Our Country’s Identity Crisis

Genealogy has been a hot topic for many years, the biggest beneficiary being ancestry.com. My sister has gone much further than looking relatives up online, serving as my family’s true genealogist for decades. She physically goes to courthouses in each state we’ve lived in to look up records that confirm a family member’s identity, and interviews relatives to find out about people she may have missed. This effort of hers has gone on for most of my adult life.

As for my efforts on where my ancestors came from, I once bought kits from AncestryDNA, 23andMe, and MyHeritageDNA to see if all three would bring back the same results. The saliva-based tests indeed confirmed what my sister already knew. I am mostly British and Irish, with a little German and Scandinavian in my bones. Sadly, there’s no Cherokee Indian as many Southerners assume they are.

Never do we expect as Americans that our results will come back as North American, and if it did we might even be disappointed or bored by the results, which means the vast majority of us are immigrants and are indeed proud of the fact our genealogy is traced to another country. It’s why I find it ironic that those who lack compassion for the current treatment of immigrant children are the very ones to brag about said genealogy and where their family came from.

When children are held in custody at our southern border, they are not supposed to be detained by Border Patrol agents for more than 72 hours before being sent to the Department of Health and Human Services. From there, the government finds its nearest relative within our country to house them. If they are instead to remain in detention, the Flores agreement states it should be under the least restrictive conditions possible.

The past few weeks investigators have begun touring these detention centers and interviewed the children, and the findings have outraged a large number of Americans. Lack of toothbrushes, clean clothes, and proper bedding are some of the details that have been revealed.

An 11-year-old said during his interview, “There are little kids here who have no one to take care of them, not even a big brother or sister. Some kids are only two or three years old and they have no one to take care of them.”

It was earlier reported that in each of the past four years, 1,000 or more immigrants children who arrived at the border without parents have been sexually abused while in government custody.

When posting such atrocities online, someone argued that these children’s parents put them in this situation, so why should we give these kids a pass? What kind of identity crisis is our country in? Do we pride ourselves on being the land of opportunity while at the same time building a wall to keep people out? Do we brag about the trip our ancestors took to come to America in order to have a better life, all while making it hard for immigrants to obtain U.S. citizenship?

I understand it’s a complex issue but don’t see an end-result we as a country are working toward. Devolving into a fractured people, some of whom have no compassion for children of a different race, doesn’t suggest we’ll find that shared goal soon.