“To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.” – Nelson Mandela.Watching the current news about the Haitian refugees being mistreated, whipped, charged with horses was beyond horrifying. Being an immigrant myself, I know how long the wait is to get a visa to enter the US and how hard it is to get the proper documentation to live here decently.
Nevertheless, many immigrants choose to immigrate to the United States of America because it is “The land that flows milk and honey.” But also because it is the land compared to many other countries where prosecution is exceptionally harsh, “America” is safer. Is it?
We understand that one should not cross the border illegally. However, we also understand that humans search for safety, shelter; it is a basic need we all aspire to have.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time I have heard this news. When I was an Adult ESOL instructor in South Florida, I had many Brazilian immigrants as students. Some of them described their crossing through the Rio Grande, as I wrote to the local Brazilian Publication (with their permission) about their experience.
One female student, who we will call Carla, described,” It was dark when we started the crossing following the coyote that was in charge to help us get to the US. I didn’t know how to swim, and I was so afraid I’d die and leave my daughter behind or if my family would even find me. When I decided to do the crossing, I was not as frightened as when getting into the actual river at night; we could hear the border patrol and had to hide somehow in the river. It felt like hours that we had to wait quietly in that cold water, in the dark, but we finally were able to cross, and I don’t want ever have to do that again.”
Even if the border patrol arrested the Haitian immigrants, we all know a more humane way to do it. “Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.” – Dalai Lama.