Editor’s note: This is the first of a two-part column.
I share the frustration about so many wanting to share our American dream without being invited to do so. Especially so because I came here the “right” way close to 50 years ago.
I waited nine months for approval to work the midnight shift in Detroit’s Chrysler Foundry and did not allow myself to be a burden to this country, my host.
I had sent letters to The Daily News reflecting strong resentment about the surge of children crossing our border without getting sent back immediately. However, after reflecting, I asked not to publish them and stepped back to see this from various angles.
One is why the children are coming, another is the long-range effect of this and how much of a crisis this poses for us now. Since getting a good perspective on this takes more than a look at the surface, I will divide my viewpoint into two writings.
First, a look at the why so many children are being sent here now.
Any parent knows how hard it is to leave one’s child away from one’s care, even for a short time. But no one who has not been in such dire straits can really understand the desperation parents must feel to spend all they have to send their children away, likely ever out of their lives, maybe into death on the journey.
Do we remember the mothers thrusting their children into the arms of the last Americans departing Vietnam? Some of us familiar with the Bible know how the mothers responded to Solomon’s edict to cut the child in half when two women claimed it was her child. The true mother would rather live without it than have it harmed.
How blessed we are that we can deem our children safe with us, safer surely than in the streets of Central America, India and Egypt where 10-year-olds, male and female, are widely in danger of rape and abduction into slavery.
More than 30 years ago while working “down there,” we took a 6-year-old from an orphanage into our family. This allowed us to know just some of that terrible misery.
Shouldn’t we be proud that people around the world see this badly governed country, so full of quarrel, as such a haven that they will face torturous trips to come here at the risk of their lives?
Maybe, before we look at the cost of dealing with this problem, we, in one of the richest country, need to look into our hearts to really feel for the children escaping conditions we cannot imagine.
Please dwell on this humanitarian aspect of it. Some of us may remember the parable about the people who wanted the vineyard closed to others.
Please, before you make up your mind, wait for my next writing about this in which I will share my view of the long-term effect this influx is likely to have on our economy.
Gerhard Meinecke lives in Dickinson.