Commentary on Immigration and Children

“Give me your hungry, your tired, your poor. I’ll piss on ‘em.
That’s what the Statue of Bigotry says.
Your poor huddled masses, let’s club ‘em to death
and get it over with and just dump ‘em on the boulevard.”


Lyrics from “Dirty Boulevard” by Lou Reed (1989)

While Lou Reed was referring to immigrants in New York City, his lyrics have particular meaning given what is happening on our Southern border. The actions of our President make a mockery of what our country stands for, and I’m not going to remain silent and tolerate it any longer.

The bottom line is that President Trump is intentionally resurrecting racial and ethnic discrimination that has been hidden in our national closet but never destroyed. His attempts to eliminate all of the accomplishments achieved by President Obama is based on little more than the fact that he was our first black President. Look at how he tried to claim that he had proof that Obama was actually born in Africa and tell me that I’m wrong.

Racism is alive and well in this country and we still bear the scars of centuries of slavery followed by the the Klu Klux Klan, Jim Crow laws, segregation and the banning of interracial marriage. The attempts by those who claim to be conservative Republicans to preserve monuments to Confederate icons is to ignore the reality that these gentlemen fought for one principal reason, namely to preserve slavery in our country.

On top of that, we have an Attorney General who is trying to justify separating children from their mothers on the basis of the Bible. It is worth noting that our Attorney General’s full name is Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, honorably named by his family after the Confederacy’s President and the rebel general who led the attack on Ft. Sumpter that began the Civil War. Put another way, if his parents named him Adolph Benito Sessions, wouldn’t we rightfully be considering the significance of his upbringing?

And now we have a President and his Attorney General sponsoring and then defending the separation of immigrant families who are trying to migrate into our country. President Trump’s is absolutely correct in saying that there is a precedent for this amoral conduct. All you need to look at is how the Nazis separated Jewish families in the years leading up to World War II. That is who our President is emulating, and we should all verbally hold him accountable.

As far as immigrants, they provided the foundation upon which our country was built. From the time the Pilgrims landed, our ancestors never asked for permission from the people who controlled the territory to become the United States. Calling it Manifest Destiny, we simply extended our reach from the Atlantic to the Pacific, herding  the Native Americans who survived our onslaught on to reservations.

We need to remember what is engraved on the Statue of Liberty.

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc.

However, we should also never forget our heritage of fearing immigrants and we only need to look at our attempts to keep European Jews away in the 1930s-40s and the Chinese out of California through harsh regulations. We should also not overlook the way we ridiculed the Irish when they immigrated in the thousands following the potato famine in their country.

What we now are experiencing is the attempt of thousands of residents living in Central and South America to bring their families to our country so that they can live a better life. We have room and jobs for them, yet we pretend that doesn’t exist. Look at the ethnicity of those working in restaurants, on golf courses and in landscaping services in America and tell me that I’m wrong.

Finally, what I find equally appalling is the attempts of many who oppose legalizing the status of millions of undocumented migrants by treating the concept of amnesty as a four letter word. Ironically, those who reject amnesty as Un-American and without historical precedent overlook the sad fact that nearly all of the Confederate rebel soldiers who were guilty of the treasonous attempt to destroy our Union were granted amnesty at the end of the war and allowed to return home with their gun and horse.

While I applaud that decision authored by soon to be President Grant, I can only say that if amnesty was justified for rebel soldiers, then it is completely justified for those who simply want to pursue what we call the American dream. These are largely church-going, hardworking people, and it’s time we give them a home and call them American citizens.