“My Country ‘Tis Of Thee, Sweet Land Of Hypocrisy”
By Robert Bruce Drynan
There has been a great furor in the press about President Trump’s Zero Tolerance Policy at US Southwestern ports of entry. The world is in chaos, mostly produced by US policy in places like Central America and the Middle East. When I determined to comment on this subject I set out to research the numbers of affected children attempting to cross our borders, especially those separated from their parents when they came seeking refuge in the United States. I have seen photographs of small children crying as they were torn from the arms of their mothers. In my recent search I even saw a picture of two small children sequestered in a cage that appeared to be suitable for a dog pound. I found press articles dating up to May and June 2018 expressing outrage that about 1,500 children were unaccounted for. In fact many were unaccompanied teenagers escaping from the criminal gangs in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. But their numbers were seldom mentioned as distinct from the small dependent children accompanying their parents
There have been court orders requiring the children be restored to their parents and complaints that Immigration and Customs Enforcers (ICE) have been unable to locate many of the lost waifs.
Then suddenly, about June the matter disappeared from the media. Does that mean that the well-known short attention span of the American people (or media) had reached its limit or that ICE had finally complied with the court orders, at least to the extent possible? Likely the foster homes sheltering the refugee children had no desire to return their charges since they were being paid 75 dollars per day to care for them.
I feel certain that the word “compassion” does not figure in the policy manual of ICE, nor does it exist in the vocabulary of our current president. In fact I suspect that ICE hiring policies probably screen out candidates that demonstrate such weaknesses as charity and compassion.
My personal experience with immigrant families when I lived in California was that they are not “criminals, rapists, or murderers” They are grateful to their host country for the security and opportunity it offers them. They come seeking work, mostly tasks that our native citizens disdain. But their children?
I know of a Mexican Bracero who was invited to the US to work our fields during the Second World War, Antonio Fernandez, received amnesty to remain and put his three sons through university. He was honored with a medal by the California State Legislature for his good citizenship.
My neighbors, Pakistani Muslims, husband, wife, daughter and son, had no interest in inserting Sharia law into our jurisprudence. After the 9/11 incidents their home was trashed with eggs and tomatoes and the windows of their car smashed. I offered them refuge in my own home if the vandals returned.
In fact, the value of immigrants has long been touted by demographers in the US as one of the reasons for our economic stability, where as for example, Japan, that refuses immigrants, has fallen into economic doldrums as the birthrate has fallen far below replacement and the population has been aging drastically. Germany, another country with a declining native birthrate has welcomed immigrants, mostly Turkish Muslims, but now refugees from the Middle East and North Africa.
Our “honorable president” has attempted to bar Muslims from immigrating to the United States, naming countries that had no part among the terrorists who committed the depredations of 9/11. Most of the flood of refugees in Europe are the civilian victims of indiscriminate attacks and bombing raids by US military ground and air forces in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, Libya and several other African Muslim countries. On the contrary, all but four of the terrorists involved in the 9/11 attacks were Saudis, who still have free access to the United States.
Indeed, “Sweet Land of Hypocrisy!”