I have just finished reading an article about the effects of threatened deportation on refugee children in Sweden. No country has responded to refugees with greater diligence and consciousness than Sweden. Yet, for nearly two decades, the political question of what to do about migration has played out in the bodies of children, with hundreds of refugee children falling into a state that has been named, “resignation syndrome.”
Although these children have no underlying physical or neurological disease, they lose the will to live. They cease to move or speak and just fall away from the world. “Nothing good has ever come from insecurity,” wrote the Swedish minister of social affairs.
In our own nation, pediatricians and clinics serving undocumented immigrants and other low-income patients have reported a spike in anxiety and panic attacks, particularly among children who worry that they or their parents might now face deportation. Children are showing up in emergency rooms alone because their parents are afraid of being picked up by Immigration and Customs Enforcement if they show their faces. Even American-born children are suffering – one boy asked a doctor for Prozac because he was worried about his undocumented friend.
Nothing good has ever come from insecurity
The children of our city and our nation and our world are suffering
It is for their broken bodies and minds
that your body was broken
again and again and again.
If a child does not have security,
the child will not wake up in whatever country they are in.
May we be obsessed with hospitality,
as you are obsessed.
May we persist
as you persisted
until no child is born for disaster.
Today’s Daily Lenten Meditation is by Sally Howard, Associate for Pastoral Care and Director of Healing & Health. Watch for daily postings from All Saints Church as we take the forty day journey to Easter together.