A Nation of Immigrants, Where Is Our Leadership?

What face are we now showing the world? Where is our conscience today? The world is watching us!

By Jorge Corralejo
Published on LatinoLA: August 3, 2014

A Nation of Immigrants, Where Is Our Leadership?

Protesters to the current immigration crisis and particularly those highlighted in nearby Murrieta, California a few weeks ago have sparked some very sad days for the USA, a nation of immigrants. One may recall that the protesters initially blocked two busloads of immigrant children from a border patrol facility sent there to be legally processed. More recently protesters, some of them bearing arms, attempted to block busses in Oracle, Arizona. No immigrant buses arrived but, in their great confusion, they did slow buses carrying some YMCA students. In a recent press release the Jewish "Anti-Defamation League" noted that the opposition protesters message has been "bigoted and dehumanizing".

Newscasters and local officials have cited the fact that the border situation has attracted many outside extremists who are mobilizing against any form of immigration or even the process to deal respectfully and legally with human beings. Some of these extremist protesters and militias, according to "El Universal" have trained their members to use arms and bring them to protests, for preventing undocumented immigrants, as they put it, from "Invading our country".

Tea Party members and many other Republicans are making statements without regard to any due process through our legal system and demand immediate deportation for all immigrants, including the refugee children. Republican Governor and former Presidential candidate Rick Perry has made a statement suggesting that President Obama may be involved in a conspiracy to move these people out of Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala across our border. He has just ordered up to 1,000 Texas National Guard members to the border to stop these children who have demonstrated their intent to turn themselves in to the border patrol.

Republican House Speaker, John Boehner has threatened a frivolous lawsuit against the president. He is doing this after sitting on an approved Senate bill for more than one year calling for immigration reform. President Obama has indicated that he would sign this bill once the House approved it. Yet, there has been no action in the House. Former Republican Vice-Presidential candidate, Sara Palin has called for the President's impeachment. Texas Republican Congressman, Louie Gohmert recently stated that these children represent an "Enemy invasion".

Republicans have been critical of President Obama on this crisis yet, the Republican controlled House has until now, detained the appropriation of any funds to assist in a resolution. The President had asked for $3.7 billion to handle and house these immigrants as well as to appoint more immigration judges which would rapidly move these cases legally and respectfully, forward. Finally, it appears that the House will approve only a fraction of Obama's request, just less than less than 1 billion dollars. With all of the Republican calls for immediate and mass deportations, these leaders conveniently ignore this nation's laws and have denied the President and the INS the means to more rapidly process these immigrants.

As the leader of the free world, the United States needs to demonstrate its leadership in the humane treatment of immigrants and for the ultimate respect of life itself. Immigration is not just a problem at the Texas border or in the USA but, in fact, it is an international problem which impacts millions of individuals throughout the globe. The United States has taken positions in past years with regards to immigrants between the Dominican Republic and Haiti and with the immigrants of several countries in Africa. What face are we now showing the world? Where is our conscience today? The world is watching us! Let's do the right thing and follow what the near unanimous polls of all religious groups in our nation have concluded: To treat immigrants with respect and dignity.

About Jorge Corralejo:
Business owner and economic and public policy analyst, he's served on many Boards, Committees and Task Forces. He served as the Founding Chairman of the Covered California SHOP Policy Committee and as a County of LA Small Business Commissioner.
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