September 27, 2006

Newcomers could learn from Natives

Halbritter:  'Immigration hysteria' is nothing new in AmericaThose self-professed guardians of our borders, the "real" Americans, could learn a lot from the first Americans. American Indians have dealt with "boat people" ever since their initial contact with Europeans. Our ancestors doubtless experienced some qualms about dealing with people who looked different, spoke a different language and worshipped differently. Yet the newcomers were welcomed. Resources were shared. Friendships were forged. Thanksgiving was created.

Panic, intolerance, bigotry and isolationism will not resolve the issues attending the immigration debate. It is time for all sides to step back a pace, take a deep breath and look for solutions that are both reasonable and compassionate. It is time for this country to renew its commitment to the ideals symbolized by the Statue of Liberty, shining her beacon of freedom for all the world to see and inviting, in Emma Lazarus' famous words, "your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free."

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