And Justice For All?

No, I’m not talking about the Metallica album.

Nor the Declaration of Independence.

That's Mayra in the blue. She deserves a response from her fellow citizens.

I’m talking about a little girl in my community named Mayra Ortiz. She’s fourteen years old, the daughter of an American citizen, and she’s in danger of being deported.

How, you ask?

Simple: a combination of bureaucracy, misfortune, and the selfishness of the American people.

I’m not stupid – I realize that immigration has been an issue in this country since 1492, and it’s not one that we’ve always managed well (just Google “Trail of Tears“, “US wartime internment camps“, and “Elian Gonzalez” if you don’t believe me). I know that there are no easy fixes, and that a policy that will not only make fiscal and jurisprudential sense, but common sense, will require a deft mixture of political capital and innovative solutions, both of which seem to be in short supply in our modern governmental climate.

But what grieves me, as a citizen of this country and as a father, is when I read a story like Mayra’s – where a little girl who has done nothing wrong becomes victim to the very system that is supposed to protect her.

Look, we need laws in this country, but we also need them to make sense. Right now, immigration (both nationally and here in Georgia) doesn’t make sense of any kind whatsoever – we spend the majority of our time yelling at one another for being idiots instead of stopping to listen to one another and working on a solution. This group wants to shoot illegals on sight, while this one wants to give them a nice house and free taxpayer money, and that’s not even coming close to the real views that are out there on the extremes.

And in the midst of the cacophony, what’s just and right fails to get done.

I don’t have great solutions to the issue of illegal immigration, in part because it’s such a huge issue with so many different ramifications connected to it. To choose one course is to choose against another, and I know the analysis paralysis that comes with that responsibility. I’m not asking for us to create a law that will please everyone, mainly because I’m old enough to not believe in magical unicorns.

But what I am asking is that when the laws we currently have are creating a miscarriage of justice, we as a people need to stand up and take notice, and not just turn our head or surrender to nasty rhetoric. We need to pay attention to the human lives being affected by our government and let the government know when it’s wrong. We need, for moments such as this, to quit worrying about how the government can serve me and my needs, and consider how it should function: as the protector of our people, not our whims.

Right now, a little girl is being railroaded, and there are plenty of people who are content to let it happen, some because they don’t want to get involved, others because they are blinded by a convenient self-serving rhetoric that serves only their own best interests. As Edmund Burke is credited with a saying, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

I would say that sums up my thoughts, but for this one haunting voice that keeps repeating the same refrain; it is the voice of Jesus, asking, “What man is really good? There is none good but God.”

May He have mercy on us.