Former President Obama on Wednesday lamented the broken families “whose plights we see and heart-rending cries we hear” and questioned what their cruel treatment says about where America is heading.
”Are we a nation that accepts the cruelty of ripping children from their parents’ arms, or are we a nation that values families, and works to keep them together?,” he wrote in a Facebook posting for World Refugee Day. “Do we look away, or do we choose to see something of ourselves and our children?”
Without mentioning President Trump by name or his “zero tolerance” immigration policy that is tearing families apart at the border, Obama asked his readers to put themselves in the shoes of someone not born in America.
”Imagine if you’d been born in a country where you grew up fearing for your life, and eventually the lives of your children. A place where you finally found yourself so desperate to flee persecution, violence, and suffering that you’d be willing to travel thousands of miles under cover of darkness, enduring dangerous conditions, propelled forward by that very human impulse to create for our kids a better life,” he wrote.
”That’s the reality for so many of the families whose plights we see and heart-rending cries we hear,” he continued.
That ability to empathize is “part of what makes us human. And to find a way to welcome the refugee and the immigrant – to be big enough and wise enough to uphold our laws and honor our values at the same time – is part of what makes us American.”
He pointed out that all Americans “were strangers once” and that they crossed the Atlantic, the Pacific or the Rio Grande and “this country welcomed them in.”
”To be an American is to have a shared commitment to an ideal – that all of us are created equal, and all of us deserve the chance to become something better,” he said.
That’s the legacy “our parents and grandparents and generations before created for us.”
It’s a legacy worth protecting with deeds not words, he said.
”But we have to do more than say ’this isn’t who we are.’ We have to prove it – through our policies, our laws, our actions, and our votes,” he said.
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