Why Aren’t Pro-Life Christians Speaking Up for Immigrant Children Held in Cages?

children
File. (Photo: Charlein Gracia/Unsplash)

The images of children held in cages away from their parents, especially their mothers, is sickening, and the approval of such a practice cruel and heartless.

President Trump signed an executive order touting that it would end the practice of separating undocumented immigrant families. Instead, parents and their children apprehended at the border will now be detained together—not much of an improvement. Further, his administration’s “zero tolerance” policy, which is responsible for the grave distress we see, will not be lifted nor will any of the 2,300 children be reunited with their families any time soon. An executive order to end a crisis Trump himself began, still misses the mark.

Yet, separating families is not an anomaly or taboo to this nation. The United States of America is a country that has been content with separating families since its inception, evidenced through this administration’s Satanic and willful act of destroying the bond of undocumented immigrant families. A reality not unknown to Native Americans, the nation’s original inhabitants. A reality not unknown to Africans enslaved in America. A reality not unknown to citizens of Japanese descent placed in internment camps in America. A reality not unknown to Black and Brown parents serving lengthy prison sentences for nonviolent crimes in America.

June 19, 2018, marked the celebration of Juneteenth, the 153rd anniversary of the day the final slaves in Texas received word that emancipation was the law of the land. As I reflected upon the day, my mind recalled the practice of chattel slavery in America and the poisonous ripple effect it had on African-American families then and now. This practice horrendous, yet those White men in charge saw no need to end it. And the same can be said today. Families, not forced to come here but fleeing danger, are being destroyed due to the displeasure of the majority. Millions across the world are watching this president and his predominantly-White cabinet control the fate of families, traumatize young minds, and create unnecessary fear while ruining opportunities for a better life. I ponder even further, “What happened to, and where are the pro-life voices?”

The hypocrisy of Republicans, conservative Christians, and others who are virulently “pro-life” never ceases to amaze me. They deemed “Black Lives Matter” insensitive and racist as they tried to combat the movement with “Blue Lives Matter” and “All Lives Matter.” As Planned Parenthood took over the spotlight, they demonized the organization and the women who use its services—even to the extent of trying to reverse Roe v. Wade.

As the 2016 election went into its most intense season, these same people chose not to condemn the violent, racist, and divisive rhetoric that billowed from Trump’s mouth. Instead, they projected apathetic hypocrisy and continued their support of a pompous and narcissistic presidential candidate right into the White House. These same voices that claim they care for the unborn have shown by their callousness and complacency that their sympathies do not extend to the Black and Brown children already among us. They fall short of the pro-life mantra of affirming human life “from the womb to the tomb.”

Let it sink in: 2,300 children have been separated from their parents—many of whom were seeking asylum legally—and may never be reunited with their families. The trauma these children have experienced in the process will likely last a lifetime. How does destroying families and causing irreparable harm to children make America great again? As a Black man in America, I am deeply perturbed at the apathetic consciousness of this nation and its citizens, especially White conservatives who say they are “for life”—but only when those lives are conceived within our borders.

No parent desires to be separated from their child and no child torn from their parent. America, a nation of immigrants, should possess greater compassion and empathy for the vulnerable and oppressed seeking safety at our borders. Those of us who follow Christ must declare that all of God’s children deserve to be treated with mercy and love—not taken from their families and locked up in cages and forced to fend for themselves. America, the world’s vulnerable and oppressed are at our borders and again I ask, “Where are the pro-life voices?”

Updated Sunday, July 1, 2018: This essay previously stated that Chinese immigrants were placed in internment camps in America. It was Japanese Americans who were forcibly relocated and placed in internment camps in the U.S. during World War II.

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    Written by Jamar A. Boyd, II

    Jamar A. Boyd, II is a second-year seminarian at The Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University. He is a licensed COGIC minister, president of the Georgia NAACP Youth & College Division, and has previously been published in Sojourners and Abernathy Magazine.

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