There are no easy answers to the mess found on our Southern Border. Some problems go back over multiple administrations. I’m not suggesting that any solution alleviates every issue. But come on, man!
Two hundred thousand plus people have been crossing the border due to this administration’s policies. That isn’t what concerns me nearly as much as how we have treated the thousands of migrants who somehow made their way from Haiti to Del Rio, Texas.
When you think about the realities that these poor people have experienced, you must wonder, if these Haitian people do not qualify for asylum, who does? Haiti is in the midst of another crisis. A country riddled with earthquake and hurricane recovery. A country with horrific poverty and filth. And a government that has been poorly led and often ruled by corruption. These people are desperate.
I know that the United States needs controlled border security. I am aware that we can’t salvage everyone. But again, if the Haitians don’t qualify for asylum, who under the blue sky of Texas does? Knowing all of that, the best answer we have is that we are flying them back to Port ‘au Prince? The living quarters under the bridge in Del Rio are light years better than their lives in Haiti. I’ve been there enough and seen it up close.
I’ve been told that as a pastor, I really should not write anymore “politically charged articles.” Come on, man!
While I’m whining a bit, let me also get something off my chest. I’ve spent a fair amount of time on America’s Southern Border and with the men and women in the green uniforms. The U.S. Border Patrol Agents are the very salt of the earth. They are the least paid of all the federal law enforcement officers – the lowest. They are primarily Hispanic-Latino, themselves. They are not the ICE agents you see banging on doors, and they deserve far better than the demonization being thrown at them by Washington. These folks are underpaid, overwhelmed, and understaffed.
I’ve been in the Border Stations and Ports of Entry on our border. I’ve seen the Border Patrol show more compassion and concern for people than most churches do for their communities. They do their job with no appreciation at all. This ridiculous issue about horses and whips is foolishness—shame on our elected officials for misrepresenting these folks in the green uniforms. Horses are necessary because of the terrain. Whips are tools to keep the horses where they belong. Not one shred of evidence points to the Border Patrol doing anything wrong. But pictures of horses and river crossings draw outrage, while many Haitians living under a bridge draw apathy. Unbelievable.
As I wrote earlier, I know that these problems do not have simple solutions. And this is not intended to be political writing, although it will be received that way on both sides. This is a cluster of bad decisions and a historically political hot potato that could be resolved. But that would require some common sense.
Why do we constantly resort to binary thought patterns? Why does it always have to be one extreme or the other? Why not put a bit of compassionate common sense to work here?
Here are a few thoughts:
- Vaccinate the thousands of Haitians with temporary housing in between shots. That could have already happened, given the timeframe they have been in Texas.
- Expedite asylum hearings for them as they are escaping a disaster.
- Redirect much of the funding of the“infrastructure package” to fund additional Border Patrol staffing and expedited asylum hearings.
- Redirect all ICE funding and assets to Border Patrol.
- Allow faith-based organizations and NGOs to operate in conjunction with Border Patrol to care for as many immigrants as possible. They could hopefully ease some of the care required of the overworked, underappreciated Border Patrol.
- Stop playing politics with the border and care for people. It shouldn’t be that hard.
- Restrict entry until Border Patrol and legal assistance can be put in place to handle the ongoing, not soon ending crises.
I’m just a pastor in Atlanta, Georgia, but even I can do three things.
- Lead my church and community to pray earnestly for the Border Patrol and the Immigrants.
- Support the Border Patrol by getting to the border and encouraging them, and offering pastoral support for their families. And remind them that America appreciates them.
- Take teams and encourage others to take teams to serve the men, women, kids, and families stuck in the middle of the foolish political bickering. America has roughly 400,000 churches. If 5% of those churches raised $500 each and sent eight people twice, we would have $10mil and an army of 320,000 caring people.
America is better than turning desperate people away and doggone it; she’s better than demonizing her own faithful law enforcement officers. Come on, man!
This article isn’t about President Biden, former President Trump, Obama, or Bush. And it isn’t about donkeys or elephants. This is about people. People doing their best in green uniforms, and people seeking hope in a place where health and safety aren’t radically uncertain.
More to come…