Recently the case of Maria Bueso has made headlines and pulled heartstrings across the country. Bueso is from Guatemala and came to the United States — legally, I might add — to receive specialized medical treatments for her rare genetic condition. Now, despite the fact that she has committed no crime — in fact, she just started a scholarship program at her alma mater — she is to be deported.
In her home country, she cannot receive treatment. She will inevitably die.
I hope it is not because I am a mama bear of a child who also has a rare genetic condition that this strikes me to my core. I hope that all Americans see that this woman, despite her medical condition, despite the fact that she “was not born here” is deserving of being kept alive.
Let me qualify. She is not deserving because she has against all odds graduated college cum laude, or because she has started a scholarship, or because she is willing to be a spokesperson for all the children and adults who are facing a deportation that will likely end in their deaths. She is deserving because she is a human being. And we are a country with vast wealth and resources. We suggest that we are a “Christian nation” even. America cares for people. It values human life. At least, I used to believe it did.
More and more I lie awake at night worrying about my own child. Not because he is ill. But because I fear that his life is not valued as highly as that of his peers. I worry that if his school was shot up, he would be left behind in his wheelchair. I worry that if Medicaid is cut he may not have access to the amazing school and healthcare he currently enjoys. I worry that if our family had to flee for any reason, he would not be welcomed. He would be seen as a burden on society.
Though I have always thought of America as a caring nation, I also know that we are a “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” nation, a place where hard work and intellect are highly valued. There is nothing inherently wrong with this. However, when we place value on a person based solely on what they contribute to society, we are discrediting a lot of God’s children. And missing out on what they have to teach us.
When we look at the numbers, society is being asked to spend a lot more on my child than it will ever get out of him. I am pretty sure he will not develop a cure for cancer or be the next great Olympian. But I am also positive that his life has just as much value as anyone else’s.
In 2015 then-candidate Trump went limp wristed and made baby talk in front of the cameras. In that 15 seconds, he told me he did not value my son’s life. Since then, his administration has attempted to cut my son’s healthcare and to do away with certain provisions of his education by changing the IDEA act for special needs students. I have watched in horror as my country has locked children younger than N in cages and argued that they didn’t deserve something as basic as soap. I have watched as over and over again the court system has acquitted police officers of murdering black people. I keep waiting for someone to try something, anything, to curb the mass shootings that plague our nation.
I never intended this blog to become political, but to me this isn’t about politics anymore. It’s about my children’s future and the America I want them to inherit. It’s about human decency. I want them to live in an America where value is not determined by the strongest or the richest or the smartest. But where all people are given a chance at life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. May it be so.
(To read about the above referenced case of Maria Bueso, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/29/us/immigrant-medical-treatment-deferred-action.html)