It is time for us all to push our elected leaders into good-faith, aisle-crossing discussions about immigration so our government never again separates the families coming to our country looking for a better life.
This has not been a good week for the United States.
It is the culmination of years of failure by our elected officials to work together in good faith to create a better immigration system. You can point fingers now at who is responsible for the latest travesty here, but this is something that has been developing for much longer. It is the perfect example of the very worst a government can be, separating children from their parents and then lying (and doubling down on the lies) about almost every aspect of it.
I don’t like to make my opinion pieces for Hotel News Now political. There’s enough blustering going on in other publications you can read about by people who know more about it than I do, and you come here to read about the hotel industry, but I honestly can’t think of another topic that is more pressing.
While the practice of separating families is supposedly stopped now (apparently only for the next 20 days), there’s still the matter of reuniting these families and how the obstacles to that are almost impossibly high. Read this piece by a public defender in The Washington Post about how difficult it has been for him to get answers about the whereabouts of his clients’ children.
I applaud those who stood up against this, either by speaking out or by refusing to participate. Multiple airlines have told the government they will not be part of this. I realize the hotel industry likely had little to no role in this, but I would urge you to still speak out to your elected representatives and remind them of what this country is supposed to stand for. You know the role immigrants play in your companies’ successes. I’ve heard at multiple conferences industry leaders speak of how important immigrants are to the industry through the work they perform. You know that this is wrong, so do something about it.
We should be better than this. We should have learned from our shared history, of humanity’s past transgressions against itself. We need to remember what we stand for, how we need to welcome those looking to us for help. Yes, we need a better system that will decide who can stay and who cannot, but it should be one that doesn’t forget that these are people in need and deserve better treatment.
Forgive me for what might appear as cliché, but what follows is important. Remember these words by Emma Lazarus in her poem “The New Colossus,” which is mounted on the Statue of Liberty:
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
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