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What Did I Ever Do to Deserve This Blue Passport?



I read this week: "Since last October, U.S. Border Patrol agents have apprehended 268,044 people who illegally crossed the southwest border...and about half of them were families...That's a 300 percent jump in the number of family apprehensions compared with the same time period during the entire 2018 fiscal year."

I'm not going to give my opinion on what the US government should do about this crisis; I'm not that stupid. Or rather, I am quite stupid, because I don't know the answer. All I know is that those numbers take my breath away.

These are families. Moms and Dads and children and babies who are willing to walk for 2,800 miles in hopes of finding safety and a new life. Walk. For 2,800 miles. Or how about this from the same article? "Munoz and his family hauled themselves up on top of running freight trains and clung onto the top, the women taking turns to hold onto the baby."

It's beyond my comprehension. Walking with my children for thousands of miles, seeing dead bodies along the way, hoping for the goodwill of others to give us something to eat--all in the hope, the desperate, tiny hope--that a judge will pick my family out of a crowd of thousands and let me into a land where my children will be safe.

My family and I are traveling to the United States in just a couple of weeks. And I read this story and thought, Sheesh, all I had to do was contact our travel agent and it's done. Tickets in hand. We'll get to the airport in Los Angeles with our bleary eyes and disheveled clothes because 20 hours of travel feels like eternity. But we'll show our blue passports and no one will blink an eye. No one will ask me questions. No walls will block my way. My children won't be separated from me. I can hear the immigration officer's nonchalant stamp in our passports. And we're in.

All because God put my soul into the body of a person who happened to be born on US soil. That's it. There is nothing else differentiating me from the soul of the Honduran woman holding desperately onto her baby with one hand and the top of a moving train with the other. I am not better than her. I am not more valuable than her. I have not worked harder than her. There's nothing I have done that makes me deserve that blue passport more than her.

I don't know the answer for the hundreds of thousands waiting for help outside America's borders, or the hundreds of thousands more waiting for US embassy interviews in scores of other refugee camps around the world. But I do know one thing: At the very least, each of these people is worthy of our compassion. And each of these people should cause every American to pause and thank our lucky stars that somehow, some way, we ended up in America. Because for all its faults and divisions and weaknesses, it's the country that millions of people around the world would give their right arm to get into.

Let's not waste it.

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