The 19 terrorists did more than kill 3,000 people and bring down the World Trade Center on 9/11. They planted a fear of the stranger that distorts foreign policy, rejects immigrants and drives gun sales.
As I write, an estimated 5,000 people are trudging from Honduras to the U.S. border, fleeing from danger and poverty, hoping for a better future, and finding safety in numbers to make the journey. It's a tough trek, hot and long — about 1,400 miles. At 20 miles a day — a hard march — the people will be here about nine days before Christmas, just in time to participate for real in the popular novena Las Posadas, where neighbors playing the roles of Jesus and Mary go from house to house, asking for shelter and being told there is no room.
Ironies abound. The Obama administration ignored the coup in Honduras than has imprisoned political protesters and resumed corrupt practices. The Trump administration threatens to end aid that is meant to ease the poverty of Hondurans. But I haven't heard that gun imports will be blocked. Meanwhile, U.S. residents are not replacing ourselves. The birthrate is dropping. We need immigrants.
I'll be at the Nogales, Arizona, border Nov. 16-18 to participate in the School of the Americas Watch (SOAW) Border Encuentro. The heart of our protest challenges U.S. military training of foreign troops and transfer of weapons to those troops. In the past that training has included methods of torture and suppression of political protest. (Honduran troops have received U.S training.) .
We will stand there at the border, knowing that thousands are marching toward us. There is such fear in my heart for those marchers. We are their only hope, and our government has put the National Guard and Border Patrol on military alert, as if these pilgrims had the power to tear down our World Trade Center all over again. But we won't just stand at the border we will sing "We Are Walking in the Light of God."