Seeking Asylum

The pressure on my chest was so great, I could no longer breathe. My husband sat perched on my torso as he pummeled my face. Through his fists, I saw my daughter in the corner of the room. Tears were streaming down her cheeks. She turned away. At just three years old, she knew what was coming. This was a daily occurrence. There on the floor, as my daughter stood screaming in horror, my husband performed unspeakable acts. After enduring this for years, I had had enough, and I finally found the courage to leave.

My brother knew my plan but realized my husband would make it nearly impossible to leave unless I went where he could not find me. He told me of a safe house far away and decided to help me get there. One night, after my husband fell asleep, I pulled my daughter from her bed and we fled. We traveled on foot for what felt like forever. We encountered formidable danger and severe dehydration but the promise to escape that monster propelled us forward.

After weeks, my brother told me we were almost there. We saw the lights ahead. Freedom, safety and a new life were within reach. Suddenly, a man in a brown uniform stopped us. I heard my brother’s pleading tone but my daughter’s cries drowned their conversation, so I picked up my baby and started to rock her, whispering that everything would be okay. Finally, we’d be okay. Then, without warning, the man snatched my daughter from my arms. I heard her screaming and calling out for me but I couldn’t get to her.

In an instant, my child disappeared. My brother explained what was happening but it fell on deaf ears as I felt cold metal against the skin on my wrist. They piled us into a crowded van, and we sped away. Covered in filth and tears, we asked others what happens to the children. No one knew.

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The United States once represented a safe house. We welcomed immigrants, especially those fleeing abuse or tyranny, with open arms. But Jeff Sessions changed that. While my simple description above barely captures what asylum-seekers experience, it’s as far as I can imagine. Delving into further darkness is too much to bear. I walk out my back door to take my pure bred dogs out. I feel the warm sun on my skin and hear the soft sound of the wind chime I bought my daughter at the garden store. My life is so brilliantly privileged while others are currently facing the unfathomable at our borders.

The arguments from the other side are ignorant and hateful. They justify and defend through falsehoods. I’ve sat here deconstructing their arguments over and over again but what does it matter? They are blind. I don’t understand how any parent can defend what is going on. Whether or not you want a damn wall. Whether or not you think immigrants should go back from where they came. Whether or not the Democrats passed a law in the 1990s.

Should our country continue on this path, Americans will one day need to seek our own asylum. I wonder if we’ll be presented with the same adversities when we land on foreign soil.

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