The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave?

Constantino brought his family to the United States to escape violence and persecution. As we shall see, Cervando’s mother Maria had one year of education on the family’s journey to Dallas. She married Cervando’s father who worked as a waiter at El Fenix. From that union came two children – Cervando and his younger brother Rene. A psychiatrist and an educator and political activist for social justice. Great contributors to American society.

I have no idea if Constantino crossed the Rio Grande legally or if that was even an issue a hundred years ago.

Many immigrants coming to this country are escaping terrible violence and persecution. Are we blind to this? What happened to

Give me your tired, your poor, 
Your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free, 
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, 
Send these, the homeless, tempest tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

The story of immigrant contribution to America has been repeated so often that it is remarkable that we as a society forget how common it is, choosing instead to give into our fear of “the other.” We play up the immigrant in trouble with the law, the drug smuggler, the coyote, the gang member and we demonize a whole group as undesirable because of a few.

From today’s Dallas Morning News

If we are truly the land of the free and the home of the brave, is it brave to separate children from their mother? Is it brave to deport members of our military who have run afoul of the law? Shouldn’t they pay their debt to society like the rest of us – in the US justice system?

The argument that this will “enhance public safety” is simply bogus. Studies show immigrants do not commit crimes at a greater rate than  citizens.

And how about the mother who is a legal resident but voted, I choose to believe out of ignorance rather than malice. She is sent to jail and  threatened with deportation. She is given a  longer sentence than another woman convicted of a violent crime. What is brave about that?

Are we so frightened and blind that we cannot see that compassion is an American value.

We can do better. Be fair not frightened. Compassionate not cowardly.

Fear sells but it is a hollow product that will never satisfy.











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Retired physician, author, and nonprofit worker in Africa

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