Talk about a wall and I see the fence and the bridges and the river and the traffic and that crazy unique culture that's neither pure United States nor truly traditional Mexico.
I listen to viewpoints about Mexico while I go back and forth from Mexico.
Talk about Mexicans and I see the faces of people I love. The brothers and sisters in Christ who celebrate and mourn and laugh and cry with my family. The kids I spend time with, who call me "teacher," who write me notes with "te quiero," who laugh at my Spanish and my dancing and still give me a hug when I leave. Our neighbors who smile when I drive by, who wave at me when his trash cart passes.
I listen to opinions on immigration policy.
Talk about immigration policy. I see faces of immigrants. I recall a tour of the Border Patrol facility and the holding cell full of men and women. I remember being stopped on the bridge on a warm summer evening when a group of kids came through the dozen lanes of traffic and surrendered themselves to United States ICE agents right behind our car. I see the people I have known (multiple people, not a person) who were brought to the US as very young children and are now adults without proper documentation, truly without a country to call their own. I think of my friends who have done it "the right way," and still live with underlying anxiety of being deported. I think of my friends and colleagues and teachers who immigrated and found amazing welcome in the United States.
I listen to a clamor about refuges.
Talk about refugees. I see the faces of Somalian and Sudanese and Haitian and Iranian and Karen friends. I smell the spices and incense and heavy perfume that permeates the air of their barely standard housing; the food and gifts that they were quick to generously share with their English teacher. I see their kids, representing every shade of melanin, that my kids played with on Monday nights. I have memory of time spent with a family for a couple of unusually cold nights without heat. We prayed that their father-husband-provider might find favor in securing a job before the rapidly approaching deadline and end to government benefits. I hear their voices, telling their stories of suffering and displacement and courage and perseverance, over and again in my memory.
I well know that policy should not be based on emotion. And I dare not suggest solutions to problems more complex than I understand. But I do know that faith tells me what is good and what the Lord requires of me; to do justly and love mercy and walk humbly with my God. I'm thankful that I see faces.