Ah, so many thoughts, so many feelings! Today I posted something on Michaela’s Facebook page about the awful things that are happening to children at the US southern border. I don’t often post about politics on Michaela’s page. I have a lot of really passionate political feelings, but I have tried not to alienate people from Michaela because of my politics. And sure enough, one of the people who commented on this post said she thought it was terrible that I would put politics above finding my daughter. I knew someone would say that.
Now I knew that even if I alienated a whole lot of people and they stopped following Michaela’s page, it wouldn’t make any difference to finding Michaela. Neither this woman nor any of the friends she was sharing with were going to help find Michaela. In all honesty, I don’t think that anything I post there, or here, is going to help find Michaela. The people who know what happened to her know, and they know that they know. If in thirty years they haven’t decided to give up that information, I don’t honestly think that another post is going to make a difference. The investigation itself goes on, inside and outside the PD, but it revolves around information that already exists.
So I had to answer the essential question: WHY DO I DO THIS? Why do I keep a Facebook page for Michaela? Why do I write blog posts about her, or address letters to her on my website? And the real answer is something I have said many times. Michaela was a bright, shining light when she was here. And it wasn’t her shiny blonde hair, or her bright blue eyes. It was her heart, her spirit. She glowed. And for me, she still does. She always will.
I really want my daughter to be remembered. Whether she is physically alive in this world or not, having people remember her keeps her alive. As I have said many times over the years, I not only feel it is my responsibility to do that, to keep her memory alive, but even more importantly, it is my responsibility to hold her light up to the world as long as she is not here to do it for herself.
In that regard, in her light and her honor, the one thing I can tell you is that I have only one choice in the matter at hand, and that is to speak out for these children!
Most of the comments I received on my post were supportive. But there were people who actually said that we should only worry about American children and not about the children who are being kidnapped and abused by our government at our border. I would hang my head in shame if those words ever even passed through my mind.
I’m not going to go into a big blog on exactly what is happening or why. Feel free to go to my facebook page and read several dozen posts and articles. But I will tell you that what is happening to these children, and their parents, is cruel, inhumane, and falls well within the category of crimes against humanity. It is NOT illegal to cross the border without papers in order to apply for asylum. You are required to be in the country to apply for asylum, and you have one year after entering to present yourself and your asylum application. So these people have broken no law. They should have a credible fear interview, and then either be returned home or allowed to enter the country to prepare and present their asylum applications. That is the law and standard practice. True, a lot of people have been coming and it’s a lot to process, but if the government put some money into hiring more officers and immigration judges, instead of paying $775 per night per person to keep these people detained, it could be handled expeditiously and humanely. However long it took, however, the children should not be separated from their parents, and the laws about the length of time children can be detained and under what conditions should be obeyed, which they are not.
It is my personal opinion that everything that is going on there is nothing but Trump’s psychological wall, using this horrendous Maximum Cruelty tactic to deter immigrants from coming. The fact that is hasn’t stopped them should tell you something about just how bad the conditions are that they are fleeing. I have prepared many asylum applications myself, and they are not based on poverty. They are based on violence. The Central American countries are run by the gangs, which rule by threat, extortion and violence. Our State Department has issued warnings to American citizens that they should avoid traveling to these countries because they are so dangerous.
I can also tell you that this didn’t happen under Obama. I worked as an immigration paralegal through all the years of the Obama administration, and I can tell you that he was tough on immigration. He built walls where feasible and useful, and where there are no walls there are reasons why. Under Obama, ICE aggressively pursued people with serious criminal convictions who were residing in the United States. These people were given due process and allowed to present their cases in immigration court, and they were not held in custody during those proceedings unless they were considered a danger to society, which most weren’t. The Obama administration had a strict policy against family separation, and the only minors who were detained without their families were actual unaccompanied minors, meaning older teens who had made the journey to the United States alone. They were not little children like the ones being stolen from their parents, only to be kept in the most inhumane of conditions.
But let’s just forget about that. I had one person tell me that she didn’t like talking about it because it was “all politics.” It is not. It is about children. I would never have believed that I lived in a country that would allow children to be treated the way these children are being treated. I would never have believed that these otherwise nice people, mothers with children of their own, would actually defend this horror. Speaking out against this is not politics. It is humanity. It is compassion. It is simple human decency. It is the defending of this inhumane treatment of children that is political. What is it based on? Either the crazy thought that Trump is God’s gift to America, or plain nationalism. Now I disagree with both of those ideas, but even if I did agree with them, there is no way on God’s green earth that I would ever be okay with this horror.
