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Perspective: Pawns, People, and Politics

Steve Buissinne

In the game of chess, pawns are the most numerous and weakest pieces in the game. They are often sacrificed as part of a larger strategy. While chess is all about tactics, it’s still just a board game. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and state officials claim to have bused 10,000 immigrants to so-called “Blue States” like New York, Chicago, and Washington, DC. Last week, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis flew two planes of immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard in a childish act to draw attention to much-needed border policies reform. While I agree immigration reform is needed, this is not the way.

Needless to say, using people as pawns, in their most vulnerable state, to muster some political points is ridiculous, immature, and deplorable. No matter one’s opinion of those coming to seek a better life in the United States, they are human -- not game pieces. They are someone’s child, husband, wife, grandparent, auntie, uncle, and cousin. Using the term “illegals” is just another way to dehumanize them. For parents to risk it all, for the opportunity to create a better life for their children is the greatest act of love. Lest we forget, we are a nation of immigrants who came to this land from all over the globe.

The poem on The Statue of Liberty in part says: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” It’s a statement that embraces the humanity of all at their lowest point when they need a helping hand, not a bus ticket. The purpose of politics is for the people, not people for politics, and politics should never diminish the dignity of humanity.

Born in Buffalo, N.Y., George Joseph “Joe” Mitchell was raised in DeKalb, where he is the bi-vocational co-pastor of New Hope Missionary Baptist Church.