I will not demonize the brave men and women who serve our country in the military or through working as police, firefighters, Border Patrol or Immigration and Customs Enforcement. I am from a family with many members who have served overseas for our country.

It would, therefore, behoove all citizens to acknowledge that saying “I was following orders” does not relieve anyone of criminal liability. Crimes against humanity are exactly that: crimes against humanity. They are punishable by law even when carried out by someone who was following orders.

We must have and follow the laws of humanity as well as the rule of law. In the United States, “all men are created equal,” and when those forced to engage in unlawful conduct speak up, federal law protects them.

If your conscience says it is wrong, don’t do it.

Therefore, I will not offer proof of citizenship at any Border Patrol stop. I would rather go to jail. My family came to America in the 1600s. A statue of one of my ancestors sits on Boston Common. She was hanged for preaching for freedom of religion.

We must all stand for what is right. We cannot be complicit.

Cynthia Callnan