Edited by Azizi Powell
This pancocojams post provides a Facebook comment about immigration that was written on June 20, 2018 by former United States President Barack Obama.
Selected comments from this comment's discussion thread are also included in this post.
The Addendum to this post provides updated information about Trump's policy of separating immigrant children from their parents.
The content of this post is presented for historical, socio-cultural, and political purposes.
All copyrights remain with their owners.
Thanks to President Barack Obama for his life's legacy and thanks to all those who are quoted in this post. Thanks also to all those who have advocated and are advocating for humane immigration policies in the United States and elsewhere.
UPDATE: June 22, 2018 11:04 PM- I added the label "race and racism" to this and other pancocojams posts about Trump's policy of separating immigrant children from their parents/caretakers. I've done so to highlight that I and many others believe that these children's race/ethnicity is one of the significant factors of this policy.
FACEBOOK COMMENT ABOUT IMMIGRATION WRITTEN BY FORMER UNITED STATES PRESIDENT OBAMA
June 20, 2018 1:09 PM
"Today is World Refugee Day.
If you've been fortunate enough to have been born in America, imagine for a moment if circumstance had placed you somewhere else. Imagine if you'd been born in a country where you grew up fearing for your life, and eventually the lives of your children. A place where you finally found yourself so desperate to flee persecution, violence, and suffering that you'd be willing to travel thousands of miles under cover of darkness, enduring dangerous conditions, propelled forward by that very human impulse to create for our kids a better life.
That's the reality for so many of the families whose plights we see and heart-rending cries we hear. And to watch those families broken apart in real time puts to us a very simple question: are we a nation that accepts the cruelty of ripping children from their parents’ arms, or are we a nation that values families, and works to keep them together? Do we look away, or do we choose to see something of ourselves and our children?
Our ability to imagine ourselves in the shoes of others, to say “there but for the grace of God go I,” is part of what makes us human. And to find a way to welcome the refugee and the immigrant – to be big enough and wise enough to uphold our laws and honor our values at the same time – is part of what makes us American. After all, almost all of us were strangers once, too. Whether our families crossed the Atlantic, the Pacific, or the Rio Grande, we’re only here because this country welcomed them in, and taught them that to be an American is about something more than what we look like, how our last names sound, or the way we worship. To be an American is to have a shared commitment to an ideal – that all of us are created equal, and all of us deserve the chance to become something better.
That’s the legacy our parents and grandparents and generations before created for us, and it’s something we have to protect for the generations to come. But we have to do more than say “this isn’t who we are.” We have to prove it – through our policies, our laws, our actions, and our votes."
SELECTED COMMENTS FROM THIS DISCUSSION THREAD
(All of these comments are from June 20, 2018, and are given with numbers assigned for referencing purposes only.)
1. Joey Lynn
"I miss you so much, Mr. President. When you were in office, I always felt you had our nation's best interests at heart and that you truly cared about our country and making it better. I feel so heartbroken lately. I feel like everything has changed. The world has changed...and not for the better. Every day, one more thing comes flying at us...and we are like.....this can't be us...this can't be America. I miss you terribly."
2. Elizabeth Hackbarth
"It doesn’t seem like our votes are enough. What can we do to help now. Family should be together. My husband is an immigrant, my mom is also an immigrant and this country would not be what it is today without the diversity we have and celebrate."
3. Laura K McCorkle
"THANK YOU for speaking out on this issue. I wish you could have a relaxing retirement, but we need you now more than ever. Please use your still-considerable power and resources to fight the devastating damage this "administration" is doing to our country and our people - and people around the world. And the environment. And...and...and...💔😥"
4. Kate Foreman
"Thank you, sir. The young people of this country hear you and are reminded that this country will belong to us one day. We will shape into it compassion, empathy and kindness. The future is ours."
5. Rod Curbelo
"I am a Cuban refugee. I left Cuba with my parents, sisters and grandmother in 1968 at the ripe old age of 5. My parents fled the oppressive regime of Fidel Castro in order to give me and my sisters a better life. Unlike the government’s posture now, the United States welcomed us with open arms. We were given a path to citizenship and my parents were given work permits and assistance. Because we were considered “political refugees” we were given opportunities that don’t exist today. I’m sure it has nothing to do with the fact that most of the Cubans who came in the 60’s were white and educated.
With today’s policies, would I have been taken from my parents and sent to “camp?” Would my parents, sisters and 80 year old grandmother be detained as criminals? Would we ultimately be deported? It breaks my heart to know that many Cubans who benefitted from the largesse of the United States government support the current administration’s anti immigrant policies.
I am proud to be a Cuban-American and I am proud that many Cubans have flourished in the United States and achieved great economic and political success. Isn’t it time we remember why we were able to succeed and extend a hand to our oppressed brothers and sisters instead of “pulling the ladder up after us.”
