It’s a moral issue

Sister Jacqueline and I represented the Sisters of St. Francis when we went to Norwalk June 11 with over 200 other concerned citizens to stand in solidarity with the 114 immigrants who were arrested in Sandusky last week. An eyewitness described the scene: 200 ICE and border patrol officers descended upon Corso’s Flower and Garden Center along with dogs, assault rifles and helicopters. They swarmed the business and arrested 114 employees who were working at the time. Their children were with babysitters or in day-care facilities where, after work, Mom or Dad would pick them up, take them home, feed them and tuck them in bed. Mom and Dad were now incarcerated. The babysitters and day-care workers did not have a clue what happened to them.

So much hoopla! Why didn’t ICE use all that taxpayer money, time and energy on the raid to go after drug traffickers, criminals and gang members? Instead, they chose to show off the power and might of the Trump administration by targeting simple workers who actually are contributing to our economy and just trying to raise their families in a country that could offer them safety. There are no American citizens who will replace them. Our people don’t do that kind of work. Corso’s suffers’ too, what are they going to do?

Those who support this present administration claim they broke the law. Did they? Did our ancestors break a law when they came into this country? Today’s immigrants come from Mexico and Central America and they don’t look like most of Seneca County’s ancestors, but they are willing to do hard labor much as the early Irish and Italian immigrants. It isn’t so much a law that they violated, but the lack of a law that could solve this crisis. Congress won’t deal with humane immigration reform and come up with a just solution so desperate people take the risk and come here. To do so legally takes years with no guarantee of success and legal fees that are prohibitive for most of them.

This is a moral dilemma. There is a higher law and anyone who professes to be Christian needs to recognize this: Welcome the stranger, love your neighbor, let the little children come to me. … How dare we break God’s law of compassion and mercy? How dare we taken children away from their parents? How dare we cause such suffering? I am ashamed of my country and its “make America great again” policy. I want to be proud of my country. I want to be proud of the way we treat and respect all human beings, no exceptions.

A 15-year-old boy, Juan, spoke at the end of the rally. He wasn’t scheduled to do so, but asked if he could speak. Juan’s mother was taken away and left him, his 13-year-old brother and 9-year-old sister alone. He spoke of his pain and fear, he spoke of his Mom’s love for her family and her willingness to work so hard and take such chances to support them. He kept saying, “It’s so hard.”

Every day, Juan is bullied by kids who tell him to go back to his own country. Juan is an American citizen; he was born here, but he is brown and the bullies are white. I am ashamed our educational system tolerates such behavior. “It’s so hard. … It’s so hard.”

This is not a Democrat or Republican issue; it’s a moral, human issue. We must vote for people who have the courage to lay aside partisanship and work together so all those who seek refuge from violence and poverty can have a chance to find a safe home … because if not, “it’s so hard, it’s so hard.”

You can help by sending a monetary contribution to Father Ken Morman, St. Paul’s Catholic Church, 91 Main St., Norwalk, OH 44857. The money will be used to provide supplies for the children, lawyer fees and access to a telephone.

Sister Jane Omlor,