🗽🙏🏼CLINIC’S ANNA GALLAGHER WITH LENTEN REFLECTION — Despite The “Open Border” Blather, Our Border Remains Closed, The Rule Of Law Suspended, Refugees Are Denied Their Legal Right To Apply For Asylum, & The Cruelty & Human Suffering Occurs South Of The Border Where It Is “Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind!”

Anna Marie Gallagher, Esquire
Anna Marie Gallagher, Esquire
Executive Director
CLINIC
PHOTO: CLINIC website
I wake every morning to follow news of our sisters and brothers, thinking especially of the children, who have set out from places like El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua and Haiti–even as far as Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of the Congo–to seek protection at our doorstep. My heart aches for them and I pray for their safety.

Today’s readings remind us of our obligation, as followers of Christ, to speak the truth and follow the light. The truth is that people are suffering, both young and old, and desperately seeking safety and welcome in our country. Yet U.S. authorities and policies are often hostile to receiving them. Their arrival at our doors is deemed a “crisis.” As followers of Christ, we must and we will stand up, act bravely and generously, to speak the truth and welcome them.

The real crisis is not at the border, but within the families forced to make the difficult decision to leave, and in the hearts of those who refuse to follow Jesus’ light.  We, as Christians, must walk in the path of light as Jesus instructs, and do the right thing.  We must make room at our table and remember that we all belong to each other. We must take Jesus’ words to heart and remember to love the mother, the father and the child at the border as if they were our own.

This is not a crisis for us, although it certainly is for the men, women, and children who are fleeing. For us it is an opportunity to act out our faith precisely as Jesus taught.

As these sojourners leave their homes in search of safety, they may repeat a prayer similar to this: “Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side.” The rhythm of the words and their meaning must comfort them, knowing that God is their companion. What happens when they arrive here is up to us. We could look to God and ask what He would do, but we already know the answer.

Anna Gallagher is Executive Director of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC).

 

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Unfortunately, too many folks promote a bogus picture of what’s at stake at our border. The “alternatives” they trumpet are basically increasing family separation and suffering in Mexico or somewhere else as pointed out in this Politico article by Jack Herrera:

The result is a new form of family separation — but instead of happening at the hands of federal agents in American government facilities, it’s taking place, family by family, in camps like the one Janiana lives in. The fact that minors won’t be expelled like everyone else has rapidly spread by word of mouth across the length of the border. And while many families choose to stick together, the pressure to separate weighs heaviest on the most vulnerable — families who fear death, whether from persecutors who have followed them to the border, or from extreme hunger.

For Janiana, the possibility of being sent back to Honduras reads as a death sentence. She shows me the scars from her torture at the hands of a powerful gang back home that her family got on the wrong side of. Fearing further reprisals, Janiana fled with her sister’s children, a teenage nephew and teenage niece as well as the niece’s several-month-old son. The children haven’t been reconnected with their mother yet, who successfully entered the U.S. to begin the process of claiming asylum in 2019, before the pandemic. Staying in Mexico, Janiana says, was never an adequate long-term solution and increasingly feels intolerable. She says the family already tried to make a new life in the southern state of Oaxaca, but danger pursued them there, where her nephew was murdered.

Today, Janiana says her only hope is that the U.S. will begin to accept asylum seekers again, especially as the country gets a better hold over the pandemic. At the moment, she says with resignation, “all we can do is wait.” Though there is one painful exception on her mind: If she were somehow able send the baby across alone, he might be allowed to stay.

“It breaks my heart to even think about it,” she says.

https://apple.news/A6sIRr9CpTwSl9_0bmN7rJA

Here’s an idea!

Why not get the trained Refugee Officers, Asylum Officers, Immigration Judges, ORR child services officers, and pro bono lawyers in place to comply with our legal obligations in a robust, timely, fair, and efficient manner?

Why not put experts, like Wendy Young of Kids in Needs of Defense, who understand how our system should work in charge of the welfare of the children? Why not put someone who understands the practical and legal needs at the border, like former Immigration Judge Ilyce Shugall, in charge of the Immigration Court response? Why not put someone like retired Judge Paul Grussendorf, who has also been an Asylum Officer and a UNHCR representative, in charge of the Asylum Office response? Why not put retired Assistant Chief Immigration Judge Robert Weisel, who worked with the UNHCR after retirement, in charge of coordinating the response with NGOs and the private sector?

Yes, the Trump regime definitely left a dismantled and dysfunctional immigration bureaucracy and structure behind. But, just repeating that time after time sounds more like an excuse than a plan or a solution.

Sure, it won’t happen overnight. But, it won’t happen at all without different folks in charge at the “retail level.” I see little evidence of any progress on a real long-term plan and the short-term response is also an unnecessary mess, given that the Biden Team has had more than four months since the election to get a new structure and new personnel in place.

While there are a few “bright spots,” like Michelle Brané and Katie Tobin, I sincerely doubt that the group in charge right now is capable of solving the practical problems in rebuilding and improving our asylum and immigration systems. Nowhere is that more obvious than at EOIR, where the dysfunctional “clown show” 🤡 stumbles on, for no apparent reason.

Many of us keep trying, to no avail, to warn Judge Garland that he literally is sitting on a powder keg with the fuse lit and burning.💣 I guarantee that the next “manufactured crisis” will be when the current group of asylum cases coming from the border hit the broken, dysfunctional, ridiculously and unnecessarily backlogged, grotesquely mismanaged, ill-prepared, and anti-asylum-biased “Immigration Courts.”  Waiting for the inevitable disaster, rather than bringing in a new “A Team” from the NDPA to start solving the problems now, is a monumental mistake by Judge G.

Why not fix the system to run the way it should, rather than spreading myths, throwing spitballs, and ignoring the unfolding human tragedy that can’t be solved with draconian enforcement and lame “don’t come” messages directed at forced migrants fleeing for their lives!

🇺🇸⚖🗽Due Process Forever!

PWS

03-23-21

🗽🙏🏼CLINIC’S ANNA GALLAGHER WITH LENTEN REFLECTION — Despite The “Open Border” Blather, Our Border Remains Closed, The Rule Of Law Suspended, Refugees Are Denied Their Legal Right To Apply For Asylum, & The Cruelty & Human Suffering Occurs South Of The Border Where It Is “Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind!”