I’ve tried to write about several different subjects, but the topic that keeps coming back to me is family. Families are forever. And families are the basic unit in God’s plan for His children to come to Earth, to learn and grow. But with the current US Immigration laws, families are being torn apart. We are a nation of immigrants. My grandfather’s parents came on a boat from Ireland. And our current immigrants are taking the same journey, but they are being turned away.
This weekend there have been protests across the nation, with the theme “Families Belong Together.” I applaud people taking the time to share their feelings on immigration. We have an obligation to participate in our government. If we don’t stand up for what is right, then whoever shows up will be the one to be heard and will have control over new policies and procedures.
That being said, I think it is also important to understand the laws that created the current environment. In 1875 we decided that convicts didn’t belong in the US. So that isn’t new. In 1907 immigration laws stopped allowing children to come without their parents. That was a wise choice, since children need guidance and protection. And in 1948 we decided that refugees would be allowed to immigrate to the US. I applaud that decision too.
Now comes the kicker. In 1996 – 22 YEARS AGO – the current law, the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) was signed by Bill Clinton. 22 years?! As part of this law (and it’s very long – 750 pages – so I am summarizing from Wikipedia.), we’re informed:
Deportees may be held in jail for months, even as much as two years, before being brought before an immigration board, at which defendants need to pay for their own legal representation. In 2001, the Supreme Court curtailed the Immigration Service’s ability to hold deportees indefinitely in Zadvydas v. Davis.
It is only now that the public is becoming aware of the harsh realities of this law. We are seeing how the law’s interpretation has affected the families trying to cross our borders. So for the last 22 years, children have been separated from their families. That is after we insisted that children not be allowed to immigrate without their families. How messed up does a law have to get before we rise up in opposition?
I can tell you exactly how this happened. People stopped paying attention to the laws being made. We focus on elections, sometimes in a lukewarm manner. And once the person is elected, he or she has free reign. Few of us are directly involved in making our voices heard and standing up for what is right and moral in the creation of our laws. In fact, in the 2016 presidential election, only 55% of voters even bothered to vote. That has to change. We can do so much better than that.
This world has gotten darker and more confused, and we as disciples of Christ need to be a light now more than ever. We must stand up for families, for policies and decisions that make sense. And we have to stop being so casual in our political involvement. This country was established BY the people, FOR the people. But when the people do not care enough to be actively involved, we end up with laws as heartless and cruel as the current immigration law—that has stood for 22 years unopposed.
So here is my challenge to you. Get to know the issues. And make sure you are aware of who is running in your elections. VOTE. Make your voice heard by writing to your representatives. It makes their job clearer when they know what their constituents want them to do. And pray for our country. We have many issues that need to be resolved in a Christlike way.
We need the Lord’s guidance. If you feel so inspired, please run for office. God needs us in every way we can participate. And knowing you have made your voice heard will bless your children and their children. May God inspire our leaders to find a solution to our immigration crisis that will make Him proud.
Patty thrives on all things creative. You’ll often find her in the garden pretending she is a suburban farmer. She loves meeting new people, and is devoted to her friends and family. In her heart she is a Midwesterner even though life has moved her all over the country. She believes in “blooming where you’re planted” and has found purpose in every place she has been. She has a deep and abiding love for the Savior and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And she loves editing LDS Blogs because it is a constant spiritual uplift. Not many people can say their job builds their witness of the Savior.