I was watching the news on television the other day when a report caught my attention. It featured protestors and supporters of those who illegally immigrated here. One young child in the supporter group carried a professionally designed sign that said, “Don’t break up families!” 

That sign was intended to put a very sympathetic spin on the illegal immigration movement. Yet the sign also caused me to do some deep analysis of that situation because in the annals of our history — since the absolute very beginning — this country was formed and forged through the breakup of families.

Let’s start with the arrivals of Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock. Many of those individuals on the Mayflower left mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, and even their children to come to this country. The importation of the Atlantic Slave Trade not only broke up families, it separated people from their native homelands. 

Millions upon millions of people stolen from Africa will never know or ever be reconnected with their native lands and the people of their ancestry. The history of slavery in this country was “breaking up families” on steroids. There was not a single moment when wives weren’t lost to husbands. Sons or daughters were sold away to the highest bidder. Sisters and brothers were separated, never to see each other again. Entire families were placed on the auction block to be lost to one another — forever.

We just celebrated July 4th. Far too many individuals speak of the holiday solely by its date and not its real name of Independence Day. When this country gained its independence, there were lots of people who had family members still in Great Britain. The Civil War was another moment of “breaking up families” as brothers, fathers, mothers, and sisters took opposite sides during the conflict. 

Every immigrant group that chose to legally come to this country has “broken up” their families by leaving behind family members. It is not a phenomenon that those who came here illegally can wrap themselves in and wear as their own badge of suffering. Nor is it a reason to allow the millions who are here to remain. Their presence is an absolute affront to every immigrant who did it the “right way.” It leaves a bitter pill to swallow to see those who have lied, cheated and bypassed the rules to claim some sort of preferred position in line as if their plight were any different from millions of other immigrants all over the world. 

Lastly, the plight of the children who were left behind as their parents came here illegally cannot be overlooked. We crucify American parents who go on vacations and leave their children “home alone.” Yet why would we want as citizens people who left their children behind and then were willing to put them into a stranger’s hands to try and have them smuggled into this country? The cycle of lawlessness will continue as long as we have people whose concerns are not for the “rule of law” but is directed at only what achieves their goals. 

 Until the entire voting populace of this country begins to remove from office those who swear to uphold the laws when they take office and then promptly proceed to disregard the very laws they are supposed to enforce, we won’t move forward but remain divided and stagnant as a nation. As our Border Patrol is forced to become babysitters, we have no clue who or what else is sneaking over our southern border. The price we pay for the lax security will fall directly at the feet of whoever is sitting in the White House.

Lastly, I became the subject of a written blog attack by someone who had nothing else to do that afternoon. My response is thus: “I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence” (Frederick Douglass).

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