You’ve no doubt heard about the record-setting ICE raids that took place yesterday: 680 workers were arrested at food processing plants in Mississippi.
We’re being told that many of these had no criminal record and had been in the country for a decade or more. They got income tax taken out of their paycheck at the food processing plants. They worked at a job that just about every American needs to stay alive– we all need to eat.
Meanwhile, the children of those arrested were left with nowhere to go.
This was the first day of school on the state of Mississippi. Little ones got out of their first day of school to find out that they were homeless and orphaned. “Community leaders” brought them to a gymnasium for pizza and a place to stay the night, though they were too traumatized to eat. I don’t think anyone quite knows what will happen to them next. The pastor of a church many of them attended has released their First Communion photos on facebook. Here are the children we made orphans, at least for now.
The Southern District U. S. Attorney, Mike Hurst, explained this by saying, “While we are a nation of immigrants, more than that we are first and foremost a nation of laws.”
America is a nation of laws, or so we keep telling ourselves.
What is the purpose of a law?
The purpose of a law, at least of a municipal or federal law, is to benefit the citizens– to keep them safe, to provide them with a service they need, to protect the land they live on or do some other good. What good was done by arresting 680 food processing plant workers and traumatizing their children on the first day of school? Who benefited from this?
The people who hired the workers?
The people who like to buy and eat the food processed in those plants?
The people who have lived peacefully with them in that community for a decade or more?
The people who rely on the government programs funded by the taxes taken out of the workers’ pay?
No one benefited. And I’d argue that one was expected to benefit.
I believe that no one expected to benefit, because it’s just hitting the news that “dozens” of those arrested have been released; some are saying nearly half, about 300 people, due to “humanitarian factors.” I hope to God the ones released are the parents of those abandoned children, and I’m glad they’re being released. But nothing is going to change the fact that children, human beings, people every bit as valuable as you and I are, had to spend the night of their first day of school in a gymnasium with strangers, terrified that they would never see their mothers and fathers again.
There was absolutely no acceptable reason to do this, in this way.
If they picked up 680 people only to release 300 of them so quickly, then those 300 people were not a threat in the first place and everyone knew it. If the raids were really planned months in advance, as the Clarion-Leger is reporting, there is no reason that social services weren’t standing by to take care of the children who were left stranded. If this was really about being “a nation of laws,” why, as has already been asked, weren’t any of the executives who hired the undocumented workers arrested in the raid? Why only the migrants themselves? If this is all only being done out of respect for our laws and for the safety of our citizens, why did ICE assault an American citizen and knock him to the ground?
Nothing about this comes off as anything more than a massive act of cruelty and intimidation designed to break a record and impress a certain set of voters.
A nation that does that is not a nation of laws. It’s a nation of attention-seeking bullies.
Truth in advertising, I’m afraid. Just look at who’s sitting in the Oval Office.
I am a Christian. I’m one of those people who are supposed to have those “Judeo-Christian values” that Republicans so often laud to the skies. Judeo-Christian values, as far as that term makes any sense, are also based on a Law. One passage of that Law states: “Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt. Ye shall not afflict any widow, or fatherless child. If thou afflict them in any wise, and they cry at all unto me, I will surely hear their cry; And my wrath shall wax hot, and I will kill you with the sword; and your wives shall be widows, and your children fatherless.”
Christ came to complete that Law. And instead of letting us off the hook for that particular passage, He made it an all the more serious obligation. He told us that that foreigner, that child left without a home, are really God in disguise, and if we don’t care for them we go to hell.
That’s the law that concerns me right now.
Arresting 680 foreigners and assaulting at least one citizen, for the purpose of intimidation and putting on a show, at the expense of children on their first day of school, by a political party that claims it’s interested in Judeo-Christian values, is not the action of a nation of laws. It’s the action of a nation of chaos.
(image via Pixabay)