Joyce needs more global vision of border crisis

This is in response to Rep. John Joyce’s interview, “Joyce’s trip to border called ‘eye opening,'” published in the Mirror last week.

I admire Joyce for going to the border and understand his desire to “meet with agents on the front lines.”

However, I also went to the border around the same time, and I had a completely different experience. He went to Arizona, and I went to El Paso, Texas. He did not speak with the asylum seekers; I did.

I volunteered with the Annunciation House and spoke to these adults and children for a week.

We provided hot meals, beds and medical attention for these families. We reviewed the ICE paperwork with them and called their sponsors.

The sponsors are responsible for buying airplane or bus tickets for these families. The excitement in the sponsors’ voices as they heard that their families/friends were safe and could finally reunite was electrifying.

The joy and relief that I heard was something that I will never forget. Much like our ancestors, these people have traveled thousands of miles, often carrying small children, to find a better life for their families.

They are running away from violence, hunger and countries with no future because of poverty and chaos. After hearing their stories, may I never complain that my life is complicated or difficult.

I find the comment, “(Joyce) believes children like the ones accompanying adults he saw apprehended this week are being ‘recycled to bring more adults across the border,'” is a tactic to make people turn against and fear immigrants. I would like to see verifiable evidence.

It is similar to the incorrect rumor that Joyce spread about the immigrants bringing “drug resistant tuberculosis.”

I never felt in danger; I only felt that these gracious people need our help and were willing to work and follow the laws of asylum to be able to live in safety. I also do not agree with his comment, “Most asylum claims are not legit.”

However, we both agree with his comment, “It’s amazingly sad how overrun our border patrol agents are.”

We do need to change the way we handle these families and people. We must remember that they are not criminals; they have a right to seek asylum, and we must treat them as humans.

I fear that Joyce and many others do not see them as the people and families that they are. They do not listen to their stories. They simply judge the humanitarian crisis without speaking to those in crisis.

I would be happy to go to the border to interpret for Joyce. I want him to see these families as they are, people who have left their homes to protect the lives of their children. I feel that if he had the chance to listen and talk to these families, he would feel differently.

The world has a humanitarian crisis of refugees fleeing inhumane circumstances.

Our plan should also include a global plan with leaders from around the world working together to protect these children and families and work to solve our global refugee problem.

Turning our back is not a solution.

Sandra Dangler

Altoona

(The writer is a certified English as a second language and Spanish teacher and registered nurse.)

COMMENTS