While all of the living first ladies have spoken out about the zero-tolerance policy at the border that has the government separating parents form children, the former presidents themselves have remained silent until now. Barack Obama has now weighed in on the national conversation by writing Wednesday that the “cruelty” of such actions is un-American, reports The Huffington Post. Speaking to World Refugee Day, Obama wrote in a Facebook post to implore people to imagine themselves as immigrants “so desperate to flee persecution, violence, and suffering” that they’d attempt to bring their families into the U.S.
“That’s the reality for so many of the families whose plights we see and heart-rending cries we hear,” he continued. “And to watch those families broken apart in real time puts to us a very simple question: are we a nation that accepts the cruelty of ripping children from their parents’ arms, or are we a nation that values families, and works to keep them together?” While it seems like a simple question that shouldn’t be that hard to answer, Americans and those around the world are upset at the answer the U.S. government seems to have chosen.
Over the past few days, the first class of @obamafoundation Fellows gathered to get to know each other and share what they’ve learned from their inspiring work. From Minnesota to Mali, these 20 leaders have dedicated their lives to building a better world. I can’t wait to learn from each of them and watch their impact grow as they work together and with us over the next two years.
That is why hearing from the first ladies, with their heartfelt pleas to end this policy, have meant so much to so many and why it’s been important to also hear from former President Obama on the subject. “Our ability to imagine ourselves in the shoes of others, to say ‘there but for the grace of God go I,’ is part of what makes us human. And to find a way to welcome the refugee and the immigrant – to be big enough and wise enough to uphold our laws and honor our values at the same time – is part of what makes us American.” Obama went on to remind that we were all strangers to this country at one time or another. But that we all came because we share a commitment to an ideal, that we are all created equal and deserve a chance to improve our way of life.
He then reminded us this was the legacy of our parents, grandparents, and the generations who came before created for us, which we need to protect for the generations that come after us. “But we have to do more than say ‘this isn’t who we are.’ We have to prove it – through our policies, our laws, our actions, and our votes.”