I helped with a team of doctors/dentists/optometrists from Asbury UMC today at "Senda de Vida" in Reynosa. "Senda de Vida" is a ministry which helps those who have been deported from the US, some after living there with family for many years, get back on their feet and communicate with family members still in the states. The teams today did general checkups, dental work and checked eyes. It was a very rewarding experience.
I had a chance to speak with one gentleman "William" who had lived in Oklahoma for many years with his 5 daughters, and was now separated and back in Mexico after being deported. He is probably 80-85 years old (too old to take care of himself), and cried each time he mentioned his daughters. One of them works at St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa.
This is the human aspect of deportation and border patrol we often forget, and I think it takes meeting some of these people first hand, and hearing their stories, to get a full understanding of where we as Christians should stand on border issues. Yes, they were living here illegally, but many with family or working steady jobs. Others were being taken care of by their family, as they were too old to be living alone. Now, they have nowhere to go, and Senda de Vida helps get them back on their feet on the Mexican side. A noble work, but one that can only do so much.
|Deported immigrants line up for medical services from the Asbury UMC medical team out of Tulsa, OK|
Often, US Border patrol drops illegal immigrants off thousands of miles from where they first crossed, with no means of communication with family or survival. It's a common practice that I can only assume is some form of sick punishment our US side came up with to further demean the people. If we must deport can we not at least send them back to their hometowns? They're more likely to cross again if they are given no other alternatives by being sent thousands of miles away, than if they at least get to be back in Mexico with family.
Immigration reform should have a goal, first and foremost, of reuniting families, and preventing the break up of existing families, regardless of mistakes that may have been made. Many of these are Christian people, our brothers and sisters in Christ, who we are sending away, and condemning. Jesus said, "come unto me you are are weary and heavy laden..." (Mt. 11:28). I think we should remember that when our brethren from the border sacrifice everything for a small chance at a better life, and we promptly kick them back south of the river and call them criminals.
I know many disagree, and many agree. Honestly, tired of debating it back and forth, so just think about the human side of things. Throw out the politics, and the arguments about safe/not safe. In the end, these are just people with families trying to make better lives for themselves. If it were any one of us, wouldn't we pray too for a little compassion and care from our brethren, especially those who call themselves Christian? I think we would.
|A Whataburger just visible in the distance, looking stateside from Reynosa, MX..so close, yet so far|