45 has been talking this week about increasing restrictions on Green Cards. I heard this on the radio yesterday while driving a family to a refugee assistance organization to fill out their green card applications.
It is difficult to talk about the current US administration and its supporters without resorting to words that many would consider insults. It is hard to respond to their words and actions with patience, let alone love.
My father lived in the US for most of his life. Because he worked at the United Nations, which has a quota of how many citizens from different nations it can employ, he never became a citizen. When he died, he was still here on his Green Card.
When my dad got home from work, he’d drink a Budweiser. On the weekends, he’d fix the car. We’d camp and hike, we’d go to the mall, we’d see movies, we’d eat hot dogs and apple pie. We even had a Chevrolet. We were an American family, and we were happy to be here.
My friends whom I accompanied yesterday are a family of four–the same number of humans as was in my family. The mom and dad go to work. The kids go to school. When they’re all home in the evening, they eat, watch TV, do homework, sort out the bills, and do the same stuff that millions of other people do in this country.
If they were still in Syria, they may be able to do some of these things. Or maybe their workplaces or school are piles of rubble. Electricity is not available in many areas so TV may not be an option.
Or maybe they’d be dead, as many of their friends and families are. Not of natural causes.
Anti-immigrant sentiment has nothing to do with safety, and everything to do with power and fear. Those in power solidify it in part by identifying scapegoats, and those who believe in those in power accept the scapegoats and turn against them with increasing hostility.
What is the solution? Contact Congress and tell our representatives that we believe in the idea of a compassionate, empathic America. We can stand up when we see immigrants being mistreated. We can get involved. None of these is anything any of us haven’t heard before, but the more we repeat it, the more likely that positive change will occur.