Letter: History is happening now



Imagine it is 1850 and you have escaped slavery with your child in tow. After a harrowing journey across several states, you finally reach the north, only to be recaptured, have your child taken from you and returned to the south. Or it is 1941 and you are a Jewish person trying to escape Eastern Europe and the Nazi regime with your child. You’ve snuck across checkpoints and nearly been caught a dozen times. But miraculously, you finally make it to Switzerland, only to be outed and turned over to the Nazis, you and your child sent to different concentration camps.

Now, imagine you are from present-day Central America, crossing thousands of miles, dangerous terrain, gangs, violence and lack of food and water to reach the safety of the United States. But instead of being taken in, you are incarcerated, have your child taken from you and are sent back to the dangerous place you risked your life trying to flee. You return alone, your child held captive here. Sadly, this is in fact how America is treating the neediest and most vulnerable among us. There are 497 immigrant children still separated from their families, being held in cages and enduring severe psychological trauma that can never be repaired.

Both the runaway slave and the Jew escaping the Nazis were technically breaking the law. Would you tell them they need to go back and go through legal channels? Or do common sense, compassion and safety trump bad laws and slow-moving and uncaring bureaucracy? Shouldn’t we treat immigrants seeking amnesty in the U.S. with common sense and compassion as well?

Unfortunately, mistreatment of groups we see as “other” is not a thing found only in history textbooks. History is happening now. Call Senators Joe Donnelly and Todd Young and Congresswoman Susan Brooks and ask them to demand that the Trump administration reunite these families as it has been ordered to do by a federal court. Don’t let them forget about these shattered families. Be on the right side of history.

Kara Abbey Bilbrey


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