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Letter: President’s reversal does not right the wrongs

Fair-minded people quickly condemned the president’s decision to separate children from their detained parents who allegedly tried to “illegally” cross the U.S. border with Mexico. And, belatedly, the president reversed course.

The president’s policy was accurately compared to creation of concentration camps decades ago, also then rationalized as “enforcing the law,” especially U.S. camps that dishonored Japanese-Americans.

The president’s underlying hypocrisy, however, seems to receive a free pass.

Unless you descend from Native American ancestors, many of whom were of course forced into “reservations” after their land was “legally” stolen from them, you are descended from an immigrant. Some Americans are related to Africans murderously brought here against their will as slaves, whose children were often “legally,” and callously, sold away from their parents and siblings. Others have ancestors who came here when America “legally” threw open its borders because it needed strong men and women to labor for capitalism and people flocked from Ireland, Germany, Poland, Sweden, Italy, China, Russia, Vietnam and many other nations.

We are all immigrants. We all have relatives who fled war or religious or political persecution. Some simply sought a fresh start in a nation known for its normally open borders – and most times, open hearts. It’s what made America great, something it never stopped being, until recently. Read the history of immigration to America over the centuries. The bigotry and cynicism of this president’s actions are disgraceful, though not new. This president’s policy that targeted children as pawns used to thwart immigrants’ desire to be safe and free in America certainly reaches a brutal new low. And, his reversal does not end the underlying issues or solve the need for a compassionate immigration law – like the ones that let our forebears move to America.

Steve Bell


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