JIM CREES: It could’ve been different
The number of U.S. governors who have surrendered to ISIS terrorism by declaring they will not allow Syrian refugees into their states has grown as more and more Americans succumb to knee-jerk fear following the attacks in Paris, France.
To date, the governors of 31 states have said they will not accept Syrian refugees - 30 Republicans and one Democrat.
It’s all part of the response to an ever-popular concern about immigration policies expressed by folks all around the country - folks who don’t understand the standing policies in the first place. Politicians have managed to make immigration a real issue - especially emergency situations such as the absorption of refugees from the Middle East into our society.
Immigrants from the Middle East (or anywhere for that matter) can bring with them ______ ! (Fill in the fear of your choice — disease, drugs, terrorism, cultural diversity, different languages, strange food, Sharia law, etc. etc. etc.)
There is nothing new under the sun.
Good, God-fearing Americans feared waves of German, Italian, Irish, Chinese and Eastern European Jewish immigrations at every point in American history. There was a huge wave of immigration from roughly 1820 to 1860-70. About a third of the immigrants were Irish with another third being German.
Many ended up in Michigan.
“The flood of immigrants began to alarm many native born Americans. Some feared job competition from foreigners. Others disliked the religion or politics of the newcomers. During the 1850’s, the America Party, also called the Know-Nothing Party, demanded laws to reduce immigration and to make it harder for foreigners to become citizens. Although the party soon died out, it reflected the serious concerns of some Americans.” (Immigration in the United States — By Joyce Bryant)
Many, many readers (almost anyone who went to high school in these United States) have heard of Anne Frank.
Anne Frank is one of the most read and studied teenagers in the history of the printed word. Born in 1929, her diary — The Diary of Anne Frank, published after World War II came to an end — recounts the thoughts and experiences of a young girl fleeing Nazi persecution and hiding from the Nazis for two years.
The diary has been read by millions and has been published in 67 languages.
Even while living under the worst possible of conditions, The Diary of Anne Frank reveals a young girl’s faith in humanity.
“It’s utterly impossible for me to build my life on a foundation of chaos, suffering and death,” she wrote in 1944. “I see the world being slowly transformed into a wilderness; I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us too. I feel the suffering of millions. And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better, that this cruelty too shall end, that peace and tranquility will return once more.”
The reason I mention all this is simple ...
Had Anne Frank’s father, Otto, not been stonewalled by American refugee immigration bureaucracy during the early stages of the Second World War, she might be alive today.
Anne Frank and her family were denied entry into the United States, and instead when she was 15 years old, Anne Frank was sent to Hitler’s concentration camps where she, her sister and mother died.
In a recent article in the Washington Post writer Elahe Izadi quotes American University history professor Richard Breitman who wrote several years back: “Otto Frank’s efforts to get his family to the United States ran afoul of restrictive American immigration policies designed to protect national security and guard against an influx of foreigners during time of war.
“Anne Frank could be a 77-year-old woman living in Boston today — a writer. Instead, she died at the age of 15 at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany.”
Among 80 pages of documents filed in 1941 and only recently uncovered, Otto Frank writes to a friend: “I am forced to look out for emigration and as far as I can see U.S.A. is the only country we could go to.
“Perhaps you remember that we have two girls. It is for the sake of the children mainly that we have to care for. Our own fate is of less importance.”
Izadi continued his article, noting: “Each page adds a layer of sorrow as the tortuous process for gaining entry to the United States — involving sponsors, large sums of money, affidavits and proof of how their entry would benefit America — is laid out.
“The moment the Franks and their American supporters overcame one administrative or logistical obstacle, another arose ...
“But as the Frank family filed paperwork, immigration rules were changing — and attitudes in the United States toward immigrants from Europe were becoming increasingly suspicious. The American government was making it harder for foreigners to get into the country — and the Nazis were making it difficult to leave.”
And so ... “The Frank family went into hiding in 1942 ... Anne Frank and her sister, Margot, died of typhus and their mother died of starvation.”
Anne wrote in 1944: “It’s a wonder I haven’t abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart.”
Or so it would seem.
And today more and more refugees suffer, go hungry, and die at the hand of a cruel enemy while we worry about their language and religion.