I guess he’d be around nineteen, now.
When my wife and I were adopting our daughter, in China, we had to take her to a rural hospital in Nan Chung…twice. This was the hospital they didn’t want Americans to see. And it was pretty clear that we were the first Americans many of these people had ever witnessed, in the flesh.
Standing at the nurses station, waiting on two women to put a needle in my eight-month-old daughter’s head, I was suddenly accosted by someone behind me. When I turned around, a little peasant woman (that’s the only way I know how to describe her), with no teeth and torn clothes, was screaming at me in Cantonese. I kept trying to somehow convey to her that I didn’t understand what she was saying. But she persisted.
She reached down and picked up a little boy, maybe three. She held him up to me and thrust him in my arms. He was wearing a red sweater. I’ll never forget it as long as I live. I had no idea what this woman was saying to me or what the kid had to do with any of it.
Then, Sarah (our translator) explained to me that the woman wanted me to take her son back to America and raise him as my own. She knew that America would be a better life for him. So, she took her shot and offered the boy to the first American she’d ever seen.
Before too long, and before I could fully grasp what was happening, the police (who are stationed everywhere – yay, Communism!) came over and escorted her, and her son, away.
I think about that little boy all the time. I wonder how his life is turning out. I hope he’s doing better than his parents were doing. I fear he is not.
Why couldn’t I just take the kid with me? What was stopping us from making the transaction? Well, a lot of rules and regulations were stopping us. Agreements between governments and agencies were stopping us. Passports and paper work was stopping us. Understandings between nations were stopping us.
Sometimes, I think I should’ve at least tried to do something to maybe make it happen. But as it turns out, we ended up having our hands full with the one child we brought home.
My daughter is a legally naturalized American citizen. We did two years of paper work to make that happen. My wife and I went through background checks and fingerprinting with the FBI and provided medical and financial records to TWO governments, to bring a person born in one country, to OUR country. And I think that’s as it should be.
I didn’t hear the President’s speech last night. And I only heard snippets of the counter argument by the opposition. But I’ve always been baffled by the United States’ southern border policy. I can’t for the life of me understand why we haven’t had a wall or a continual fence down there for the last fifty years. Why? Because that seems to be a place so often violated. Walking across the southern border is just a matter of not getting caught. And a lot of people do it. And we all know it.
At some point, we are all going to have to ask ourselves THE question: is that okay? Should everybody be allowed to simply walk across the border of any country they wish, and live there without signing in? If so, I’m not sure why I have to have a passport to travel? If so, why do we have extradition treaties and national laws and border agents and customs agents and immigration offices and TSA agents and G4 Summits and NATO and even the Olympic games?
Because if borders don’t matter, then none of the things we do in deference to those borders matters, either.
If twenty million Canadians had poured over our northern border without documentation, and were living in the shadows of our society, 60 Minutes wouldn’t be able to do do enough pieces on it. Geraldo Rivera would be showing up at houses all over the country, narcing on people who love Hockey and say “ay” after everything.
I continually find myself in the strange position of being on President Trump’s side of things, even though I did not support him for president. But he’s correct when he talks about building a barrier (a wall). We’ve already got miles and miles of it in some places. Should we tear that part down? Is what’s already there immoral?
If you drive through El Paso, Texas, you’ll see a border fence, with Mexico on one side and The United States on the other. Should they just start dismantling it? I’m confused.
After 9/11, I thought we should’ve completed a southern barrier and sealed the border. Is it because I hate “brown people”? Of course not. I’m married to a brown person. It just made sense, the way it makes sense to fix your front door if it’s broken.
I’m a fan of immigration …LEGAL immigration. I’m raising a LEGAL immigrant. I’m also very much in favor of providing asylum to those seeking it. My heart breaks for those not fortunate enough to have been born in a free society. And I embrace the idea of helping them. People in my family have sponsored asylum seekers and my own mother and father have opened their home to South American refugees in the past. I believe that’s the kind of responsibility the American experiment should foster in its fortunate citizens.
But these days there seems to be a type of hostility woven into the fabric of migration from certain countries in the world. It’s as if America is seen (by some) as a place that owes its wealth, resources and land to everyone on earth, no matter how they decide to come here. That sentiment is shared by a lot of our own citizens. But coming to America in defiance of America looks and feels threatening to Americans who love and appreciate what the country is all about. When those boats brought wave after wave of immigrants through Ellis Island, the beleaguered people aboard them were flying American flags from the bow. They wanted to become something new and embrace a new way of life. They didn’t see America as an entitlement owed to them, but as a hope they could find nowhere else and one they wanted to treat with respect.
If you want to become an American, I believe you should stand up and be counted; fully participate in the idea and the ideal. Let the world know who you are and what your intentions are. My wife and I had to do that for our daughter. And we did it happily so. Because American citizenship is something valuable.
I don’t know if the politics of “wall funding” will work out or not. Is Mexico going to ultimately pay for it? Probably not. Although, I suppose one could argue that if the numbers of illegal border crossings were thwarted, the money saved in welfare services to undocumented immigrants might end up paying for said wall. That might be one way you could technically off-load the cost to Mexico. Who knows? But regardless of how it’s funded, doesn’t border security seem like a reasonable idea?
What I do know is that a little boy in China didn’t have the privilege of being born in a country that borders The United States. His tired and poor parents, yearning to breathe free, didn’t have the option of simply walking here and demanding to be let in. He was at the mercy of laws and regulations. So was I.
And if everyone else on the planet isn’t subject to those same laws, then somebody owes that kid an apology …and a better life.
To subscribe to my daily blog click the link below: