Children and Youth

COMMUNITY OPINION: Insiders and Outsiders

The number of people in San Benito County making intolerant, ignorant, and xenophobic remarks regarding new housing developments, the homeless population, and undocumented immigrants is disturbing.

This opinion was contributed by community member Heather Graham. The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent BenitoLink or other affiliated contributors.

As a San Benito County resident, I am disappointed to see our community segregating itself into a culture of insiders and outsiders. The number of people I see or hear making intolerant, ignorant, and xenophobic remarks regarding new housing developments and the homeless population is disturbing.

If we’re all too busy labeling each other and bickering with each other on social media, and in person, then we’re never going to have enough energy left at the end of a long hard day of work and commuter traffic, to demand a quality of life for ourselves and our children that includes tap water we actually want to drink and a wage we can comfortably live on.

For now, perhaps we could cease petty squabbling about traffic, roads, homeless people, and people on welfare, and instead direct our attention toward the detention facilities imprisoning children at the U.S.-Mexico border. Kids are being separated from their families, for the crime of crossing a border illegally. It is a despicable and utterly devastating situation much worthier of community outrage.

As reports and video evidence of the incarceration of these minors continue to permeate through all forms of media, the pro-life crowd is noticeably silent in San Benito County right now, considering the news reports that young children are being deprived of physical reassurance and soothing touch, which we understand to be a life-threatening form of torture for a child.

Yet, what if you had to choose between surrendering your child to the uncaring hand of homeland security, where at least they would, presumably, remain fed, clothed, sheltered, and in one piece, rather than see them come to harm or succumb to illness and/or starvation. For many undocumented immigrants and asylum seekers, crossing the border is a matter of life or death.

Now, before anyone dares to defend this form of child abuse by claiming that people who cross the border illegally are criminals who deserve to have their children taken from them and impounded. Or that people who immigrate here illegally do so mainly to take advantage of state and federal programs, please remember most working-class people in this state, and in this country, are about two paychecks shy of abject poverty. So, don’t get too comfy up there on your high horse, furthermore, can we all agree here and now that what's being done to these kids is inexcusable. 

It’s not easy for me to love America right now, but believe me, I still do, so before you tear me apart in the comments, just remember that this opinion piece is coming from a place of heartfelt love and concern for innocent children. 

Heather Graham

I was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. I moved to California at the age of 18. Now, age 31, I have been happily married to my high school sweetheart seven years, we have one son together. In addition to being a wife and mother, I am also a college student. My interests include writing, photography, books, and films.