These days, there are times when we might experience a visceral feeling I’ll call ‘can’t-ness.’ It’s a sensation of powerlessness — an inability to turn things around. I feel this most acutely right now when deportations are happening in my town, or when I hear about them across the nation. Daily in this country, families are being torn apart.
Of course, my feeling of powerlessness pales in comparison to what families and close friends are feeling. This is trauma on a massive scale and on a deeply personal scale.
Yesterday, I heard about the deportation of a man who has lived in the United States for 13 years. He is married to a U.S. citizen, and his two children, ages 3 and 5, are U.S. citizens. He came to this country from Guatemala under asylum, and he’s been working with ICE to gain permanent residency. He works and pays taxes. He has no criminal record at all. But nevertheless, around Christmas he was told that he had to leave the country in 28 days. Papers and processes from his attorney were filed, but they were not allowed to proceed to their end. Yesterday, he had to get on a plane, and he was separated from his family.
Also yesterday, ICE did raids in restaurants where I live in Ann Arbor. This stirred up so much fear and pain. Now family members are working to raise bail money. Now family members face an uncertain future, and the remaining parents are trying to take care of their children alone with at least half of their income in danger.
These are horrific things. They are traumatic. I am going to boldly say that they are evil. There is a large amount of dehumanization happening, and empathy for immigrants is decreasing.
It can feel overwhelming to sense that it is hard or near impossible to turn deportations around. But that doesn’t mean we can’t be present and add aid in tangible ways. All of this families need money. Gracious. . . how horrific to lose a family member and then lose economic security for children. . . People need money to care for emotional trauma. People need food. People need childcare.
What agencies are working for immigrant rights in your local area? Which families need support? The truth is, there are some things we can do quite tangibly.
This post is a part of a series this week. Feel free to check out the other pieces too: