Last Thursday Fr. David in his homily said that we have blindspots. We have them when we drive a car; there is a spot we cannot see. The rich man (Dives) in the parable, he had a blind spot for Lazarus. He saw him–he later mentions his name–but he never really “saw” him. He ignored him.
The same is true of how we treat the DACA people, the Dreamers, and the undocumented in general. We quickly remember that they are here without authorization. That one quality becomes the one thing we see. It’s the one thing we use to define who they are. It is the measure with which we judge them and how we treat them.
But we have many blind spots. We forget that the undocumented are a major reason why we can have the lifestyle that we do. Since they are undocumented we don’t know how many they are or where they all are, but we do know:
- They are a major part of the workforce that works the fields where food is grown.
- They help harvest the crops.
- They work in the dairies where we get our milk.
- They work in slaughterhouses and poultry plants.
- They work in restaurant kitchens where we eat.
- They work in the construction business that builds our homes.
- They take care of our children.
- They clean our homes.
- …and more.
We all benefit greatly from the work they do. They make our homes cheaper. They provide much of our food. They literally put some of the food on our plates. They wash the plates when we’re done.
They are mothers and fathers. They are families. They are people who make our lives comfortable, and they have been doing it for about twenty years. And they have been doing it living in fear.
Children comes to school, not certain their parents will be there when they return. Parents go to work, not certain they will make it home. Parents have been stopped, handcuffed and taken from their children.
Yes, they broke a law. But they pay a very high price every day. They work cheaply and live in constant fear. And we have a much better lifestyle because of it. We shouldn’t define them only because of a legal violation. We can have a process where we “screen” them and help them gain status. We can fix it.