[The wall would have a door.] And if someone wanted to come into the Land of the Free, that person would knock on the gate and someone would check them out. And if they were freedom-loving they’d be let in and if they weren’t, they wouldn’t. It was that simple.
What a nice sentiment. Is it that simple?
This is an excerpt from a troubling children’s book by Eric Metaxas that just released called “Donald Builds the Wall.” *insert the hardest eye roll*
Sadly, many Americans today think about immigration with that same children’s book logic. It is a gross understatement and an offense to those who have been trying for years to do things the right way. (and honestly, to those who had no choice but to cross the border looking for security) Let me just walk you through the preliminary steps to applying for a visitor’s visa from a country like Honduras:
- find a computer and place with reliable wifi (since 62% of the population live below the national poverty line they are already at a disadvantage)
- go to the U.S. embassy website
- click on a couple links redirecting you to “read more about…” pages
- find an external link to a travel docs website to start application
- determine your type of visa
(abbreviated list of visa categories – full list here)
- a couple hours later start the application
- realize it is only in English
- find someone who understands English well enough to assist you throughout the application process
- receive multiple error messages because the website glitches out frequently
- hours (or days) later finish application
- print application and confirmation number
- stand in line for a couple hours at your local bank to pay $160 for your pending embassy appointment
- call the embassy to schedule your appointment several weeks or months out
- start checking off the elusive what-you-need-for-a-visa checklist like: a large amount of money in the bank with bank statements, a notarized letter from an employer, documents of any property or assets owned (again, a large portion of the country is already disqualified), a letter from someone in the U.S. inviting you and offering to cover in-country costs, your passport with possible foreign trips to neighboring countries, etc etc (there is no definite list of requirements; the point is to prove significant ties to your country of origin and financial stability)
- travel to the U.S. embassy the day of your appointment (often hours and many bus fares later) and after just minutes with an agent receive the decision with no further explanation: DENIED
Countless hours and days and money are wasted on another futile attempt just to visit the United States.
I can’t tell you how many times this exact same scenario has played out before my eyes with personal family and friends here in Honduras. (medical doctors, completely bilingual individuals, pastors, etc) And I can’t express emphatically enough how this broken system affects me on a personal level. Let me say this for those hard of hearing: THEY ARE NOT PASSING OUT VISAS LIKE CANDY. It is a very vague and unpredictable process. Don’t you dare compare filling out a form and getting your passport photo taken at the post office to applying for a U.S. visitor’s visa, Sharon.
We have heard from a trusted source that many times the U.S. embassy here in Honduras has already determined the decision before the applicant even arrives at their offices. (!!!) How unfair is that?
It is ludicrous to believe that just because an individual was fortunate enough to be born in a rich country with powerful passports, or just because an individual was fortunate enough to be approved at their visa interview (by some luck of the draw!) that they are somehow more worthy of living in the U.S. than others.
We can all agree that foreign convicted felons and terrorists lost their chance of entrance. Period. But why is it so hard for the average, honest, hard-working immigrant (who shares more values with conservatives than many of our “conservative leaders” I MIGHT ADD) to be allowed in? (Don’t get me started on the new refugee cap, the LOWEST in U.S. history)
This is what comprehensive immigration reform is, people. It is not open borders.
I would not be so opposed to talk of a wall (because yes! national security is important) if I actually heard politicians at the same time proposing actual plans to FIX THE BROKEN IMMIGRATION SYSTEM. If being freedom-loving were the only requirement, so many people that I love and care about would have a fair chance of traveling to the U.S.
I AM, for the record, opposed to indoctrinating children through a book that their undocumented immigrant classmates are “swamp creatures” and inferior. What the heck?! And this is being endorsed by Christian leaders in our nation. I am severely disappointed today.
In conclusion, don’t buy this book for your child… or any child. Teach them understanding and compassion instead. Here’s a good list of 11 children’s books about immigrant stories to get for the kids in your life instead.
If you do talk to your kids about weirdly political topics like this I hope it is so you can remind them that it doesn’t matter a person’s status, or where they were born, or how they got here… they’re human and have inherent dignity just like anyone else. Maybe then your child will be the one inviting the lonely Hispanic kid to sit with her at lunch instead of leading a group chant of “Build the Wall!” during P.E.