Put walls and borders aside, show your love to immigrants

OPINION BY ABBY WICHTERMAN

The week before spring break I had the opportunity to serve in Piedras Negras, Mexico and work with immigrants who were waiting to enter America. While I was there I experienced the conditions they live in in order to gain a better life.

Many immigrants seek life in America due to constant violence in their home countries. The conditions of the refuge houses they stay in seem poor, but in reality they are safer than the lives they left.

Volunteers played with the refugee children. They would play jump rope with them, blow bubbles, sing songs, and simply laugh with them. These little things made a big impact in the immigrants lives. All photos courtesy of Jasmine Boyer

“My first thought was how terrible of a living condition it was for these people,” said Brad Starn, a Youth Pastor at Northside Christian Church in Wadsworth, Ohio, who also went on the trip. “Immediately I smelled smells that are not pleasant. I then realized that it was more than likely better than anything that they have ever had, especially recently in their lives.”

We were able to talk to and serve the immigrants who were waiting on the Mexican border. Some of the stories that the immigrants told us opened our eyes to the reality of the immigration controversy. Many of the stories that we heard from the immigrants did not correlate to the stories that we were seeing in the news.

The President is portraying the situation in Mexico as dangerous and full of criminals. This is causing people to have skewed opinions of the immigrant’s motives. Before making assumptions about the border crisis, it is vital to consider both sides. A lot of these people are simply just seeking a better life from what they had.

The circumstances that many immigrants left is unimaginable to Americans. These countries are filled with gang violence, cartels, war, and threats of dictatorships. This makes the dangerous journey to America seem worthwhile.

Like any parent, immigrants parents want a better life for their children. America offers better education systems, better job opportunities, and a safer living environment. These opportunities are why so many people want to come into America.

It is not necessary to travel all the way to Mexico in order to aid Immigrants. We need to take advantage of the ability we have to help these people. Many of the immigrants on the border would greatly benefit from the resources that we were given at birth. This means that Americans should step out and help people who need it.

“I feel as though many of us travel through life and never realize how good we have it,” Starn mentioned.

The luxury of living in the United States comes with the responsibility of keeping this the land of opportunities. A way to keep this tradition alive is by staying educated about the nation’s current issues, one such as the border crisis. On top of remaining educated, there is more that can be done in order to make an impact.

In order for these refuge houses to help immigrants on their journey to the United States, they need basic resources. Resources such as underwear, socks, shoes, and hygiene products are needed for these people who have nothing.

Mission organizations are constantly accepting monetary donations or the physical resources that the immigrants are lacking.

These donations will aid in making the immigrant’s difficult journey to the U.S. a little bit easier. They are uncertain that their journey will end in a life in America and having people care for them can give them hope.

“Even though these people have close to nothing,” Anika Conley, a former Wadsworth student, who served in Piedras Negras exclaimed. “From what I saw they were so happy for what they did have and grateful for us to be there just to hang out with them.”

If someone has the ability of making a better life for someone else, they should do their best to make it happen. It is our purpose as humans to help and love on others.

“I think people in the U.S. need to start simply treating immigrants like humans,” said Jasmine Boyer, another volunteer. “You often hear them referred to as “aliens”, but the reality is they want and need the basic things we do, and acknowledging that is the first step to helping them.”

In a world that is fueled on selfish ambition, it is time to shift focus to other people. Put walls and borders aside and think of the impact that could be made on a person’s life.

* * * * *

This opinion piece is based off Abby Wichterman’s Missionary trip to Piedras Negras, Mexico. Read more about the trip: STUDENT MISSIONARIES AID IMMIGRANTS IN MEXICO

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