I see my children when I look at the image of this little girl’s face. I don’t see an invader, I see a child, who probably loves playing princess and tea parties just like my girls. My kids adore Anna and Elsa on the shirt of the woman holding their hand, probably their mother.
This is a scene from the migrant caravan at the San Diego – Tijuana border crossing yesterday. The photo on the left depicts our government firing tear gas at this woman and her children to keep them from entering our country. The right is a picture in the aftermath of the incident. Her face is etched in my memory as a face of this desperate migrant community.
This group of approximately 4,000 people reached Tijuana, Mexico two weeks ago, with many of them travelling more than 2,700 miles by foot from as far away as Honduras. Just to put that in perspective, that is the same distance as our family walking from here in northern California to Washington DC. These families have walked this vast distance in search of what?
One side will tell you that they are fleeing terrible violence, poverty and persecution in their Central American home countries. Another side, including President Trump, has called this “an invasion” and includes “many gang members and some very bad people.”
I don’t know the truth about this situation, but I do believe in the dignity and infinite value of each man, woman and child who has made this long trek.
As a light skinned American, I renounce the belief that I am more valuable than a dark skinned person from Honduras. We are a nation with laws and borders, and there is a legal process to seek asylum in America.
We are also a nation filled with people who are moved with love and compassion for our neighbors from Central America. I don’t think this situation can be boiled down to a binary choice of law and order or compassion as our political parties would have me believe. I think there is room for both.
This child is not our enemy and we don’t need to fear her. We must now wrestle as a nation to decide how to approach this situation with law and love.
We must look at her face. We must hear her family’s story of why they traveled over 2,000 miles to get here. We need to learn her name before judging her or sending her back into the situation she is fleeing.
Images by Hoon/Reuters