Thursday, April 18, 2024

Broken US Border Fosters Disrespect and Is An Affront To Our Country

AFP via Getty Images/ David Swanson
Broken US border fosters disrespect and is an affront to our country:
When my family arrived in the United States from Cuba, my father took me and my sister aside.
“We are now guests in this country, which was generous enough to invite us in,” he said. “Act accordingly.” We got the message. Not only were we expected to abide by American laws and customs, but we were to behave with the kind of courtesy and respect one would show when visiting someone else’s home.
Many years later, I happened to watch a televised conversation between President Barack Obama and a group of young persons who called themselves “dreamers” — a term I hadn’t heard before.
Dreamers, I learned, were undocumented aliens who had been brought to the US as minors and enjoyed certain protections against deportation. On TV, they behaved nothing like guests. They were full of grievances and accusations, making insistent demands on the president. For his part, Obama sounded defensive and apologetic.
Fast-forward a decade and we observe another president, Joe Biden, offering an abject public apology for having used the words “illegal migrant” with regards to a person who entered the country in disregard of the law. That person, I note, wasted no time on courtesy or respect. He was a vicious criminal who, once inside our borders, perpetrated rape and murder. Yet he still possessed the moral authority to force the president to beg forgiveness.
Something fundamental has changed since I received my father’s admonishment.
We are a nation of immigrants. This has always been so. When I first arrived here, I was amazed to find that my best friend’s mother was Welsh and his grandfather was German. My second-best friend’s mom was a London cockney who barely spoke the English language. Everyone had family who came from somewhere else.
But what is an immigrant? I can offer a personal perspective. An immigrant, first and last, is someone who abandons his home forever and willingly becomes a stranger in a strange land.
That is a painful decision, to be made only for the most powerful of reasons: tyranny, in the case of my family, or penury, in the case of so many arrivals today.
There is heartache and loss, to be sure, but the immigrant isn’t a creature of despair. Having broken traumatically with the past, he is transported to the realm of hope and faith, a child of adventure, a full-time settler in the future.
The immigrant can’t avoid the shock of the new: new language, new culture, new climate. (I remember the thrill of watching snow fall for the first time.) Every moment poses a question about how much to preserve of the old ways. Much depends on the individual. My younger sister seemed to roll off the plane already speaking perfect English and acting totally American. I took a bit longer to figure things out.
Far more depends on the host country. Many governments today favor the Jewish ghetto approach to immigrants. Newcomers are told, in essence, “You are free to be yourselves — so long as you do it away from us.”
Huge enclaves of escapees from shattered countries, together with their children and grandchildren, have been carved out of some regions of Europe, for example, the outskirts of Paris, entire districts of Rotterdam in the Netherlands, and much of the city of Malmo, Sweden. --->LOTS MORE HERE
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