Our Treatment of Refugees: Did the Grinch Steal Christmas?

Christmas is supposed to be about the beautiful birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem that inspires us to be generous, loving and forgiving. Jesus was born a refugee whose parents fled from Nazareth because the Roman King Herod threatened to kill all male newborns in the city. In an attempt to keep their family safe from harm, Joseph, Mary and Jesus fled to Bethlehem where they found refuge. Fortunately their family didn’t suffer the separation and detentions that are plaguing the immigrants entering our country today, many of whom are fleeing similar violence and brutality in their homelands.

In the past, we have honored children and families at Christmas time. We still collect toys, share meals and join together in song and celebrations—but now we have declared war on many children. We are adding hundreds and maybe thousands of children to imprisonment in detention camps around our country, including a camp in the southern dessert called Tornillo. At least 2,000 children, ranging from toddlers to teens, are currently imprisoned in this camp. 

Is this in the spirit of the holiday? Did the Grinch in fact steal Christmas?

During this Christmas season we have also succeeded in restricting access to health care. As a result, many children may suffer untreated illnesses or lose their lives. We have also failed to pass common sense gun laws regarding the use and safe storage of guns. Death and injury of children and adults is commonplace on our streets, schools and even in our homes. Yet we have failed to take action.

Perhaps we should continue to reflect on that special birth in Bethlehem. We should empower our better side and take action in the New Year. Tell our legislators that we want a safer, kinder place for our citizen children and for our immigrant children. Let’s chase the Grinch and its inhuman behaviors away. Consider signing this letter to congress asking them to shut the Tornillo camp down.

Let’s make peace with all of our children and ensure them a loving childhood and a happy Christmas season.

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