As we have reached the close of 2018 and have moved into 2019, it is worth reflecting on the events of this passing year in the hope that we may begin a new year with kindness, tolerance and compassion.
We are currently in the middle of a Government shutdown where hundreds of thousands of federal workers have started the year wondering when, or if, they will receive their next paycheck. Regardless of your political leaning, we all want border security and comprehensive immigration reform, but to hold these workers as an economic hostage is simply unacceptable. We should not be proud of this shutdown or be influenced by the unelected talking heads who promote it. Fellow Americans are facing genuine hardship and we need to rise above this political chaos as our nation is only as strong as our most vulnerable members.
We Democrats are calling for an immediate reopening of the Government and that all employees be paid on time and be allowed to do their jobs-administrating our country and keeping us safe. Immigration is a complex issue and cannot be solved with the building of a physical barrier on our border. A recent Homeland Security report showed that most illegal immigration came from people who overstayed their visas. We need to have a comprehensive system that can deal sympathetically with DACA and asylum seekers. We need to listen to our border security agents who want more financial support and electronic monitoring of the border rather than a physical barrier. We need to listen to the ranchers whose property will be taken by eminent domain and the communities that will be divided. We need to remember that the southern border is the deepest part of the Rio Grande and you can’t build a wall on shifting sands.
We need sensible immigration reform that is fair and consistent with our values. And this will take time.
We have spent most of 2018 in divisive rhetoric. We have labelled, namecalled, judged, removed children from their parents; turned our backs on the sick and needy; and abandoned our allies. We are so much better than this.
My sincere wish for 2019 is a return to the values that define us and made us the greatest nation in the world. A nation of respect, democracy, freedoms and unity. We are one nation: with liberty and justice for all.
JULIE HILBERG is the Atascosa County Democratic Chair and writes on matters that are important to her, the Democratic Party and hopefully you – the reader. You may reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.