A Border Patrol agent reads the birth certificate of Alejandro, 8 — the only thing he brought with him as he and others crossed the Rio Grande near McAllen recently. Alejandro is one of more than 52,000 minors traveling without parents who’ve been caught crossing the border illegally since October.
Seventy-five years ago, the St. Louis, a German trans-Atlantic liner carrying 938 Jewish refugees, was turned away from the United States and forced to return to Europe. U.S. law didn’t allow them sanctuary.
Writes author and former Dallas Morning News reporter Christine Wicker: “The St. Louis is famous now as a failure of compassion that haunts American history. Today we are preparing to send 45,000 children back to Central American countries controlled by drug cartels that routinely torture, rape and kill children who refuse to work for them. So routinely are children menaced that their families sent them away, alone, across thousands of miles on just the slimmest of hopes that they might be safe. U.S. law doesn’t allow them sanctuary.
“They walked through some of the most hostile, hot, barren, dangerous country in the world. They were sent by poor families so terrified for their safety that they paid many thousands of dollars and entrusted their children to criminals hoping they might arrive in America and be safe.
“Our hearts are not touched by these children. We want the law enforced. This is our country. Ours. And we don’t have to share it. Not now. Not 75 years ago.
“Yes, these are children whom we’ll send back to be raped, maimed and killed. They aren’t our children. Our children are precious.”