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We are the home of the brave, not the afraid

July 15, 2018

What needs to be reiterated is that children have been separated from their parents who are seeking asylum. We have very clear rules on those seeking asylum, because as a nation we have built a reputation on being a beacon of hope and compassion. Our forefathers ran from their oppressors and came to North America seeking freedom.

We built a nation on the very idea of accepting those who are seeking a better life. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and President Donald Trump have changed this nation’s policy and decided to use separation as a deterrent. What Americans are outraged about is the use of children as a deterrent — which has never been implemented before (discussed and turned down, yes) and is inhumane at its core.

I hear everyone who says this isn’t humane. I hear everyone who says they want better border security. I also hear those seeking our help from these gang-infested countries, and we can’t shut them out. We can’t shut out decent, hardworking people fleeing the very thing this administration is afraid of having here.

I lived in Los Angeles for many years. Mara Salvatrucha, also known as MS-13, an international criminal gang, came in with a vengeance. No one liked it. The gang is awful, but that is why we must help these people fleeing their reign of terror. To treat them as criminals and not asylum seekers is unjust and fearful. We are the home of the brave, not the afraid. Americans are better than that.

We cannot tolerate destroying the only part of their lives that is good and connects them to life — their family. It is nefarious and cruel.

I want every American to call their U.S. representatives and say, “We don’t do this in America” — no matter who you voted for. Even though the policy has been rolled back, the government is not working hard enough to reunite families. This is about human decency. They must work together to create laws that help this country be great, and our greatness has historically come from our helping others in need, whether in this country or another.

We are a nation of hope and courage. We must return our gratitude to our forefathers by accepting those fleeing hostile governments. As a First World nation, we accept the lowest number of asylum seekers. We are not in a position to turn those in need away. We have more grace and dignity than that.

Kristin Goodman is a native New Mexican who lived in Los Angeles for 10 years where she taught playwriting and acting, as a volunteer, to students in juvenile detention camps for incarcerated youth. She is a screenwriter, playwright and director for both film and theater.

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