Sunday, November 23, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Will history repeat in child immigrant crisis?

elias column sig

By
From page A11 | July 23, 2014 |

For some people familiar with the history of the runup to World War II, there’s a sense of déjà vu in today’s humanitarian crisis along the Mexican border these days, as resistance rises against the tens of thousands of unaccompanied children attempting to enter and stay in the United States.

Eyewitness reports in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune and other major newspapers indicate that about half the children coming without parents are actual refugees fleeing murderous Central American drug gangs who would kill them without qualm or consequence if they refuse to become addicted or go to work for the gangs as drug runners, prostitutes or worse. Even if they’re only six or eight years old.

Back in the early to mid-1930s, there were also doubts and skepticism when Alan Cranston (later a longtime U.S. senator from California) described in detail German persecution of Jews via the old International News Service wire. Similar reports in The New York Times were greeted with the sort of skepticism that’s rampant today.

When the German-Amerikan Line steamer St. Louis attempted to land 937 Jewish refugees from Europe in Cuba in 1939, Havana residents protested en masse on the docks of their city, forcing their right-wing government to turn away the ship, which was then denied even the privilege of docking in nearby Miami. Those aboard were returned to Europe, to face the Holocaust.

Conservatives in America led the resistance to taking in those Jews, claiming many were Communists. Similarly, some of today’s protestors claim without any evidence that the youthful wave of immigrants includes terrorist “sleepers.” There is no more proof of today’s canards than there was 75 years ago.

Seeming to echo the reception the Jews got in Havana, tea party members and other screaming protesters waved and wore American flags while carrying banners inscribed “Return to Sender” as they blocked buses carrying illegal immigrant children to a temporary shelter in the Riverside County city of Murietta.

The parallels between the St. Louis saga, now widely recognized as one of the most shameful episodes in Western Hemisphere history, and today’s humanitarian crisis, of course, are not precise.

For one thing, all passengers but one aboard the St. Louis were genuine, unquestionable refugees from persecution and near-certain death. It’s probable that only about half the 50,000 to 60,000 undocumented children attempting to enter the U.S. in the past year fit that category.

Most of the others want to join parents already here illegally or simply gain an economic foothold in America.

So it’s important to determine who fits into which category. Federal law provides that every person claiming refugee status – which the United Nations is now pressuring American authorities to grant many of the recently arrived kids – must get a judicial hearing to determine the validity of each claim. A 2008 law demands those hearings be held quicker for children than others claiming asylum.

But no one anticipated a wave like today’s, so there are nowhere near enough immigration judges to hear all the cases.

That’s one thing President Obama wants to fix via a $3.7 billion emergency funding request to deal with the crisis. But partisanship in Congress makes it all but certain the funding will not come, leaving the children’s fate up in the air as there will likely be no new or even temporary cadre of immigration judges. Some kids will find foster homes, some will no doubt be deported, but the fate of the vast majority is in doubt.

The ultimate solution, of course, will have to be improvements in the children’s home countries, but since America is not about to police hundreds of Central American towns, this country can’t cure the situation on its own, but must deal with symptoms.

There is no doubt, though, that it’s incumbent on us to avoid another shameful humanitarian disaster like the St. Louis episode, which is far from forgotten even after three quarters of a century.

Thomas Elias is a California author. Reach him at tdelias@aol.com.

 

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 8 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Tax PayerJuly 23, 2014 - 5:47 am

    So Thomas where do you draw the line? Our economy cannot support our own group of folks that are on welfare. Accepting more into the country do we know open the gates for millions for South America and Africa? Where do you draw the line Thomas?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Rick WoodJuly 23, 2014 - 6:02 am

    Send him an email. He responds.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • DanielJuly 23, 2014 - 6:48 am

    Obama policies like the ACA, the Gestapo EPA and anti-business unilateral executive orders have stifled economic growth. We can't keep encouraging S. American parents that don't want to accept the responsibility of raising their own kids to send them to us for us to raise and support them with Obama recruiting them offering free dual citizenship and American worker funded entitlements, we just can't afford it despite Obama spending the money on them anyway and on ironically Planned Parenthood to exterminate American citizen children, as many as possible.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Voter IDJuly 23, 2014 - 10:49 am

    So CD Brooks what is your view on requiring every voter to show a valid ID to prove they are who they say they are.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • CD BrooksJuly 23, 2014 - 11:20 am

    I have no problem with voter ID.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895July 23, 2014 - 7:36 am

    TP: We draw the line at those who have a life support system.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Allison HodgeJuly 23, 2014 - 12:30 pm

    So we should take in the hundreds of millions of people worldwide who want to come to the US, right? I assume Tom will invite at least a couple to stay at his house.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895July 23, 2014 - 2:01 pm

    No, but it should make you pause to think if there is a better answer than "send them all back."

