Twenty-nine years ago, my family and I immigrated to the United States with $400 to our name. We were fleeing the end of the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s and returning to the country where my parents were educated.
We knew America to be grounded in decency and opportunity. We claimed that here. My older brother became a contractor for a nuclear submarine company, me an advocate for students with disabilities in K-12 education.
This was what was so heartbreaking when, just over 29 days ago, I did a border immersion experience in El Paso. I met children and families who had made the near ultimate sacrifice and were treated in the most inhumane way imaginable. These were no more criminals than my own family was 29 years ago, or your parents, grandparents or great-grandparents were. They were escaping from criminal factions and gangs in countries like Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.
Yet, unlike my family, these people are demonized as criminals by our commander-in-chief.
I have the distinct pleasure of being represented by Sens. Manchin and Capito, and Rep. McKinley, who know this isn’t right and, occasionally, make half-hearted statements against this administration’s cruelty. An occasional statement is insufficient. Defending our values demands consistent action.
As chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on homeland security, Capito can make a change, and it is time she does so. Only then will we reclaim the Statue of Liberty as our national symbol, rather than some over-priced and cruel border wall.