Last June, BPAL launched its first collection of scents raising funds for RAICES (Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services). Citing the Trump administration’s insistence that its enforcement of immigration laws was “very biblical,” each of our perfumes cited a specific Bible verse underscoring the importance of offering refuge to foreigners, such as Job 31:32: “The stranger did not lodge in the street; but I opened my doors to the traveler.
Twelve months later, the catastrophe at our Southern border has worsened immeasurably. We’ve all seen the pictures and read the statistics: on any given day, many thousands of adults and children are imprisoned in privately-run (read: for-profit) facilities. The dangerously squalid conditions of these camps are making headlines around the world, and many of these children will never be reunited with their families. The taxpayer cost for this atrocity amounts to approx. $700 per child, per day, and yet numerous reports show the most basic needs go unmet.
All of this is by design. As Adam Serwer observed in The Atlantic, “the cruelty is the point.”
In addition to providing pro bono legal representation to those incarcerated, a major portion of RAICES’ fundraising goes to posting bonds that allow detainees to be released from custody. By their count, 98.4% of the immigrants whose bond has been posted show up for their hearings. Follow the org on Twitter for calls to action, breaking news, and success stories about families reunited.
Holding our government and our society properly accountable for these unforgivable offenses will take many years. In the meantime, our warnings have become a battle cry. The following perfume blends draw from biblical precedent describing how the greedy, the hypocritical, the hard of heart can expect to be penalized for their worldly transgressions.
Proceeds from these will help RAICES post additional bonds for individuals swept up in this living nightmare. May justice be served swiftly, and may those facilitating this ill-treatment face dire consequences for it.
Label art: Parable of the Good Samaritan, Jan Wynants