If the photo of those Syrian refugees touched your heart, so should the stories of countless immigrants from Latin America

Recently, there has been a photo going around Facebook with an image of man crying and holding his children with the ocean in the background, their clothing visibly wet and clinging to their bodies, the little girl wearing a bright green life vest. The look of anguish on the man’s face is enough to piece through anyone’s heart–or so you would hope.

This image is being passed around with a long message from Facebook user Shannon Scopa, and in it, she denounces the racist platform of Donald Trump as well as tying together the hypocrisy of folks who are both anti-abortion and who constantly rant against immigrants in this country. Scopa goes on:

Don’t talk to me about the sanctity of life if in the next breath you can start foaming at the mouth about “illegals” and the horrors they bring with them.

I completely agree with her view but there is something that bothers me about all this. Why is it that people need to see the suffering on other people’s faces in order to commiserate with their plight? Why is it that those of us fortunate enough to live inside a country that is not currently ruled by a dictatorship or who aren’t experiencing the extreme violence of anti-government protests, whose children aren’t dying by the thousands due to domestic violence or being forced to join gangs for survival, whose families aren’t terrified of local drug cartels, or whose women and children aren’t being forced into sexual slavery in astronomical numbers cannot simply have compassion for their fellow human beings when they come into this country in search of safety and a better life? Why is it not enough for those here to say, “Yes, you are coming from a country that has been ravaged by corruption and war, from a nation that is the poorest on this side of the planet with 1 in 5 children experiencing malnourishment, we understand why you risked your life to get here and you are WELCOME on this land”?

It is completely bewildering to me that the statistics and the first-person accounts of people coming in from Latin America (El Salvador, Nicaragua, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Guatemala, Honduras, etc.) simply aren’t enough. 

It also saddens me when an image of a Syrian family arriving in Greece (and experiencing their own personal pain) is used in a discussion about how we in the States feel about immigration into our own country, mainly because there are already countless images of people arriving from Latin America which would better fit the conversation. 

 
    
But maybe these images aren’t dramatic enough since we don’t see anyone crying.

I’m glad the original post was made and is gaining traction, but I hope that more compassion can be raised for those immigrating into our own country. 

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One thought on “If the photo of those Syrian refugees touched your heart, so should the stories of countless immigrants from Latin America

  1. Thanks for this! I live in Mexico, and there are thousands of central american immigrants passing through every single day. They face hardship, thirst, hunger, violence, and even death on their way to the USA, but there is hardly any compassion for them here. Why? I don’t understand. It is tragic when someone decides to flee their country, but it is even more tragic the when rest of the world chooses to turn a blind eye to their suffering.

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