The Children

I can’t stand it. I just can’t listen to it anymore. The heartless rhetoric by some on the right regarding desperate immigrant children, huddled in detention camps on our border, has made me utterly disgusted with some people I used to respect.

Have they forgotten who we are as Americans? Or maybe they have never truly embraced the American Dream and what it means to be American. Maybe they need a reminder. There are many historical examples of international crises when our free shores offered the only chance of survival for millions of people, and they risked everything to come here.

There was a time when the situation was so desperate in Ireland that millions of Irish people were forced to emigrate away from their homeland simply to survive. Many many of them came to the United States, and Americans took them in.

Did you know that by the mid-1800s the Irish made up more than a quarter of the population in Boston, New York City, Philadelphia and Baltimore? I wonder how many people in those cities were crying, “This is the end of America as we know it?” That’s what I have heard coming from some here lately.

More recently, we opened our arms to Cuban immigrants who were fleeing desperate economic and political conditions in their country in 1980 during the Muriel Boatlift. Do you remember?

Do you know that many of our country’s corporate and political leaders are here as a result of just those two examples of immigration crises? Do you realize how our country has been enriched and how much we have gained from those immigrants?

Now think about what’s going on today. How desperate must the situation be in Central America that mothers would put their children on trains for the US, knowing that they will likely never see them again? Think about it. Really think about it. Try to put yourselves in those parents’ shoes.


Think about what the situation in their countries must be like for those parents to make such a sacrifice the next time you say, “Send them back.” Send them back to that? Really?

The economic and political situations in Central America are as bad as we have seen in any other part of the world where USAID has sent aid to refugees. In fact, it’s worse than many situations.

It’s certainly worse than many of the situations that brought most of our ancestors to this country. Where are your ancestors from? Why did they come here?

I am so grateful that 25 year-old Vincenzo LaSalvia boarded the ship “Roma” in Naples, Italy in 1911 to make his journey to New York City in search of a better life. He wasn’t “highly-skilled.” He wouldn’t have qualified for one of those fancy new H-1B visas. He had nothing, but a dream. This country welcomed him – AND made it possible for me and millions of us to pursue our American Dream.

I’ve said before that we desperately need to reform our immigration system to decrease the demand for illegal immigration. We need to allow many more people come here legally.

For the record, I don’t believe that those who broke the law to come here deserve the reward of citizenship, but we can’t send them back. Let’s find a compassionate solution that is consistent with who we are and what this nation is all about.

Before we can reform the broken system we have, we have to deal with a humanitarian crisis happening right now.

There are many organizations and religious institutions that are helping the refugees near our border. I hope that you will choose one or more to support. I’m a fan of Glenn Beck’s efforts to aid the situation. Learn more about what he is doing here.

4 Replies to “The Children”

  1. I concur, Jimmy. I wrote about it myself both yesterday and today: Should We Redact These Words? ( and None Dare Call It Complicity (

    We need to understand there are two separate issues here. What deals with children, some of whom may be refugees, and then there is the broken immigration system. The xenophobic reaction of too many is alarming.

    I am all for securing our borders and insuring that we are not overrun. But we need to use some common sense as well.

    I think many are misunderstanding where I stand. I am very much for fixing the immigration system. I am very much for securing our borders. I am very much for insuring only those who come in accordance with American law be admitted.

    As to the children from the 3 countries in question, until such time the law, the implementing regulations, the change in status of the 3 countries as determined by Congress, taking the children into custody and holding refugee determination hearings is the legal process.

    Am I happy with the situation at the border and an expected 90,000 children showing up? No.

    But the anger, the hatred, the actions of some is not in keeping, I think, with the American spirit. To me giving in to fear or hatred solves nothing.

    Redirect the frustration where it belongs: our elected officials. Our legislators have local offices throughout their district or the state in the case of senators. Camp out on those doorsteps until the Representative or Senator decides to work with others and fix what is broken.

    Write, protest, tweet, post on FB or other social media to the President, the Senate, the House of Representatives and demand they work together to resolve the myriad of issues.

    But the vitriol hurled at children, at all immigrants (yes, some have made it all immigrants), those who don’t look like or talk like what we consider normal, is not right.

  2. Our government is readying for a pandemic from the myriad of diseases these children are bringing in and carrying throughout our country, not to mention the ‘OTM’s” that are crossing from West Africa passing as Hispanics carrying Ebola.

    The fear and vitriol thrown is indeed out of fear and for good reason. What are you going to say when thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands and even millions of people DIE due to the diseases they are bringing in? Will you still have the same attitude? What if it’s YOUR children that contract these deadly illnesses?

    Bringing them in RIGHT would prevent all that. Full health screenings and not just the cursory pass over, with blood work is the ONLY way to determine if they are carrying H1N1 (new strain) or one of the forms of measles our country has never seen before and has no immunity to. The medical people are being threatened with arrest and prison if they DARE speak about what they are seeing, yet many ARE because of the dire consequences of NOT warning the US population.

    This is about more than just innocent children. Our hearts go out them them BUT at the same time, I will NOT endanger those I love. It’s a matter of national security. HEALTH security.

  3. Of course misdirected anger at the children is reprehensible. But, that being said, the Obama administration continues to foster an atmosphere where those USING these children know the US will become so distraught over the situation that it will overwhelm the REAL concern here. SECURE THE BORDER! WHY is that notion SO difficult to comprehend?!!! We’ve allowed lawbreakers.. whether they’re adults or essentially bastardize the good intentions of the American people and monopolize it! It’s hard to sympathize when we’re being taken advantage of by both the US goverment and those unwilling to respect the sovereignty of this nation. Speaking up about that should NOT be cast as heartless or selfish!

  4. Appreciate the honesty here, Jimmy.

    My only challenge with this crisis — aside from the Executive Branch making immigration decisions — what would their status be if they aren’t rewarded with citizenship but we don’t send them back?

    The position I take is one of uncertainty. I don’t know what to do. I want to secure our borders and enforce our laws and limits on immigrants.

    We still have a country that doesn’t have enough jobs for the citizens we have, nor do we have the money to pay for these refugees.

    I want to be compassionate to those who need and want escape, but we’re just not set up to provide at the level needed, in my opinion.

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