in their communities. Where do these people go after they have lived here for decades, when they are uprooted and tore away from the fabric of American life they have come to embrace?
Sanctuary states and cities will not be enough, we need sanctuary on the streets of those cities too. Just as many in Nazi Germany provided Jewish men, women and children with food, shelter, transportation and a place to sleep until movement was safe, today’s immigrants in the US will need the same.
As Americans, we must understand what it means to seek safe harbor. We must be willing to help those in need. We must look back into our own ancestry and fully realize that we too are the children of immigrants. Legal or illegal, it makes no difference when human rights and the dignity of a nation is on the line.
As Warsaw ghetto historian Emanuel Ringelbum wrote during World War II, “Even in the most barbaric times, a human spark glowed in the rudest heart, and children were spared. But the Hitlerian beast is quite different. It would devour the dearest of us, those who arouse the greatest compassion – our innocent children.”
What becomes of the children of undocumented immigrants after their parents are tore away from them?