It’s Happening, Right Here, Right Now

Last year, I was substitute teaching at the school my son goes to – Potter’s House – in Grand Rapids. In morning prayers, we were doing prayer requests and one of the girls in the class asked her classmates to pray for a friend of hers who is worried that when her Dad had to go back to the country he was from (I don’t remember the country) that he wasn’t going to be allowed to return, but he had to go back to renew some paperwork (I’m assuming visas or something.)

A number of the other kids in the class nodded and said things like, “Yeah, me too.” It gave me the feeling that this was a much bigger issue for these 8th graders than I thought it might be.

So I pulled up a chair and sat down in front of them and paused and said, “I’ve got a question for you all, how many of you know someone, either close friend or family, who you are worried could be “sent back” by the immigration issues that are currently going on?”

Some hands shot up right away.

Some took a little bit longer.

But eventually 100% of the kids had their hands up.

Every single 8th grader in that class knew someone who was worried about losing a family member due to the changes in immigration enforcement.

You can debate all you want about the technical issues but here’s the way I look at it. There’s a class of early teenagers who are worried that they or someone they know very well could lose a parent (or could have to move to another country) because of the current administration’s desire to get “technical” with the rules.

These are kids who have done nothing wrong. These are families who are contributing members of our community.

And they are worried about things teenagers shouldn’t worry about.

And guess what – it’s happening. I just got notice that one of them had it happen to them.


Their dad was back in “his original country” and went to renew his visa. Not only was his visa denied but he is not allowed to be in the United States for 10 years.

The trauma that this does to a family is truly unthinkable. There is no easy way to deal with the upheaval this causes a family.

My heart aches for this family. We need to find a balance between a legal society and a society that cares about people.

What happened to this family is a tragedy.


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