Open Letter to Secretary Nielsen

Carlos Wylde-Gladbach '21, Staff Writer

Dear Secretary Nielsen,

This open letter is in response to your late December announcement: here. And you’re agreeing to testify on March 6th before the House committee. Since arriving in office you seem to have only rejected those seeking refuge.

It pains me to know that someone would turn back a terrified child, or worse take them from their family.

Earlier this week one of my fellow peers told me their story of how they came to America. She started off by saying how since she was only 7 she didn’t really remember all the details. She had to walk for a month with little rest and had to do stuff no 7 year old should have to do. One night, when she was at a mote,l the police came to take them away so she, her 10 year old sister, mother and others had to go through an underground tunnel and then run for their lives in a street backed full of drunken men. She lucky managed to find her mother again and they continued till they rejoined with their party. Later on, they had to cross a river. Her mother had to cross first with all the older people and her older sister went with her. She was alone again. Once she was told to cross she was told she couldn’t make any noise…She fell over and busted her hand, she still has the scar today. She screamed out in pain only to be shoved down and have her mouth covered. Once she made it over, she and her family waited until a family member came to pick them up.

This story moved me so much because no child should have to go through such a painful journey as she did. When my teacher asked would you do it all over again, she didn’t know; “When I first came I was so glad to be here and safe. But once I went back to Bolivia, all I wanted to do was stay.”

These mothers sitting at our border with their children also believe that risking their lives and their children’s lives is better than living in such a dangerous area in their country. They believe that getting separated is better than having their child killed by a gang or joining a gang. These people do not deserve to be rejected when all they have done is attempt to give their child a better life. Most of these people are not the drug dealers, rapists, or murders they are being vilified as. Most are people looking for refuge from gangs and corrupted governments. Is that not what this nation came from? Pilgrims came fleeing religious persecution. Others came fleeing violence and starvation. Those who helped found this country knew that it was built by people who were treated like nothing in their country, but here in this new land each person had the chance to be somebody. Now people looking for refuge seem to be treated as a nobody again, for you are turning your backs on those who need help the most.

What about our National Anthem; “THE LAND OF THE FREE AND THE HOME OF THE BRAVE”? Are these people not brave? Or are we just not free?

When you visit the border again, instead of visiting employees at the fence, please talk to some of the women and children waiting behind the border fence before making your final decisions.


Carlos Wylde-Gladbach

Sophomore at Wakefield High School