America forgets its roots

July 10, 2014 

The U.S. is a continual source of instability in Latin America. That bad reputation is well-earned. Due to misguided policies both in Washington and Latin America, certain areas are descending into cauldrons of poverty, crime and despair. Thousands of desperate people come here seeking safety and a chance for a normal life.

Today unaccompanied Latin American children are pouring over our border; many others surely perish en route, a human catastrophe. These children aren't "illegals," they're refugees, not unlike those war-ravaged Syrians seeking safety in Lebanon or Turkey...refugees who deserve asylum, compassion and human dignity.

These kids' plight is unspeakable; must it be made worse by nut cases? Seeing American protesters with palpable vitriol and rage blockade a busload of children being shifted from one processing facility to another is sickening.

When the Balkans erupted in the 1990s, America welcomed waves of Bosnian immigrants. How would today's children be publicly perceived if they were Caucasians from Europe? This latest breed of xenophobic nationalists apparently would close our borders to anyone they deem "undesirable."

Our Statue of Liberty reads:

"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 inscription doesn't say, "Unless it's inconvenient." There's nothing about skin color or social status. either.

This isn't a proud moment in our nation. Are we still a land of opportunity, or should we just consider returning Lady Liberty to France?

Kevin J. Gagen

Belleville