In 1984, Band-Aid, a group made up of famous musicians, got together in the UK and recorded the song Do They Know it’s Christmas in the hopes of raising funds to help people suffering during a famine in Ethiopia.
While some view the lyrics as slightly problematic, the song raised a significant amount of money and awareness about an important global issue during the holiday season.
While we’re snuggled up, still snacking on leftover turkey in this strange no man’s land between Christmas and New Year’s, let’s ask exactly the same question – do they know it’s Christmastime at all?
Except we’re not asking about Ethiopia.
Now we ask: do they know it’s Christmas at the American border?
You must be tired of hearing about this. I know I certainly am. I would have thought over a year ago that I would be able to stop writing about kids my age and younger who are living in glorified concentration camps on the American border.
I really thought that it would be over by now.
In July of 2018, I wrote an article titled, What Happened America.
In it, I wrote: “The war on immigrant families in America is currently the most pressing threat against young people in the western world.”
The holiday season is a time for reflection and giving and kindness. So I can’t sit through another Christmas, wondering about those children at the border.
According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 851,508 people were detained at the U.S.-Mexico border; 473,682 were made up of families, and 76,020 of those people were labelled simply “unaccompanied Alien Child.”
Most of those families were separated, sometimes for months at a time before being sent back to Mexico.
According to the Associated Press, there were still over 4,000 children being detained at the border this November, with more arriving all the time.
The border protection data says that in November alone, 3,321 unaccompanied children were detained.
With the cold data out of the way, I’d like to take a moment to outline the kind of conditions these children face in these detention facilities.
Plenty of articles have been put out– about the lack of nutritious food, the lack of medical care. There are plenty of articles and photographs of kids huddled under tinfoil blankets, sitting on concrete floors, begging to be led out and reunited with their parents.
But what you can do?
I’m finished with being polite about politics. The holidays can be stressful when it comes to political issues – nothing’s worse than watching relatives arguing over politics, over the turkey.
However, there’s no argument when it comes to detention camps. There should be no argument that families deserve to be safe and together, especially at Christmastime.
Again, it might seem difficult because all of this is going on south of the border, but the border is only a 45-minute drive from Maple Ridge.
This has been going on for years at this point, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t wrong.
It doesn’t mean that during this season of all seasons, we should be outraged that children and teens are being ripped from their families.
Post online, voice that outrage. Donate to groups like the ACLU, which is campaigning to end family separation at the border.
Avoid companies that support Donald Trump, his administration, and the detention camps themselves.
Let’s remember the last time people were put in detention camps like this, we were at war with the people doing it, and we didn’t use nice, clean-sounding names like “holding facility.”
We called them what they were, and that was concentration camp.
No child deserves to sit in a holding cell during the Christmas season.
Let’s hope that New Year’s sees them free.