Recently a picture on the front page of the Union-Bulletin was of a young woman who identified herself as a student at Whitman College. It stated she was from Kenya. Her sign stated she was “undocumented, unafraid and unapologetic.” Then below this sign is added that “No human being is illegal.”
While I feel as though no human being should be disrespected, legal entrance into a foreign country is global. Let me explain why that picture impacted me the way it did.
In traveling throughout the years, through my husband’s work and vacationing, I have been met by authorities requesting my passport. I also felt it to be my responsibility to understand their customs and laws.
I was instructed to keep my passport with me at all times. I knew that if I didn’t follow their laws, there would be a host of difficulties. It was likely I would be escorted out of their country or the potential of incarceration.
The beauty of America is our acceptance of different cultures and our diversification, which I am very proud of. I have taught my kids that this is a small world and we should be respectful of all cultures and of people in general.
Recently a friend of mine shared with me that her daughter, who is a missionary, was incarcerated without food or water for 12 hours for teaching Bible school with other missionaries. They had crossed into a neighboring country without proper paperwork in hand. The American Embassy was finally able to win their freedom and escorted them safely out of the country.
My point is this. The young woman with the signs is young, naïve and very fortunate she is carrying these signs in America. I might add that I believe in immigration reform.
My other thought is that she needs to be mindful how she enters a country and become a member of that society. Telling law enforcement you are illegal does not seem to be the best approach to me.
My advice to her is to apply for a visa. (Which I am sure she has done, or she would not be studying at Whitman.) And as I would do to any other person, I wish her a safe and happy life journey.