#familiesbelongtogether: What we can do about the Crisis at the Border.

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“Those of us who are warm and safe and well-fed must show up for those who are cold and wet and hungry. That’s a rule of life. Every ethical and religious and spiritual tradition agrees on that rule.” ~ Jaz O’Hara

~

The current situation facing immigrants (including children) who’ve attempted to cross the southern United States border and are being criminalized and detained—their families separated indefinitely by official policy enacted in April—is showing in a more vivid, terrible light the true colors of Trump and all the government leaders and citizens who support him.

Heartless, tiny-brained, self-centered grubs is putting it nicely, but name-calling and insult-lobbing is just what they want us to distract ourselves with while they continue to implement absurd, harmful, shameful policies.

Everyone with an open heart is despairing, and many people are trying to organize meaningful actions in protest. The masses—desensitized to the constant lies and inhumane practices of this administration—are waking up and saying, “No, this is too much; we cannot stand for this.”

Yesterday, President Trump signed an executive order reversing his family separation policy. However, there is currently no plan to reunite over 2,000 children who were forcibly separated from their parents. The Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy will still detain children indefinitely, along with their parents.

The root of the problem of illegal immigration stems from interminable situations in countries such as Guatemala (and so many others) where people are so driven to desperately try to escape the cycle of poverty and crime which surrounds them that they are willing to risk their lives and lose their families for a chance at higher earnings en el norte. 

The roots of this unjust situation were planted 500 years ago through Spanish colonization and more recently (since the early 20th century) through the United States’ CIA operations to systematically destabilize Latin American governments. Why? To maintain a profitable bottom-line for soulless corporations and keep a system in place that continues to benefit only those with the most wealth and power. To keep the oppressed oppressed. There is a pitiful irony in these same oppressed people seeking asylum right in the place where the oppressors rule.

This is more than a buzzing nuisance—it is the air we breathe and the society of which each of us is a member. This is the current iteration of a long, dark history of racism in the United States. Not a new phenomenon, yet one that feels shocking thanks to mainstream, independent, and social media blitzes—and the fact that this is the year 2018.

There is an ever widening gap between filthy rich and downtrodden poor. When will it be enough? Will the tides of our world ever turn to provide basic human rights for so many struggling just to eat decent meals and drink clean water and have a roof over their heads and a warm bed to sleep in?

Those of us who are lucky enough to have food to eat and houses to shelter us must step in and help, in whatever ways we can, for no one can truly be free until all beings are.

Here are some ways to help, courtesy of the amazing women behind the Revolutionary Love Project.

“We cannot go numb.

We cannot look away. We can stop this—but only together.

Remember the wisdom of the midwife.

Breathe. Then Push.

It’s time for escalation.”

March. Saturday, June 23rd: pack the National Mall in Washington, D.C. for a mass rally to restore the moral conscience of the U.S. with Rev. Barber and the Poor People’s Campaign.

Get arrested. Thursday, June 28th: join mothers who will put their bodies on the line in a mass civil disobedience in Washington, D.C. led by the Women’s March.

Rise up. Saturday, June 30th: rallies are planned all across America. Find an event near you and bring a sign that #RevolutionaryLove demands #FamiliesBelongTogether.

Give. Support the advocacy groups on the frontline of this fight with a single donation. Donate here.

Call. Demand our legislators stop family separation. Several bills and resolutions are floating around Capitol Hill, including the Keep Families Together Act and the Fair Day in Court for Kids Act. Here’s how to call.

Spread the word. Forward this to your friends and family and post on social media. You can stay updated on the latest actions with this living document from Feed Our Democracy.

Please take good care of yourself. Let us take good care of each other. We will not let the unapologetic cruelty of this administration take away our ability to respond with love—for others, our opponents, and ourselves.

~

author: Michelle Margaret Fajkus

Image: Instagram @waylonlewis

Editor: Yoli Ramazzina

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Michelle Margaret Fajkus

Michelle Margaret is a heart-centered writer, teacher and creator of Yoga Freedom. Her home base since 2012 has been Lake Atitlán in the Guatemalan highlands where she lives with her husband, daughter and fur family. Michelle has published this column on elephant journal for over 8 years and has also written a few inspiring books. She incorporates yoga, dharma, hatha, yin, mindfulness, chakras, chanting and more into her teachings and personal practice. Join Michelle on Retreat at Lake Atitlan!

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Adam Beall Jun 24, 2018 1:23am

Thank you for bringing attention to this issue where there is clearly room for improvement in how we handle immigration and how we could be supportive of desperate people rather than using inhumane intimidation tactics. There is however a little problem to address. The estimates that I came across stated that there are tens of thousands per year entering into slavery into the United States and that 60% of labor laves and 25% of sex slaves were coming from central America, the majority under age 18. There is reporting that less than 1% of minors are coming across the border with traffickers who are not their parents, which means the majority of people are being trafficked in by their parents and then becoming slaves, permissively or forcibly, who could know the circumstances? Regardless, these are desperate people, many of whom ultimately are ending up as modern slaves. I don't know if the separations are in any way with intent to curb this trend, probably not, but it sure does represent an opportunity to bring attention to, study, and intervene in this even worse human rights exploitation that has the propensity to be the outcome, regardless of the separations.

Linda Lewis Jun 23, 2018 4:21pm

Michelle Margaret Great! Just writing this article is a beneficial step forward. We must not become attn deficit to the news, even when almost unbearable. We must act, protest, resist, march. Trump's reversal order will stop further children being separated from their parents, but leaves at least 1800 children separated indefinitely. The Pope, PMs Theresa May and Trudeau, and many other world leaders are calling out Trump, saying it is "wrong" + "unacceptable". It would also be worth researching to see what companies are profitting from these child detention centers.

Michelle Margaret Jun 23, 2018 4:14pm

Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment, Linda! It's challenging not to feel lost in despair over this horrendous situation; determination to spread the word and help inspire others to take actions against what is happening keeps us going. I will check out the New Yorker article. Thanks again!

Linda Lewis Jun 23, 2018 2:06pm

Thank you for this article, for there is no defence for Trump's malevolent, human rights violations otherwise known as his "immigration policy". As you say, even w/ his reversal June 20th, which did reunite 500 children w/ their parents before it was halted, there remain more than 1800 children separated from their parents, and their parents in detention have no way to find their children! Furthermore, there is no new plan for reunification. Check out The New Yorker, June 21st article entitled " Mothers in a New Mexican Prison Do Not Know How to Find Their Children".