Today is International Migrants Day. People are fleeing record violence in Central America, crossing thousands of miles in nearly unimaginable conditions to seek asylum in the United States. We can respect their right to migrate and welcome them while having a secure border. The militarization of the southern border is a waste of taxpayer dollars and the money spent does not making us any safer. Illinois Senator Dick Durbin asked the officials at the ports of entry what would make the perimeter safer and their answer was to attain and use technology to examine vehicles. They did not mention a wall. The senator shared his opinion with the Judiciary Subcommittee hearing on December 12: "We need modern technology to stop the drug cartels from importing the poison killing our kids, not a medieval solution like a wall from sea to shining sea." The border must be protected, and it can be, with technology and personnel. The practice of detaining immigrants indefinitely is immoral, and most certainly does not make the United States any safer.
Matthew 25: 43-46 truly captures the moment of introspection that we should engage at this time:
"'I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 'They also will answer, 'Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?' Then he will answer them, 'Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.' Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."
Ask yourself, how can I make strangers feel welcome? What nonviolent actions can I take to make a welcoming home, city, state, and country?
Sister Marcelline Koch and Sister Anita Cleary recently helped people seeking refuge and provided them with direct assistance and services at Annunciation House, a Catholic Charities-sponsored ministry serving families who arrive in El Paso, Texas. Read Sister Marcelline's reflection about what it was like to be there; through her eyes, meet that families who are seeking asylum.
Our inspiration for this message comes from a text compiled by FaithAction International.
Sacred Texts on the Shared Value of Welcoming the Stranger
Baha’i Tradition (from Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha)
One amongst His Teachings is this, that love and good faith must so dominate the human heart that men will regard the stranger as a familiar friend, the malefactor as one of their own, the alien even as a loved one, the enemy as a companion dear and close.