6. Brenda Smith Carlson
"The answer to your question “with today’s policies.......... and the answer is absolutely this would have happened to you and your family. God Bless you and your family."
7. Lee Somerville
"Obama Administration also had baby jails. My god naivety at its best."
8. Rod Curbelo
"They actually didn’t have “baby jails.” They were far from perfect on Immigration, but they didn’t heartlessly separate parents and children at the border."
9. Carol Sunderland
"For the "but Obama" people..."The morality of it was clear..."
Obama’s top domestic policy adviser, Cecilia Muñoz, said the Obama administration briefly weighed the separation of parents from children, before deciding against it.
"I do remember looking at each other like, ‘We’re not going to do this, are we?’ We spent five minutes thinking it through and concluded that it was a bad idea," she told the New York Times. "The morality of it was clear — that’s not who we are." "
10. Rod Curbelo
"Carolyne Pfeifer We were only legal because they changed the law to make us legal. Cuban Adjustment Act was passed in 1966."
11. Casey Taksa
"As I tucked my crying 11 year old daughter into bed last night after she saw some of the news, the last thing she said was, "Can President Obama please come back?" If only, my poor girl, if only. But at least I could soothe her.
12. Shelley Porter-Grelle
"President Barack Obama, Thank you for the much needed inspiration.
Note to Donald....This is the way a true leader and a real President should sound."
13. Dana Nehrenz Jones
"My family (like most others here in America) came to America to provide a better life for themselves, their immediate family, and for future generations. We need to be welcoming to these families. My ancestors once came over on a boat, with little money, seeking a better life. And I am thankful for their courage. America is better than how we are now acting."
14. Nicolle Lavis
"This isn't the kind of country my great-grandparents immigrated to. This isn't the kind of country my grandfather fought for. This country has forsaken what the U.S. was supposed to represent. And it's going to take a long time for the U.S. to earn it back."
15. Newlands El
"Thank you Mr President. I’m a naturalized citizen and I feel grateful every day for the luck of my genetics in being born in a western nation. I can’t imagine the horror of a child fleeing with family to find a new life, sanctuary and asylum, only to be separated from their parents.
I pray this madness ends."
16. Candice Misic
"100 years ago, Canada welcomed my family. Escaped from slavery. USA came so far since then. Sad to see it seem to go back. Scary times. Even here in Canada. Missing Obama for sure."
17. Faye van Damme
"My father-in-law was prisoner of war during World War II in Dutch East Indies. When the war was over, he took his oldest 15 year old Hans and brother Rudy, two other younger children and his wife to Holland. They were born on the Island of Java and it was so dangerous with street fighting that Dad with his family got on a freighter and left the country. My husband eventaully migrated to the us with his wife and 6 mos old child through the lottery system and he had a sponsor who helped him get a job, home to rent and car for transportation. He spoke enough English to get him a job which he held for over 15 years. I can't imagine what these folks are enduring on foot to get to America to be safe. My husband and wife both became naturalized citizens. He never wished to go back. I don't know if it was because of what he saw and growing up as a very young child with his father being captured and beaten by the Japanese, but he was determined to make a better life for his family. I pray things change for the good. Right now there is so much caous that it worries me how safe we are here in America."
18. Donna Kost Williams
"President Obama, you are right. We are all immigrants. My grandparents emigrated from Ukraine in the late 1800s. They worked hard, raised nine children, and left us a legacy I try to live up to every day. I miss your thoughtful, heartfelt respect for humanity. Please continue to give us hope."
19. Margaret McKernan
"What would my country (Ireland) have done without your country taking us in during the Famine. We are indeed all created equal and deserve a better chance. Well said sir."
20. Addie Silvia
"So true. I had first hand experience with thelping a mother and her 3 children settle in the U.S. after fleeing Boznia in the 90's. All they had was a couple of suitcases, they did not speak English and they trusted us who were strangers to them when we picked them up at the airport. I'll be forever fulfilled having done this and I would do it again."
21. Jean Isaac
"I love this quote there but for the grace of God , go I. We are fortunate to not have been born in these countries thst people fleeing from. This is why we watch what happens to our govt and our freedom very carefully , that we do not end up in a dictatorship. It can happen here too."
22. Inna Lobeck
"My family came to the US as refugees in 1991. My parents left Moldova not because they wanted to take steal jobs from Americans, not because they wanted a free ride or to trick the system but because they had no choice. The bravery it took them to leave their entire lives behind and move to a country where they did not have jobs and didnt speak the language just so that their children could have a chance at safe and happy lives has me in awe every day. I never post anything political online, but this really hits close to home. If this was 1991. My parents would have been sent back to Moldova. If this was 1991 I would not be a surgeon, my sister would not be teaching in Berkley. If this was 1991, I would not have my 2 year old son. Heartbroken for the children and families who wont have these opportunities as a result of our actions."
