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Xenophobes Should Remember M.S. St. Louis, 1939

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MS St. Louis 2

If you could ask FDR about his toughest decisions as President, one of them would be the "Voyage of the Damned" tempest. For those who don't associate that event, here's the simple recap:

In 1939, a German ocean liner, the MS St. Louis, carried 937 German Jewish refugees seeking asylum in the United States. They arrived at our shores but were denied admission to our country. The result was the ship was returned to Europe where most of these refugees were put into concentration camps. 254 of them died.

Now we see a huge influx of refugee children, trying to escape similar circumstances that caused the ill-fated MS St. Louis voyage to set sail for America. And what do today's xenophobic right-wingers propose? They want our country to negate due process of law -- specifically the 2008 George Bush signed bill (the child trafficking law) which sets regulations as to how undocumented minors entering this country are treated.

If Obama were to use his executive order powers, he'd be labeled a tyrant taking the law into his own hands. If he allows the law to work, he is condemned for upholding the law. He's damned if he does, damned if he doesn't.

children immigrant holding cell 3picture: Western Free Press

Hopefully unlike FDR, Obama won't ice his heart and send these innocent children back home to a fate of rape, severe physical injury/maiming, or even the ultimate, death. These children are refugees, fleeing for their safety. This is the time for compassion, not unfounded fears. America needs to show heart, not knee-jerk reactions to false rumors and innuendos.

The Senate passed a bi-partisan immigration bill over a year ago that might have lessened this influx by adding the manpower and facilities needed to handle this crisis. If the political right needs to do any finger-pointing, then the proper culprit here is one of their own, John Boehner. The Speaker of the House has consistently rejected calls to bring the Senate immigration bill to the House floor for consideration and a vote.

The Republicans in the House made this uncomfortable bed. Now we must all lie in it.

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