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.