Opinion: Our daughter was victim of broken immigration system

It was 10 years at the end of July since our daughter Elizabeth Bowie was brutally murdered. Her killer still roams free in Mexico. There appears to be no sign of ever apprehending and bringing him to justice.

Here we are 10 years later with our country embroiled in a discussion over border security and what to do with illegal aliens moving throughout our country. We go back and forth over whether we should love them or send them back.

The question is, what should we really do? Those of us with real experience dealing with the results of doing nothing can tell you this path has great risk. The discussion must shift from a dispassionate third-party treatment of the issue to a real personal focus of, “what if this would happen to me”?

Our country is the greatest country in the world today because we are united together. We must not forget that our love for one another is the tie that binds and if one is hurting then we all are hurting.

The discussion about the security of our country’s borders touches many Americans who have lost loved ones to a violent and unseen underground. Rather than dismiss their losses with; this won’t happen to me, we beg you to reconsider.

This wakeup call came to us when we got no response from Elizabeth after trying to reach her by internet and phone. Totally out of character for her, we went searching, calling her friends and checking with the school system where she was attending a training seminar. We became alarmed at not getting a response and became even more alarmed when she did not respond at her home. We got the police involved and they found her body inside her home.

Elizabeth was an interesting character; both inside and outside of her family. She was a teacher with a master’s degree in education and about to begin work on her doctorate degree. She was full of life, loved teaching school and loved her students. She loved the Lord and when she wasn’t teaching she was serving as a missionary around the world.

The term racism did not exist in her world; she loved everyone, and in return the world loved her. It makes a difference when you look at someone’s heart and not at anything else. She was an example of the kind of citizen this country wants to keep.

What are we to do as a country? We have a choice to make. No single solution is going to solve our problem, but no solution at all is not acceptable. It does nothing to stop the criminally minded from coming over the border and murdering others.

Are all these people killers? No, of course not, but Elizabeth’s killer went back and forth across our southern border at will. After killing Elizabeth, he went back across the Mexican border and has roamed free there for the last 10 years. The border looks impervious to us, but not for someone on the other side of it. The killer’s family, all illegal aliens who helped him get back over the border, were offered the U visa to stay for a court appearance. They refused to accept the offer. They have lived the good life here in the United States for almost 10 years. Why pay taxes when you can live as a ghost, tax- and penalty-free?

Becky and I have been down the political road and presented our case to our representatives in Washington and everyone is very sympathetic. The sad fact is that no one will do anything.

As long as the country appears to be divided over the issue nothing will get done. So, until the citizens of the United States rally together, we will let undocumented, un-vetted, and unknown people walk beside our children, our elderly, and our extended families.

Is it worth the risk? Our family can tell you it isn’t. We have had 10 years of heartache and 10 years without a wonderful daughter. She was generous to a fault, kind, loving to all, and her passion for the needy were just some of the qualities she possessed.

Are we going to let our country go unsecured? Please call Congress and pressure our elected representatives to compromise, secure our borders and come up with an immigration system that works. Let’s stop this undocumented nonsense. Remember, this can happen to your family.

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Jeff and Becky Bowie live in Suwanee.

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