Love thy neighbor as thyself

BY CODY BAKER

On Sept. 6, dozens of Trump banners, American flags and handmade posters made their way across the lake as local Republicans gathered for Storm Lake’s “Trump 2020 Boat Rally.” The spectacle was hard to miss and you’d be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t have a strong opinion about the event one way or another. But the real story that should be on every Storm Laker’s mind came a few days later, when President Trump formally rolled out a list of potential Supreme Court nominees for his second term — among them, U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz and Tom Cotton. Cruz and Cotton are two of the most outspoken lawmakers in their opposition of DACA, a program that protects children born in the United States from deportation. The appointment of either Cruz or Cotton would give Trump the court majority he needs to rescind DACA and enact new laws allowing for the deportation of DREAMers (U.S. born children whose parents came here illegally).

These policies would devastate our community in immeasurable ways. Admit it or not, undocumented immigrants are a huge asset to our town, culturally and economically. While it’s hard to pinpoint how many reside here, one source from Storm Lake schools puts their estimate at 5%. That’s 500 out of Storm Lake’s 10,000 residents (which itself is likely an under-projection of the city’s population). A good chunk of those are children who were born here. These kids grew up alongside yours — their heart and soul is here in the U.S. They haven’t done anything wrong, and they didn’t choose to be DREAMers.

I can already hear the rebuttal: “but their parents knew the risk when they brought them here illegally!” To that I’d counter, why should innocent children be punished because their parents dared to dream of a better life for them? To upend a healthy, happy and functional American family is unjustifiable. And that’s before we even get into the well-documented horror stories of ICE raids and deportations: children dying in custody due to lack of medical care, or waking up in an empty home, their parents having been taken in the night. No, this isn’t “just politics.” It’s not “agree to disagree.” It’s a moral crisis, and in a few years it could be your neighbor’s new reality. At the end of it all, to love thy neighbor as thyself is a core American value that eclipses any political party or position. 

During a campaign stop in Storm Lake in 2016, Ted Cruz received a question from a tearful DACA recipient, who expressed concern about being ripped from her community and her job helping special-needs children — to which Cruz responded: “There are human tragedies when people break the law.” With our votes and our voices, let’s tell Washington that we don’t want any more human tragedies in our town.

Cody Baker is a 2017 graduate of Storm Lake High School. He has been living in Storm Lake, but he is moving to Chicago in a few weeks.

Articles Section: