On Resolution No. 19-003
I appreciate the City Council’s desire to take a stand against the Zero Tolerance Policy that has been adopted by this administration.
This past Saturday morning, I was considering the words I was uttering in prayer, which spoke of lifting up the fallen, giving strength to the weary, and opening the eyes of those who can’t see. The United States has, at times, done all of that and more.
At other times, fear-based policies that do not help our country have won the day. The flow of immigration that was reduced by law to a trickle in 1924 was mostly motivated by a desire to adjust the racial and ethnic composition of the United States population back to what it had been in 1890.
The Alien Registration Act of 1940 turned long-time residents into only temporary pariahs if they were lucky. At that time, my grandmother had to go report to a post office after being a well-documented resident of Kansas City for 36 years.
Some people today so easily use words like alien, invader, stranger, foreigner, and illegal not while speaking in the realm of law, but for the purpose of ostracizing people, perhaps even to dehumanize them, all because of a fear of change.
At this moment, fear will get us nowhere. A measured and thoughtful application of existing laws will better serve our nation’s well-being and security and offer people seeking freedom from oppression and violence a chance to seek asylum and refuge.
I support your proposed resolution today, with the hope that your statement will help to reunite parents separated from children, keep families together, and create more of a sense of unity as our nation turns 242 years old this week.