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Letter: We should not turn away people who need our help

We should not turn away people who need our help

There is no nation in history that has shown more compassion and caring for mankind than the United States. Every catastrophe that has occurred, be it earthquake, typhoon, fire, flood or hurricane, has seen a tremendous outpouring of materiel, food and manpower. And yet, there is a malignancy whose name is hate that grows just below the surface and on occasion raises its ugly head.

I call your attention to the horrific treatment right up to this day of the indigenous Native Americans, pushed off their lands, abused, neglected and incarcerated in reservations. The Irish immigrants fleeing from starvation, beaten by mobs and many killed; the storekeeper with a German name with a brick thrown though his store window during World War I. I don’t need to remind anyone of the appalling treatment of Japanese-Americans who were penned in concentration camps for years during World War II, just because of their names. During that same era, we turned away at least one boatload of Jewish refugees escaping from the Nazis who were forced to return to Germany and the ovens.

And now the evil rises to the surface again as we hear the demagogues running for political office and leaders in office calling for the refusal of refugees trying to escape annihilation.

How can we, a nation of immigrants, behave this way? Our founding principles demand that we welcome all who seek to breathe free air. We are a nation of the other, the refuse of another continent. Unless you are a Native American, write down your name and look at it. It has a history and it is not of this place. For all that is holy, we cannot turn away those who need help, in the finest tradition of a noble country.

Joseph Spina