I am home today with two very sick kids who are fighting the last of the stomach virus that they had all weekend. Our friends Jeff and Lynn Beans are here for two weeks, and we went to the beach with them. Unfortunately, a nasty stomach bugs seems to be making it’s way through our house just as Tropical Storm Matthew is making it’s way through Central America. Not a great beach combination, but we managed to have fun anyway! Today the Beans are at CIPI, one of the state-run orphanages, volunteering with Jon and I am on “sick kid” duty all day!
Since I am stuck on the couch with the kids, I was doing some reading in the Baltimore Sun about an immigration case that is currently hot news in the Baltimore area. Lynn is from the Baltimore area and she had heard about this in the local news and brought it up for discussion last week. I’ve included the links so you can read it for yourself, but basically there is a family seeking asylum in the U.S. because of fear of gang violence here in El Salvador. They came to the States illegally, fleeing for their very lives. The eldest son in the family is already dead for not joining the MS-13 gang. This is a gang that originated in LA. but is growing in El Salvador. It is a violent gang that is notorious for brutality. The youngest son in the family made it to the States and was granted asylum last year. Now the mother and brother are trying to get asylum as well.
I know what it’s like for many people who live in fear of the gangs in El Salvador, and I also know that the immigration question is not an easy one to answer. Living in El Salvador has caused me to see the other side of this question, and to feel so much compassion for those who are hoping for a better, safer life for their children.
So what do you think about this family’s plight?
This is the story of the family: http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2010-09-06/news/bs-md-gang-asylum-20100906_1_asylum-immigrant-family-gang/4
This is the story of the younger brother from a year ago: http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2009-09-27/news/0909260154_1_santos-salvador-asylum
Once you know real people’s stories, it’s hard not to want to bend the immigration rules.
I wish more Americans knew the cost in lives that our drug habits incur. Without the drug and people trade, the gangs would be seriously hurting for resources. But what WE hear about is the “clean” end of things – the Paris Hilton’s who accidentally drop a packet of powder out of their purses and then fight to avoid jail time. We haven’t made the connection between her “embarrassing incident” and the 72 bodies found near the Mexican/U.S. border.
I honestly believe if we did, we’d do something about it. Just like if we knew more stories like this one, we would become more compassionate on the immigration issue. Americans can be so generous when something like the Haiti-quake comes up… this just hasn’t reached that level of national attention, somehow.