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America Must Reject False Choice Between Southern Border and Ukraine

A Christian activist urges attention to Ukraine and the southern U.S. border, both, and highlights the assistance of his ministry.

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Leprosy, Polio, Malaria, TB, Measles … and Massive Unscreened Illegal Immigration

U.S. leaders are locked in a power struggle over whether to prioritize helping Ukraine, or address the crisis on our southern border.

I believe we need to do both – urgently.

To explain why, let me share the story of the Ukrainian refugee mom I met one night in Eastern Poland.

Not long after the war started, my colleagues and I traveled there to help the thousands of refugees fleeing the brutal Russian attacks.

What we witnessed was stunning: a human stream of refugees lining up at the border station, shivering in the dark. Many were elderly and single moms with children fleeing the Russian artillery and missile barrages.


We were there to bring them food and emergency supplies on behalf of our global network of churches. Later, we partnered with hundreds of churches to set up safe houses inside Poland and Moldova where refugees could find shelter.

We soon realized, however, that our most precious gift was hope – hope stemming from the fact that complete strangers from America they’d never met had traveled thousands of miles to assure them they weren’t facing Vladimir Putin alone.

I’ll never forget seeing families stagger across the border who’d walked miles through the bitter cold after they’d endured long, packed train rides.

One elderly woman collapsed a few feet away. I lifted her to her feet and said, “You’re safe now.”

“America?” She asked. “Yes,” I replied. “I am an American.”


An expression of pure joy spread over her weathered visage. “America!” she said. “I love America!”

Later, as I followed the large caravans of families, I spotted a makeshift tent harboring young women and their children. They were escaping the cold and hiding from the skulking predators who were lurking about, men looking for a chance to take advantage.

In the corner was a young mom clutching her baby boy. Somehow, she resembled one of my own daughters. Through the interpreter, I told her, “You’re going to be okay.”

With that, she began to sob uncontrollably. Separated from her family, exhausted from a long and difficult journey, worried sick no doubt over the fate of her infant son – I could only guess what she’d been through.

I leaned over and gave her a hug. I could feel she was shivering. But as I pulled away, she held on for dear life and pulled me back.


“Please don’t leave me,” she said over and over. “Please, don’t leave me!”

“We won’t leave you,” I promised. By then, the tears were streaming down my face as well.

Thank God I was able to keep that promise. We immediately connected her with a local pastor and his wife to ensure that she and her child would be transported to a safe place. I am relieved to report that thanks to our church partners and generous donors, CityServe has been able to provide humanitarian relief across Ukraine, Poland, and Moldova – several million meals, clothes, electrical generators, homes, and more.

To this day, I still can’t forget that mom’s expression of utter human desperation.

With that in mind, I’m quite concerned that the attention span of our leaders on Capitol Hill seems to be waning over the war in Ukraine.


We’re witnessing an either/or negotiating strategy, and it works like this: Either we address our own chaos at the southern border that appears to be a growing threat to our national security, or we continue to support the Ukrainian war effort against Putin. Many ideologues demand we can’t or shouldn’t do both.

Now, I certainly agree with those on Capitol Hill who warn the status quo with the migrant crisis is unacceptable. Security must always remain a priority. Yet that doesn’t mean a compassionate humanitarian response to those seeking refuge here has to be on the chopping block. An orderly system must prevail over extreme positions in either direction.

Yet I believe America, as the de facto global guardian of democracy, must also continue to support Ukraine. Putin’s heartless assault on a free nation must not go unanswered.

This is certainly not an either/or situation, especially considering Putin has made it clear his real enemy isn’t Ukrainians, a people whose national identity he denies. His real enemy, he says, is NATO and the West. He and his henchmen regularly flaunt the nuclear saber on the West. We pray that’s a bluff, of course. But do we dare dismiss it?

The growing list of countries whose sovereignty Putin has threatened includes Moldova, Romania, the Baltics, Poland, and the United Kingdom, to name only a few.


Now, I realize that with Russia’s military setbacks in Ukraine, Putin’s imperial ambitions may strike some as absurd. But let us not forget that Western intelligence agencies largely dismissed the probability of a Russian invasion of Ukraine – until Putin launched the largest assault on a European country since WWII.

This brings to mind one of WWII’s most tragic lessons: If your enemy declares he wants to annihilate you, believe him.

This insight explains why long-neutral Sweden and Finland are now seeking shelter under the NATO umbrella and why the Polish president announced he’s diverting weapons from Ukraine to protect Poland’s own eastern borders.

Putin’s intimidating threats and bluster, once seen as geopolitical gamesmanship, must now be taken seriously. Giving Putin any space to claim a victory in the “special military operation” he launched to supposedly “denazify” Ukraine – a European nation led by a Jewish president – would seriously damage U.S. deterrence around the globe. How long would it be before Russia, China, or Iran target their next victim?

To any student of history, it’s clear that evil placated only grows stronger. Anyone who believes Putin will be content and stop after pillaging and fully infiltrating Ukraine is calling balls and strikes from outside the stadium.


Pitting border control against aiding Ukraine is a false choice. In both cases, our vital national interest hangs in the balance. We must answer the call to do both.

This article was originally published by RealClearPolitics and made available via RealClearWire.

Editor’s Note

The views this author expresses are his own and do not represent those of CNAV. CNAV would urge Mr. Donaldson to examine carefully the history of previous intervention in Ukraine, not only by Russia.

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Dave Donaldson is co-founder and CEO of CityServe International, a church-based relief network based in Bakersfield, CA.


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