Image: Two hands writing a letter. (Stevanovik/Shutterstock)
The atrocity at our southern border on November 25 fills me with tears and rage. It is wrong to use tear gas on little children. The fact that these children were in the arms of parents who wished to apply for asylum from violence in Central American makes it more, not less wrong.
Customs and Border Protection agents used tear gas against migrants attempting to seek asylum at the San Ysidro port of entry at the Mexico/California border. Note: these people were doing nothing illegal. It is legal to apply for asylum. Our government has systems in place for evaluating the stories people bring, and the danger they actually face. Then, after evaluating their stories, some people get to stay and many people do not.
I have known many people from Central America. My Spanish teacher in college was from Guatemala. My son worked in orphanages in Costa Rica during his summers in college. I’ve had friends from Honduras and Nicaragua. They are not monsters. They are people like you and me.
I could write, as I have written before, about the Biblical commandments to welcome guests, to be kind to strangers, but you have already read all that. The Torah is clear: we should not be doing this stuff, or anything like it.
Yet today my tax dollars paid for Customs and Border Protection personnel to fire tear gas rounds at these people, ordinary people. People fleeing trouble, carrying their children. We tear gassed children.
Tonight I wrote postcards to my Senators and to my Representative and I begged them to do something to stop this cruelty. Tomorrow I will phone them to make the same point.
Please join me in pleading for mercy for these poor people. They have not done anything to us. They are not doing anything illegal.