Recent polls reveal that most Americans do not believe our nation has a moral obligation to assist those who are fleeing from persecution or violence in other lands. Figures indicate 53% do not want such folk in the good old USA while 44% open their arms to the afflicted. At age 83, I am quite aware that during the time period, 1880-1924 about TWENTY MILLION people fled from Europe and sought refuge in the United States of America. My parents left due to violence and persecution. In 1920 about one in four Americans was either an immigrant or child of one. Today, the figure is about 7%. Throughout the 19th century America was home to millions seeking refuge from poverty or violence in other parts of the world, although most came from European nations. The 53% saying, “No,” most probably are descended from those who arrived due to violence and poverty. They now spit in the eyes of great, great grandparents as unwelcome people. Figures show that 52% do not feel any compassion for the thousands of children seeking to escape beatings, rape or death in Central America although 46% display some sense of religious or moral feelings.
I understand fears of Americans that immigrants will “take their jobs” or create economic burdens. In reality, America desperately NEEDS immigrants. They are a source of workers who contribute to the Social Security fund as well as customers for products. Among the key issues facing America is how to handle a declining work force since without money from this group, the Social Security fund will run out of money by 2033. Of course, there are those such as myself who believe America MUST open its arms to people confronting violence and persecution. If not us, who else? WE are the nation that has always welcomed such people. If not now, when?