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Fairfield-Suisun sits between bay, valley

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 10 Comments | Gallery

 
Salvation Army gets ready for Thanksgiving

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Teens at Boys & Girls Clubs get their own place

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: C1 | Gallery

 
New mobile office adds reach to The Salvation Army

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A1

Time to start a local hall of fame

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A2, 5 Comments

 
Conservancy plans Quail Ridge Walk in December

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Film festival brings people together for good causes

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Advance preparation mitigates frost damage

By Kathy Low | From Page: C4

 
Sudden Infant Death awareness and prevention

By Susan Whalen | From Page: C4

Weather for Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B6

 
 
Two injured in Fairfield shooting

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A12, 11 Comments

.

US / World

Storms raise hope in California drought

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Gambling nuke commander linked to fake poker chips

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

Winners and losers under Obama’s immigration plan

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 3 Comments

 
WWII mementos found in suitcase at thrift store

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Kohler introduces odor-eating toilet seat

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Civic group: No Ferguson grand jury decision yet

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Report: Washington toddler shot playing with gun

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Police: Pregnant woman, 3 others fatally shot

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Hawaii airline tells pilots to return $4,000 bonus

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 2 Comments

Dogfighting thrives in years since Vick case

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

 
Man sets house on fire, kills responding deputy

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Official: SD man kills 4, including self, wounds 1

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Pope meets with autistic children

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Biden announces new aid for Syrian refugees

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
AP sources: Obama broadens mission in Afghanistan

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Somalia’s al-Shabab kills 28 non-Muslims in Kenya

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9, 1 Comment

 
Kerry says gaps remain in talks about Iran’s nukes

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Iraqi forces, Islamic State group battle in Ramadi

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Japan earthquake collapses homes, causes injuries

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

.

Opinion

Act of kindness at Raiders game

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 6 Comments

 
 
State Capitol braces for budget battle

By Dan Walters | From Page: A8

 
Editorial Cartoon: Nov. 23, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

.

Living

Today in History: Nov. 23, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Nov. 23, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Give the gift of gratitude this holiday season

By Dalia Adams | From Page: C3

 
Buddhist community builds shrine in Pineville yard

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

Caught up in the spirt of the music

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

 
Horoscopes for Nov. 23, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: C4

Hackers can get into everything, including your camera lens

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: C4

 
Metrosexuals be gone: Europe is agog for beards

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

Graphic novel teaching history at Mississippi schools

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

 
Library project puts 50 years of yearbooks online

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6, 1 Comment

.

Entertainment

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST-SELLERS

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
Lamott offers healing words in ‘Small Victories’

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

Eddie Izzard has book deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
Whoopi Goldberg writing book about marriage

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

Bryan Cranston reads profane hit nursery rhyme

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

.

Sports

49ers host Redskins looking for third straight win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Cousins lifts sluggish Kings over Wolves, 113-101

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Stanford routs rival Cal 38-17 in 117th Big Game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Sacramento State downs UC Davis 41-30

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Giants World Series exhibit goes on display Monday

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Vermette nets winner for Coyotes vs. Sharks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Green says he’s ready to return to lineup for Broncos

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Bills practice in Detroit prepping for Jets game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
No. 4 Duke tops Stanford to win Coaches vs Cancer

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Vacaville Christian’s Kenyon voted Sierra Delta League MVP

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

Suzy Whaley becomes 1st female officer at PGA

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Harvard beats Yale 31-24 in The Game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Oklahoma’s Perine runs for record 427 yards

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Rivalry 150 goes to Lafayette, 27-7 over Lehigh

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Bowling results for Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B4

Bocce results for Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B4

 
Bicycle racing for Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B4

Granada clings to 1-shot lead at LPGA finale

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Swiss lead France 2-1 in Davis Cup final

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

 
This date in sports history for Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

.

Business

Businesses cash in as women chase bigger butts

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Tips on getting deals during Black Friday blitz

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Most US unemployed don’t get benefits: Here’s why

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

At a Glance: Pros, cons of mobile-payment systems

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

 
Review: No cash, cards, just mobile pay for a week

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

Recalls this week: strollers, candles, chargers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

 
.

Obituaries

Norah Dean

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Florentina R. Dulay Florendo

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

Albert M. Ranzani

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics