This is 2014, when hundreds of angry protesters in Murietta, California, chant "USA, USA, USA" while blocking a busload of hungry, tired, lonely children from a long journey in search of a concrete floor to serve as a bed.
I had barely touched down in California when it was time to take off again. This time, to Detroit, to attend Netroots Nation, billed as the United States' biggest annual gathering of progressive activists, organizers and online social justice innovators.
Although a better immigration policy would not have prevented the terrible conditions we see in Central America, it could have given them a safe place to run to, instead of having them "warehoused" at the border to be deported by our current broken system.
The unfolding humanitarian crisis on the border further highlights the urgent need to fix our broken immigration system and create a clear and fair path to citizenship. Yet some Congressional Republicans are using the plight of immigrant families to call for even stricter enforcement policies. It's shameful.
This is when I heard those dreadful words, "We're denying you reentry into the United States and deporting you back to Mexico tonight." I was being treated like a common criminal without having committed any crime.
Politically speaking, the high level of social acceptance and privilege that comes with being Asian-American is ultimately dangerous because it sets up a false notion of who we really are. For starters, we are not white.
Action is needed. The president cannot simply stonewall and insist only on his $3.7 billion funding request. The House has put forward an actual plan to address the large numbers of unaccompanied minors. The Senate has moved toward fiscal reality.
As someone who has devoted much of my life to defending the sanctity of human life and the dignity of the family, I'm concerned about the rhetoric often employed when talking about these children who have recently crossed our borders.
It's difficult to imagine what these children anticipated upon entering the U.S. Almost no new arrival is ever really prepared for the whirlwind of U.S. culture. But they can't have been expecting the visceral vitriol that greeted some of these young refugees. The "backlash to the backlash" on the U.S. border crisis has now begun.
Here are seven ways President Obama and Congress can help ensure the safety and well-being of the women and children caught at the border, and make our immigration system fairer now and in the future.
Forgotten are the more than one million legal, skilled immigrants who have been held hostage to political wrangling. The loser is the US, because it is limiting its economic growth and creating its own competition.
They are here. Among us. Christ in our midst. And for them we should open our arms wide. Like a Good Shepherd. Offering a warm embrace. A safe place to call home.
There's only one voice that comes to mind, for me, when the immigration argument devolves into a slurry. For those who have not seen them firsthand beneath the Statue of Liberty, these are the words of Emma Lazarus.
These are children. Children who have been traveling alone, or with shady people they don't know. They are coming to find their families -- or they are fleeing violence and poverty we can't even imagine.
Both sides have valid points with undeniable realities that result from their divergent positions. Equally as real is the future of the foundation of which we built this country - which currently hangs in the loop.
Some international students are turning to other countries because of their easier immigration policies that allow students to remain in the country once they graduate. But what's the problem with having these students leave once they graduate? Plenty.