Si, No, Culpable.
Reflection by Dulce Sanabria
Shackles. That was the first thing I saw as I walked into that courtroom today. These individuals are already so vulnerable, they are being subjected to unjust surrender, and they still need shackles?
Today we witnessed an Operation Streamline hearing at the Federal Courthouse. This practice criminalizes 75 individuals caught crossing the border in a mere hour and a half. These practices happen every day, Monday through Friday. They operate like clockwork, like a business, like these individuals are subjects and not people. The intent is to start the deportation process for as many people as possible as quickly as possible. The intent is to criminalize those that cross without regard for their reasons and to chip away at any possibility to legally enter the country in the future. The intent is to other them, to dehumanize them, to reduce them.
“Si.” “No.” “Culpable.”
This is what these individuals are reduced to. There is no hearing for their stories or their motives. We are seated as far away from them as possible. There is no hearing for their reasons, their personhood. And what for? For personal interest. For prisons to make money by housing as many individuals as possible. For profit.
Shackles. Capitalism. Racism. Those are the real shackles. The shackles that keep this country’s engine fueling the human rights crisis surrounding us every single day.
The Invisible Line
Poem by Leah Rowse
Today I saw seventy-five people lose their humanity.
In the blink of an eye they went
From standing in the courtroom to
In the blur of names and repetitive questions, the answers remained the same
What does it mean to be guilty?
It means never seeing the inside of this country legally.
Just because you crossed an invisible line.
At one point someone spoke to us about how they thought that there should be no borders, and this would end death and suffering.
I was apprehensive,
Due to the rhetoric fed to us that tells us
They will bring drugs with them.
They will steal our jobs.
They will overwhelm the country.
Sitting in that courtroom today, I was no longer apprehensive.
Fellow human beings were being treated like criminals, animals,
And I no longer wanted the walls, the agents, the operations, the courtrooms, or even
The invisible line
All that line says is this is ours. This is yours. Stay on your side of the line.
This is a kindergarten mindset.
Once we grow up, we learn how to share.
And we learn that it shouldn’t matter who we share with, they are humans as well and are just as deserving of things as we are.
Seventy-five people were sent back to their side of the line today.
I pray that one day this country grows up.