Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Bring Back Sane Immigration Policy

If you have been following my recent posts here, you know that I was adopted as an infant. I had a roof over my head, clothes on my body, food in my stomach, an opportunity for education. What I did not have was a sense of belonging. Memories of that are quite strong for me right now because of finding my roots and my family of origin.
In that context, recent news events have had a particularly strong impact on me. I cry for those families on the border. My biological mother freely gave me up for adoption with the hope, I'm sure, that she was doing what was best for me. Those parents crossing the border into the U.S. were doing so because they believed they were doing what was best for their children -- taking them from an environment where their children were in constant danger of murder, rape, and other atrocities. I sincerely doubt they realized they were bringing their children to a country where they would face incarceration and separation from their parents. 
There have been references to the Japanese internment camps in the U.S. during World War II. There, it is my understanding that families were housed together. While many Jewish families sent their children off in groups to England, the U.S. and other countries with no assurance they would be reunited, it was the intent of the parents to do the best thing for their children. Not even the Nazis effected such total and complete separation of children from their parents. Aside from the terrible medical "experiments" the Nazis committed on some children, it seems some children were kept with their family units, sometimes even to the ovens.
It is bad enough that the U.S. government is dividing families of undocumented immigrants, asylum seekers, etc., but these are not temporary divisions. It is becoming apparent that there is no system in place to reconnect these divided families. There have been unbelievable stories of thousands of "lost" children, children who cannot be found in the records and cannot be reunited with their families. Now we hear that there is no effort made to set up a system so that families can be reunited. We have babies in internment facilities, "tender age" housing, whose parents have already been deported. Those parents are unable to search for their children, the government has no means of returning those children to their parents outside the U.S.
I had a "fairy tale" of loving parents hit on hard times who lovingly trusted their daughter to a good German Lutheran home to be raised as they wished they could have raised her. These children in internment camps in Texas have no such fairy tale. If they are very, very lucky, they will be reunited with their biological families. They may face horrors in their countries of origin, but they will face them with at least one parent. Some children in these camps may be lucky to be adopted to loving families, maybe to families that will be willing to help the find their biological families. Others will not be so lucky. They may be placed in foster families, maybe in a string of foster families. But, no matter what happens to these innocent children, they have already been traumatized, their lives will never be the same. They will never have even the illusion of safety again. Some of them will be like me, not knowing where they got their thick thighs, slightly lopsided smile, or sense of humor. Some of them may have the better life their parents wished for them, but it will be a better life with little missing pieces where their birth families should have been. Maybe it will haunt them, maybe it will not
The U.S. was a land of hope and opportunity to all my grandparents, biological and adopted, when they fled Kaiser Wilhelm II's Germany. It is sad that the current administration is making the U.S. an isolated and frightening place. I have registered my concerns with my Congressional delegation. I urge you to do the same. We must return to humane and sane immigration policies. Furthermore, we must provide strong support services to children who cannot be returned to their families as a result of the U.S. actions.
NOTE: As of the time of posting, the White House and Congress are signaling a possible end to the policy of separating families. There is no indication that there will be any reparation of families already destroyed.

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