We should question Russian influence

Let’s not be so desensitized that we are not shocked by the latest revelation regarding our President and Russia. I’m referring to the counterintelligence investigation to determine whether Trump is or has been working for Russia.

This border wall demand is a smokescreen to take our attention away from the real threat to our country: a foreign power taking over not only our elections but possibly our government and specifically our President. The only crisis on the border is a humanitarian one: the families that we separated and the children that are still being held in detention.

If a real crisis existed at our southern border, why wasn’t a bill passed to address that in the last two years when Republicans held political power in both the White House and Congress?

It is a disgrace as well as a tragedy that our President has chosen to shut down the government, using federal employees as pawns in his game of winning for his base on a campaign promise, for creating chaos and distraction and without any concern or empathy for the 800,00 or more Americans who are now either furloughed or must work without pay and don’t have the means to do without a paycheck.

Maybe he can ask Russia to pay for the wall.

Maria Duca
Chestnut Hill

 

Wall arguments based on demagoguery

It is important for opinions to be based on facts and not on flawed political demagoguery.

Residents of foreign countries who come to the U.S. seeking asylum are not illegal immigrants, even when they do not enter through an established “port of entry.” As an attorney, Sharon Reiss [“Facts point to need for improvements on immigration, border security,” Jan. 10] should be familiar not only with the United Nations 1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol, but also with the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act, all of which place no restriction upon the location of the asylum seeker.

Specifically, our laws provide that an alien should be granted asylum if unable or unwilling to return to the country of origin because of suffering past persecution or having a well-founded fear of future persecution on account of “race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion.”

The President’s efforts to restrict legal immigration, which have been resoundingly rejected by the courts, began with the attempted “Muslim ban” and have continued to the most recent attempt to restrict asylum only to those who seek it through a designated “port of entry.” Those discriminatory and purely politically motivated efforts to mollify his political base do nothing to solve the real need for immigration law reform, which is something in Congress’ power to enact.

Severe hardships were imposed upon many European Jews who, seeking to escape Nazi terror, were denied entry to the United States because of severely low quotas enacted in the 1930s because of extreme nationalism, isolationism, anti-Semitism and economic fear after The Great Depression. Most notoriously, in June 1939, the German ocean liner St. Louis and its 937 passengers, almost all Jewish, were turned away from the port of Miami, forcing the ship to return to Europe where more than a quarter died in the Holocaust. Many Americans feared the burden that immigrants could place on the nation’s economy. Refugees, who in most cases were prevented from bringing any money or assets with them, were seen as an even greater cause for concern.

Finally, the “safety of U.S. citizens” argument is just another irrational appeal to emotion without factual foundation. A far greater percentage of crimes per capita are committed by native born American citizens as opposed to the “illegal immigrants.”

We need real bipartisan immigration reform, not a useless $18 billion wall.

Richard Abraham
Whitemarsh

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