I am appalled, and I am also terrified. If people are willing to turn a blind eye to what is happening to these children, they would be willing to do that to anyone, anything, anywhere. If you are okay with children suffering, where on earth do you draw the line? Nowhere that I can see.
These kids will suffer their entire lives from what we are doing to them, and perhaps they will not suffer alone. I have a vision of terrorist cells rising up years from now, when these kids are grown. Eventually, it’s likely they will have been returned to the culture of violence their parents were trying to save them from. You combine the fear, the disassociation, the damaged hearts and souls we have created, and the hatred for the United States with which they will be left, and you have a recipe for terrorist organizations the likes of which we have not seen. The gangs as they exist in Central America now are worse than they were when they were exported from Los Angeles to El Salvador, because once there they learned the really gruesome violence from the Salvadoran guerrillas in the wake of their civil war, and incorporated it into their gang culture. Once sent home, these broken children we have been abusing will learn all of that as well. And their parents will not be able to protect them. Their only chance to do that was dashed at our border.
But back to the beginning of this blog, one thing I know for sure is that I can hear Michaela whispering in my ear, telling me to SPEAK OUT! STAND UP FOR THESE CHILDREN! Michaela herself suffered, God knows what, undoubtedly even worse than these children, not that this in any way negates what is happening today. I suffered, just like the parents of these children are suffering, not knowing where their children are, but knowing that their children are scared, hurting, grieving, and that they are absolutely helpless to do anything about it. They can’t even just get their kids and go home. Even if they get deported, they don’t get to take their kids with them. And NOBODY IS CARING FOR THEM while they are not with their parents. There is a thought that has been on repeat in my mind since Michaela was taken. She was my daughter. She was given to me to love, to care for, to protect, and nobody had the right to steal her away from me and rob me of the right to do what every molecule of my being so fervently, intensely longed to do. Well, the same is true of these parents, who have followed the law exactly, who have done nothing wrong, whose children have been kidnapped by our government.
If anyone tells you tales to justify what is happening now at our southern border, do not believe them. It is not an attempt to curb human trafficking. In fact, it often turns into human trafficking itself. It is wrong. It is not the law. It is not standard practice. It is pure, unadulterated, purposeful CRUELTY. IT CAN BE CHANGED. IT CAN BE STOPPED.
On my own personal facebook page, the people I have reached out to most on this issue are the Christians. For one thing, these are the people who might possibly be able to reach Trump. The evangelicals are his base for some reason. If what is going on is against U.S. and international law, it is even more so against God’s laws, as I have pointed out a million times in a million ways. Just to sum it up, the pictures at the start and end of this blog entry are from posters I made for a local protest. Just in case you can’t make out the poster below, it is based on WWJD (What Would Jesus Do), which was so popular a few years ago, but I modified it. What Would Jesus REALLY Do? Can you, any of you, just picture Jesus nodding his head and saying, okay, this is fine, in the face of what these law abiding migrants are facing at our border? HELL NO! If you have any doubt, read Matthew 25:31 to the end of the chapter. And the verse on the poster below, which in case you can’t read it says:
When a foreigner resides among you in your land, DO NOT MISTREAT THEM. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native born. LOVE THEM AS YOURSELF, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.
Please, people, wake up! Please! We can change this by voting in 2020, but how many children will suffer between now and then? Don’t let that happen. If you are one of the many people who follow my blog because of my daughter’s kidnapping, I am going to tell you that you cannot care about Michaela if you don’t care about these suffering migrant children. You can’t. You may have some sort of emotional involvement, but it is not actual love. If you think you can care about my blonde haired, blue eyed daughter and allow brown skinned children to be treated this way, you are wrong. Michaela herself would reject that with every bit of her soul. I have heard from many people who went to school with Michaela that “She was always nice to me, even when other people weren’t.” She would be fighting against this.
So this is her light. And I am holding it up high for her. Follow it. If not, you might want to go another direction, because I am going to keep holding that light up for all our children, whatever their age, race, religion, gender, or sexual preference. I really hope you will stick around. I will admit I express myself with more passion than gentleness, but behind all that, there is only one thing that concerns me, and that is to bring comfort and justice to all those who suffer. I know a lot of people think that is impossible, but I don’t think so. I believe we can do it. I believe that as long as we are handing out water, the cup will never come up empty. Only greed will drain our resources.