Addressing deaths at the border
A letter to the editor and open letter to Harriet Hageman
July 27, 2023
Dear Mrs. Hageman,
Many thanks on your recent town hall tour around the state. It was a pleasure to see you in Douglas (June 30, ‘23). You may remember me from that meeting. We spoke briefly about the issue of those individuals at the US southern border. There were a few more thoughts that I had, a few points that I was hoping to make, if you would indulge me.
You encouraged us to be active, engaged, citizens. I agree with that principle very much. As such, I’m writing both to you, and to the editors of a few of the newspapers around our great state. God willing, one or two may publish it.
Your main position regarding the border is that it is necessary to secure it. This is, without question, true. Another point that you brought up was that thousands were dying by attempting to cross it illegally, by turning to the cartels and human traffickers. That it is the job of the Executive branch, rather than that of Congress, to enforce border security and to process immigrants and asylum seekers. These points are solid, and should not, in my opinion, be questioned.
As a member of Congress, along with your fellows Mr. Barrasso and Mrs. Lummis, you are in a special position. You are one of perhaps roughly four hundred people in the nation, that I can think of, who has access to President and can wield some influence, if they choose. (Those individuals being the members of Congress, the members of SCOTUS, the State Governors, and the like… as you surely know.) It is, as I understand it, by making deals that successful governing takes place.
As you mentioned, Mrs. Hageman, thousands of people at the border are dying trying to cross. There is a massive bottleneck in processing, causing people who have fled their countries, to seek illegal means to cross and risk their lives in order to cross to safety. Completely closing our borders now is little different than sending European Jews, who were seeking asylum, back to Nazi Germany as was done in our grandparents’ time. This was a major reason our current asylum laws exist. I’m not saying that anyone is a Nazi, but as far as numbers are concerned, deaths are still taking place.
Here in the great state of Wyoming we pride ourselves on equality. This is, after all, the “Equality State.” There are few of us who would say we were inherently better than anyone else. There are few of our fellow citizens, cowboys or not, who would wish to change the noble character of our state motto, and what it represents. True equality for all. Equal treatment and equal rights for all. It is an ideal truly worth living up to.
For those among us who profess faith in Christ, when we crack that Book, we see several commandments. Of course, put God first. But likewise, treat everyone else in the same way in which we would wish to be treated. If someone comes to you desperate for help, then we are told to help them. Also, if it is within our power, we are told to save the life of the stranger, for they are as your brother or sister, just as the Samaritan did.
Now, for those of us who may not profess such faith, most of us still recognize that which is right and just. People tend to remember and rightly honor those who act justice and mercy. It’s a human trait to do so. People always respect action.
Thinking about it, two problems can often be used to solve one another. If you’re creative, multiple things can be solved at once. Border security is a serious issue that many of us care about. There is also a humanitarian crisis, of thousands dying in our southern desserts. Surely by being willing to cooperate on one issue, you can gain cooperation on the other? This is a part of the art of governance.
As for those unfortunates that are waiting, whose fate is uncertain, most of them simply seek to be law abiding, workers, and taxpayers, regardless of if they gain citizenship or not. (As you know, we all pay sales tax on everything that they buy, and income tax is automatically withdrawn from every paycheck issued to anyone.) In theory one way to raise revenue is to bring in more tax payers.
One who governs wisely learns from the mistakes of other policy makers. With BREXIT Great Britain is now suffering, realizing that she has lost more than she gained. BREXIT was sold, in part, as a security measure to the people of England. Now, farms are failing due to lack of migrant workers that normally assist during harvest. Florida, also, is feeling a similar pinch after passing some bills that have the same effect. Migrants tend to fill jobs that no one else wants, and thereby help the economy in general.
These are complex issues, complex problems, more than most people should be asked to solve by themselves. Please don’t think that I’m trying to ask you to solve them. Solving problems is not what I’m asking of you. I’m simply asking that you do what you can to improve the situation, to whatever degree you can. We tend to raise ourselves when we build people up. It’s a general law of Karma… You reap that which you sow. When you are willing to help others, you end up helping yourself as well.
I’ve heard it said that when you save a life, you become the mother of generations. People are unnecessarily dying. Not being of help puts the choice before them of suffering what they risk their lives fleeing, or risk their lives and breaking USCIS laws. It’s a very hard spot for an individual to be in… perhaps the hardest possible. Much can be gained, in many ways, by relieving this pressure.
I’ve heard it said “Let deeds, not words, be your adorning.” Deeds, not words, Mrs. Hageman… Deeds, not words. I know that you will do that which you feel is best. I bow to your wisdom in this matter. I thank you for your service, in whatever decision you choose to make.