Don’t Turn Them Away

Forward Magazine - - Forward Forum -

When thou­sands of chil­dren ap­pear on your doorstep af­ter a long and des­per­ate jour­ney from a hos­tile en­vi­ron­ment, do you turn them away? Great Bri­tain didn’t. From 1938 to 1940, the Bri­tish ac­cepted thou­sands of Jewish chil­dren who were res­cued by the Kin­der­trans­port from Nazi Ger­many in the mid­dle of a war. But when thou­sands of chil­dren from dan­ger­ous coun­tries in Cen­tral Amer­ica flee to the United States, we can’t seem to de­port them quickly enough. How eas­ily we for­get. There are dif­fer­ences be­tween the Kin­der­trans­port and the flood of un­ac­com­pa­nied young­sters chok­ing Amer­ica’s bor­der with Mex­ico, of course. Many of the Ger­man chil­dren were spon­sored by Bri­tish fam­i­lies ready to re­ceive and sup­port them, and they were ex­pected to re­turn home when hos­til­i­ties ended; the Cen­tral Amer­i­cans are ar­riv­ing on their own, how­ever they can. And while the Ger­man chil­dren were called refugees, the chil­dren seek­ing safety in the United States are con­sid­ered il­le­gal im­mi­grants. That is, crim­i­nals.

This con­trast is all the more re­mark­able be­cause Ger­many was at war with Bri­tain for part of the time the Kin­der­trans­port was op­er­a­tional; those kids came from the en­emy. We are not at war with Gu­atemala, El Sal­vador and Hon­duras, the na­tions from which the vast ma­jor­ity of these chil­dren orig­i­nate. In fact, Amer­i­cans are in­di­rectly re­spon­si­ble for the poverty, vi­o­lence and law­less­ness that pro­pel fright­ened par­ents to send their chil­dren away. Amer­i­cans, that is, who buy drugs from the car­tels that ter­ror­ize these af­flicted coun­tries and set this tragic cy­cle into mo­tion.

Un­law­ful im­mi­grants should be de­ported, but chil­dren es­cap­ing ex­treme vi­o­lence must be con­sid­ered refugees. How can Amer­ica be a coun­try that turns des­per­ate chil­dren away?

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.