Like any barrier, there is a space in between, no man’s land. It’s like an easement. It belongs to no one and at the same time, to everyone. Fences are built to either keep things in or keep things out. The United States used to present itself to the world as the land of opportunity. That was either received as an opportunity for good, or an opportunity for bad. People came to our border for both – they either have experienced unspeakable horror, are victims of oppression, want a better life, or they are criminals and oppressors. Sadly, our face to the world is no longer welcoming. But that doesn’t stop people from trying to get here. Some are fortunate – they have the means to come through the front door. But many arrive at the back door, hoping beyond hope that we will let them in. They are desperate, many victims of violence, some accompanied by children, often they are children. There are people who, as a career, are charged with protecting our borders. This is how they make a living and support their families. It’s their job and they have sworn an oath to do it. Again, a no man’s land. They are human. They have children. They see horrible things. They provide a moment of comfort and protection. They send people back, sometimes more than once. They take the migrants back across the bridge. And then? I struggle with the competing forces. We want our country to be safe, but we also want to help others in need. Where do we reach the compromise? How do we separate those with true need from those who deceptively prey on kindness? Do we let God sort it out? Do we take the hard line against the evil at the expense of the innocent? I find myself with more questions and still no answers and I’m scared about our future. I am normally able to make conscious decisions on good vs. evil, right vs. wrong, lawful vs. criminal. This is an uncomfortable place for me. I’m in no man’s land.
By Bev Stotz, Vice President, BSC Board of Directors
*Reflection after visiting the U.S./Mexico border through a BSC community immersion.