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Stan Schapiro: Why can’t nation act like what Statue of Liberty claims?



Wednesday, August 13, 2014
To The editor:

Thank you for the recent article “Honduran families deported back to a bleak future.” In it you paint a clear picture of a young Honduran mother of two, her treacherous journey to the U.S. and her deportation, without seeing a judge, back to her home town where her husband was recently murdered and she has faced death threats.

Thank you for humanizing a situation which has too often been portrayed as a story of faceless migrants who are intent on destroying our country and living as freeloaders. Over 55,000 children from Central America have been stopped at the border in the last 10 months, fleeing violence, poverty and lack of opportunity. In many cases they are fleeing gangs that the U.S. exported by deporting gang members to countries they barely knew.

Congress debates between the draconian Republican response to further militarize the border and to curtail and undo Obama’s reforms which allowed some minors from Central America to stay here versus the feeble Democratic response which would allot funding for due process and would still lead to deportation for most. Meanwhile, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees has stated that we are dealing with a refugee problem and under international convention, refugees are housed and fed, not sent back to the life threatening violence from which they run.

Emigration is and always has been the driver of entrepreneurship which has, time and again, renewed our country. Why not spend all those billions of dollars we are proposing for border enforcement on supporting economic justice and development in Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua from which children are running.

In the meantime, let’s put up posters on the border fence with Mexico with the words on the Statue of Liberty which greeted so many earlier generations of migrants: “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses, yearning to breath free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

Stan Schapiro

Northampton