Asylum-seekers have a right to humanity at least

Twenty-three adults and 13 children.

That's how many people were along for the 25-hour bus ride from Brownsville, Texas, to Los Angeles last week. The bus trip followed the journey to Brownsville from Honduras, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela, where the riders started from. There were 36 people in all, 23 adults and 13 children ranging in age from 2 to 54, according to the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights. They were put on the bus by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

"In one of the hottest summers in recent history, the lives of 36 asylum-seekers have been upended once again by political ploys courtesy of Governor Abbott," Angelica Salas, the executive director of the coalition, said in her statement. "We will rise to the moment as we have previously done when our community is being attacked or persecuted, is frightened, or needs guidance and services. We have been here before and we will stand with our community, thick and thin."

That's 36 people holed up in LA somewhere, for no reason other than to score some cheap political points for Abbott, having sat on a bus for 25 hours for absolutely no reason in the world but to suit the man's ego. Twenty-five hours on a bus to nowhere. For what?

So the governor of Texas can prove something to the governor of California?

Exactly what does this abuse of 36 men, women and children prove to anyone? Who derives pleasure from the additional suffering of these families? Who wins with their humiliation?

Surely the goal here is not to brutalize and punish the asylum-seekers, using them as chattel, pure and simple.

But what other interest is being served? Who will explain to these children what they are doing, why they are being treated this way, what the point of this exercise is?

Who will explain it to us?

In this crushing heat, where do they go? Where do they stay? What becomes of their lives?

Someday, they will grow up and look back and ask why, and what will be the answer?

Where is the humanity?

In one of the hottest summers on record, did we lend a helping hand?

There are no easy answers to the immigration issue. But putting people on buses and treating them like chattel should not be tolerated. These games among governors should be stopped. This is just inhumane. We are better than this.

Or at least we should try to be.

At a certain point, it's not about them. It's about us.

The newspaper reports don't tell us much about the people who are our new neighbors. They are, unlike sudden heroes such as submarine adventurers, unknowns to us. I wish the news accounts gave them names and faces so that we knew them, so that they were real to us, so that we would treat them as humans and not as pawns in a terrible match.

Do they have a right to asylum? A judge must decide. But they have a right to be treated like human beings, at least.

© Creators, 2023

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