I was asked by a couple of people to post this. This was my little speech on the Border Awareness Experience at Mass a couple of months ago. Enjoy =)
How did you like the food?
Have you ever been on a beautiful vacation in a completely different culture, and had come back and told your friends? Do you remember the first, very first question they ask you? How did you like the food. Now that’s quite acceptable, after a vacation of course.
I didn’t go on a vacation. I went on a week-long trip, immersing myself in the heat of a very controversial issue: immigration. I was in the very heart of multiple organizations who were reaching out to these people. People who were, and still are, fighting to live, to feed their children, to find peace here in a country filled with opportunities that are becoming more and more limited. Yes, I am thankful for being born here, but why must they be denied the same opportunities?
You know, I also met these people. And what was amazing, was that they looked just like you and me. They are human beings, they are people.
While in Texas, we got an exclusive tour from Border Patrol. This tour was meant for politicians, or those related to them- but it wasn’t meant for a small group of young adults, a group from a private university in Minnesota. And the first thing we saw was a 20 min. video on how they are stopping terrorism; that these people are terrorizing our country. We then arrived at the 14 foot tall fence, where the holes in the fence were big enough to fit the fingers of a small child. It stretched too- for miles into the mountains, the very fence that drives people into deserts and dangerous terrain, where these people probably lose their lives before stepping onto our land. And do you know what this Patrolman said? A direct quote about when these people die, he stated, “Well it cost an innocent- well no, an immigrant’s life.” As if an immigrant was a criminal. Did you know that if they get caught, they get booked as committing a crime?
As I looked at the fence, trying to imagine the lives that were cost, Patrol was describing what the fence sometimes looks like. Try to imagine people leaving their homes; they’re going to bring their personal possessions on the long journey to the fence, their pictures, bags, shoes, jewelry, and their prized possessions. And when they arrive at the fence, they have to strip of all the stuff because life and death doesn’t have time for you to grab that photo of you and your daughter. Trash is what they called it. The Patrolman told how the fence was lined with “trash.” Would you call this trash?
When I got back to Minnesota, I was angered. I was enraged, and wanted to tell everyone about it. And do you know what everyone- and I mean ev-ry-one asked? How. Was. The. Food. I will tell you how the food is. The food is delicious. But you know what else? These people from Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, China, Japan, and more; these people have much more to offer us then great food. And we have more to offer them then a criminal record and a ticket to a house that is no longer their home.
I don’t know yet how we can achieve lands without borders, I don’t know if it’s possible, or even if it’s a good idea. But I can tell you, what we are doing right now isn’t a good idea either. I don’t have the answers, I have questions. I have so many questions, and right now that is better than me sitting silently. I dare you to ask questions too. To ask me what I witnessed, to not just settle with what the media tells you. You might be able to find someone who has the answer, a better answer than I do.
Our second reading has told us today, “Brothers and Sisters, join in imitating me, and observe those who live according to the example you have in us.” Please, observe those who are acting, right now. And imitate. And you can all start with a simple question.
How’s the food?