Image from Slate
Attorney General Sessions,
I am writing you today as an American, a citizen, a woman, and a Christian. I will admit that I am also writing from a position of an individual who was not been terribly fond of your ideas and proposed policies. Yesterday’s announcement that you are attempting to unilaterally make decisions regarding asylum seekers is perhaps my least favorite, as it really targets vulnerable women and children. When you make a statement that people attempting to flee domestic violence will no longer be considered for asylum, what gender and age(s) of people do you think this will impact the most? This doesn’t even include people from both genders and all ages who may be fleeing life-threatening gang violence, who you apparently would like to bar from even having an option to come to the USA as well. You love to cite statistics, but people are not numbers; they are individuals with names and with tragic stories and circumstances.
In 2012, I had the opportunity to visit Mazatlan, Mexico, on a mission trip with a Christian organization that has a goal of meeting the needs of some of our most vulnerable global citizens. This group is based in our country, but extends its reach beyond our borders to help care for the world’s orphans. There are sites throughout the world where these missionaries come alongside existing orphanages and do whatever they can to meet the needs of the children that reside there.
I visited and worked at three orphanages in Mazatlan, but I would like to tell you about one of the homes in particular. This orphanage was more of a foster home, as its residents were not being forced to stay; they were seeking asylum. This home was available to girls who were attempting to escape the sex trade and/or physical and sexual abuse at the hands acquaintances to, or members of their families. There were usually around a dozen girls at a time, and the home was run by a single woman who just wanted to keep them safe and loved. Occasionally, members of their families might attempt to visit and/or convince them to leave the care they were receiving. Some would go, and then come back. It was always their choice. There were far too many other criminal concerns in Mazatlan that impeded any real action from being taken. One middle-aged woman, and a small team of volunteers from the missionary organization, were their only solace.
There was Maria, who was about 9 years-old. She was feisty, funny, and full of energy. Xochel was about 13, and was generally shy, but had an easy smile and loved to draw. Isabel was approaching her quinceanera, and liked to talk about the home’s plans for her celebration any chance she got. These girls were lovely; and they were hurting. One of the jobs we had while on the property was to build a side of a balcony on the house to be taller, as one of the girls had attempted to jump off it and commit suicide.
When these girls turn 18, they have to make their own decisions about their lives. They do not have safe homes to go to and essentially have to forge out on their own. The missionary organization attempts to help fund their educations so they can attend college. Some of them have a dream of moving away from a city and country that holds too much pain for them and would love to come here to go to school or work.
The Bible is filled with examples of Christ’s teachings surrounding loving one another, and specifically mentions orphans, aliens, and other groups that you would like to so easily cast aside. Malachi 3:5 states, ““Then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me,” says the Lord of hosts.” There are dozens of quotes such as this, but I am leaving you with Jeremiah 5:28, as, sadly, I feel it is representative of our current administration: “They have grown fat and sleek. They know no bounds in deeds of evil; they judge not with justice the cause of the fatherless, to make it prosper, and they do not defend the rights of the needy.”
You are directly contradicting God’s word, disregarding those who need us most, and are doing so in the name of political rhetoric. Is this the legacy you want to leave?