The indefinite detainment of migrants crossing the Southern border, many of whom are children separated from their families, now seems overdue for a reckoning in this country. But that day has not come yet.
On Sunday, Trump Administration officials rejected reports that unaccompanied minors escaping violence in Central America are being kept in squalid conditions, suffering from malnourishment, disease and neglect. This comes after the Department of Homeland Security released a report last week calling for immediate action to stop “dangerous overcrowding” in Texas detention centers housing adults and children.
We believe it is important to call as much attention as possible to this crisis, even in places such as Vashon, an island that imagines itself as a world away from the mainland.
Last week, the nation celebrated its Independence Day, an occasion that was marked by a speech delivered by the President in Washington, D.C. Many gathered to hear his praise of the military and to celebrate American exceptionalism. But missing from any tribute was a word about the ongoing plight suffered by immigrants in detainment as a result of the law he has imposed.
There is no place for indifference and cruelty on a holiday to celebrate democracy.
Yet we believe there is hope. Despite the challenges facing our own island community today, we saw acts of kindness and cooperation among neighbors and friends this Fourth of July that is undoubtedly praiseworthy.
The Gold Beach Community Club Neighborhood Emergency Response Organization (NERO) teamed up with the Friends of Maury Island Marine Park to watch for potential blazes there set off by fireworks. Islander Michael Sperazza, who coordinated the volunteer patrols, said that teams began searching around 8 p.m. equipped with headlamps and shovels and continued for several hours, sweeping back first thing in the morning in case any embers flared up overnight.
As she has in the past, Amy Carey of Vashon Island Pet Protectors conducted overnight searches for frightened animals to return them home safely. And around Quartermaster Harbor, islanders made space for everyone to watch the dazzling show above the water.
The connections we share with one another are what make us safer and stronger. Not a hardline immigration policy that dehumanizes those seeking refuge where they can live freely. It is past time for our leaders to work together and lay the foundations of a pathway for all to thrive in this country, no matter who they are or where they come from. That is what the story of America is all about.