FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Being Separated From My Child Nearly Killed Me

My daughter Journi is my best friend. She loves to hear me tell the story of her nickname “Bear,” how when she was born she made a little growl instead of crying.

Many years ago, I was separated from Journi while serving a three-month sentence for driving my wife to work on a suspended license. While I was on the inside, I found out that Journi needed a major operation. She was only four years old, and they wouldn’t let me be there for her.

This experience destroyed me. Worse than my own suffering was how much it hurt her that her daddy couldn’t be at her bedside when she woke up — that I wouldn’t be able to hold her hand in her time of need.

So when I see the forced separation of children at the southern border, or families indefinitely jailed just for seeking protection, I don’t just feel heartbroken. I also feel a deep sense of connection — as a father, and as a human being. I understand what it’s like to want to do everything in your power to keep your child safe from harm, but lack the freedom to hug them when they’re in pain or comfort them when they are scared.

Lives need to come before law, especially when a law is unjust.

The administration’s policy of separating families is torture, and Trump’s executive order to incarcerate families together doesn’t solve the crisis he created at all. Putting Bear in prison with me wouldn’t have been right either. Even worse, the order includes no plan to reunite the up to 2,000 children already ripped from their parents arms.

How did any of our families get to this country? I’m a seventh generation resident of Haywood County, North Carolina, and I still live right where I grew up. But my own ancestors were migrants to the mountains all the same.

Many of the families coming to the U.S. right now are fleeing for their lives. They’re not violent or mooching off the system — they’re working to provide a better life for their children. I’ve worked with some of them. One, a dishwasher from Mexico who went home once a year to visit his grandmother, never once fell behind on his work.

He didn’t take my job. He was working a job that nobody else wanted to support his loved ones.  I see myself in his dedication to his family. I see myself in his humanity.

Immigrants are human beings. Wherever they come from, families have a right to be together, and to raise their children in a safe and secure world. And children don’t belong in jail, even with their parents, under any circumstances.

Jailing immigrants doesn’t make the rest of us safer. It just puts more money in the pockets of the private prison profiteers who make money off mass incarceration. They profit off kids in cages, just like they profited off me.

We need to come together and end the brutal thinking that investing in more jails or harsher punishments for families just like ours is going to make this situation any better. What we deserve, all of us, is a plan that allows people to safely become a part of our country.

We need to have compassion and empathy for the human beings who are suffering in this crisis. They need to be seen as people, nothing more and nothing less. We need to end the cruel, unnecessary, and traumatizing detention of families.

Bottom line: Families belong in communities, not in cages.

More articles by:

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

April 22, 2019
Melvin Goodman
The NYTs Tries to Rehabilitate Bloody Gina Haspel
Robert Fisk
After ISIS, a Divided Iraq, Wounded and Grief-Stricken
Binoy Kampmark
Julian Assange as Neuroses
John Laforge
Chernobyl’s Deadly Effects Estimates Vary
Kenneth Surin
Mueller Time? Not for Now
Cesar Chelala
Yemen: The Triumph of Barbarism
Kerron Ó Luain
What the “White Irish Slaves” Meme Tells Us About Identity Politics
Andy Piascik
Grocery Store Workers Take on Billion Dollar Multinational
Seiji Yamada – Gregory G. Maskarinec
Health as a Human Right: No Migrants Need Apply
Howard Lisnoff
Loose Bullets and Loose Cannons
Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada
Dreaming in Miami
Graham Peebles
Consuming Stuff: The Polluting World of Fashion
Robert Dodge
Earth Day: Our Planet in Peril
Weekend Edition
April 19, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
What Will It Take For Trump to Get His Due?
Roy Eidelson
Is the American Psychological Association Addicted to Militarism and War?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Time is Blind, Man is Stupid
Joshua Frank
Top 20 Mueller Report “Findings”
Rob Urie
Why Russiagate Will Never Go Away
Paul Street
Stephen Moore Gets Something Right: It’s Capitalism vs. Democracy
Russell Mokhiber
Why Boeing and Its Executives Should be Prosecuted for Manslaughter
T.J. Coles
The Battle for Latin America: How the U.S. Helped Destroy the “Pink Tide”
Ron Jacobs
Ho Chi Minh City: Nguyen Thai Binh Street
Dean Baker
Fun Fictions in Economics
David Rosen
Trump’s One-Dimensional Gender Identity
Kenn Orphan
Notre Dame: We Have Always Belonged to Her
Robert Hunziker
The Blue Ocean Event and Collapsing Ecosystems
Theodore C. Van Alst, Jr.
Paddy Wagon
Brett Wilkins
Jimmy Carter: US ‘Most Warlike Nation in History of the World’
John W. Whitehead
From Jesus Christ to Julian Assange: When Dissidents Become Enemies of the State
Nick Pemberton
To Never Forget or Never Remember
Stephen Cooper
My Unforgettable College Stabbings
Louis Proyect
A Leftist Rejoinder to the “Capitalist Miracle”
Louisa Willcox
Aldo Leopold’s Land Ethic and the Need for a New Approach to Managing Wildlife
Brian Cloughley
Britain Shakes a Futile Fist and Germany Behaves Sensibly
Jessicah Pierre
A Revolutionary Idea to Close the Racial Wealth Divide
George Burchett
Revolutionary Journalism
Dan Bacher
U.S. Senate Confirms Oil Lobbyist David Bernhardt as Interior Secretary
Nicky Reid
The Strange Success of Russiagate
Chris Gilbert
Defending Venezuela: Two Approaches
Todd Larsen
The Planetary Cost of Amazon’s Convenience
Kelly Martin
How the White House is Spinning Earth Day
Nino Pagliccia
Cuba and Venezuela: Killing Two Birds With a Stone
Matthew Stevenson
Pacific Odyssey: Guadalcanal and Bloody Ridge, Solomon Islands
David Kattenburg
Trudeau’s Long Winter
Gary Olson
A Few Comments on the recent PBS Series: Reconstruction: America After the Civil War
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail