There are many damaging actions Donald Trump has taken since becoming president: rolling back environmental protections, attacking LGBTQ rights, saber rattling against Iran, to name a few. But nothing comes close to the heinousness of housing migrant children in deplorable warehouses without even their own families for comfort.
Reports coming out of these holding facilities are horrendous: children having to take care of children, inadequate food and water, illness and lice infestation, children sleeping on the floor – even children dying while in custody. As Americans, we ought to be ashamed of ourselves for being associated with such a heartless and inhumane policy.
Many of the children being held in these prisons have family members in the United States who could care for them. But that is not being allowed. Instead, they are being subjected to horrific conditions with inadequate supplies or oversight by adults. While I don’t share Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s opinion that they are concentration camps, these facilities fall far short of the conditions under which we should be willing to place any child.
The irony was not lost on protesters when the Trump Administration announced plans to reopen Ft. Sill in Oklahoma to house thousands of unaccompanied migrant children. Ft. Sill has been used for, among other things, the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. To be fair, the Obama Administration also used Ft. Sill for detaining immigrants. But it should give us pause to think of forcing children to live in a place haunted by the inhumanity of our past.
I’m also disappointed by the silence in the Christian community to what is happening near our border. While evangelicals are busy championing the rights of the unborn, they are turning a blind eye to infants without diapers, children suffering and sometimes dying of contagious diseases, and countless little ones who will be forever scarred by their memories of being caged in these horrible places without a loved one for comfort.
Jesus told his followers, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25: 40) Let us not be condemned by his corollary saying: “Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.” (Matthew 25:45)