23. Elena Berro
"Unfortunately now with Trump we don't have to imagine anymore!! We live in a country where they put kids, todlers and babies in cages!!! I live in fear everyday......this needs to end!!! This is not the America that I love....this is not the America I was proud of.....!!!!"
24. Audrey Schwartz Rivers
"M[r]. President, I am a dual USA-Canadian by birth. I was born in the USA while my Mother was Canadian
My Mother was 2-years-old when she with her parents and older siblings fled Europe to escape Hitler’s rise to power. They are the only ones of their family to survive the Holocaust.
They came to the USA, but were turned away because of the “America First” policies of their day, European Jews were not wanted as refugees or asylum seekers.
Fortunately, Canada welcomed my infant Mother and her family with open arms. She grew up in the freedom and diversity of our true Allies and friends to the North. The ones our government is condemning today.
I am proud to be a citizen of a country who is concerned with refugees, multiculturalism as a national mission, and compassion as a charter—Canada
And I was proud when I pulled the lever to elect you President of the USA as well—as a US citizen
The circle goes round. Again babies like my mother was, come to the USA borders with family fleeing terror in their former homes. Not only are they being turned away, as she was, babies are ripped away from their families. This happened in Poland where my infant Mother came from.
This should not be happening in the USA.
I’m proud to be Canadian and the freedom, human rights and promise it stands for.
Someday, I pray I can be proud to be a USA citizen again. But first the G7, the exit from the UN human rights council, now kidnapping immigrant children.
I am ashamed for the USA. It turned out the lights of liberty again.
Thank you, Mr President. You continue to give us hope. Please speak out. The nation needs to hear the voices of our former Presidents to help us find our way again.."
25. Mary Aldenton
"The republicans should all have their DNA tested...we are all refugees and immigrants...I am English, Scandinavian, Italian, North African and Nigerian...and happy to be all of these nationalities...my skin is white..but my heart and soul are much more."
26. Wendy May
"I count myself fortunate every day that I was born in the UK. I often wonder whether some greater force is watching us all on earth and wondering how many more generations it's going to take before we realise this planet has enough to sustain us all, so nobody dies of hunger or thirst or treatable disease. We are so busy creating ever bigger divides between the haves and have-nots. I'm often ashamed of what humankind is doing - to one another and to the planet."
27. Sandra Grubb Miller
"Thank you, President Obama for your words of hope. Every time I think of you I recall your admonishment— don’t BOO VOTE! A wonderful example of your wisdom and diplomacy. Thank you for your service! God bless you and your family! I think you served at exactly the best time as hopefully we will begin soul-searching regarding treating others as we wish to be treated and to love one another."
28. Michele Stewart
"Thank you for sharing your heartfelt words on this heartbreaking situation. You are loved and missed. I am the granddaughter of immigrants. I believe in the words written on the Statue of Liberty, a symbol of America and a symbol of hope for those that seek refuge."
29. Judy Turba Roemer
"The voice of reason and compassion...THIS is who we are. I hope that all of us who feel as though the current administration does not reflect us or our values fight for representation through our voices and our votes. Thank you for inspiring us and for continuing to share your message of hope Mr. President"
30. Michelle Potter
"I did not vote for you, Mr. Obama. When you were in office, I frequently disagreed with your positions. We are very different people, you and I. But we stand together on this. You, sir, understand what it means to be an American. Your successor, unfortunately, does not. 😥"
31. Samantha Gautama
"We are far from perfect in Europe. Brexit, far right upsurge in the polls, dealing with mass immigration from the african continent (mostly caused by our own making) but...never would I have thought that a US president, a man or woman that, regardless of political leaning, would seek to look after the weak, would do something that quite frankly Hitler would be proud of, astounds me
The whole world is ashamed of the U.S. today."
32. Linda Margolis-Jacobs
"Thank God my grandparents were allowed into the U.K. at the beginning of the century and not returned to Russia where they would been killed by the Cossacks and I would never have been born🙏"
33. Jobe Olson
"I would fight to make my home country a better place. Whatever it takes. Or make enough money so I can afford to immigrate to a better country legally. I would not disrespect other nations by sneaking in."
34. Lori Myers
"What part of “seeking asylum” do you not get? It’s not sneaking in. And make enough money to legally immigrate? Nobody can buy their way into another country. Jobe, I would implore you to do some reading about all these subjects. You are totally out of the loop."
35. Jobe Olson
"Jews sought asylum after WW2 and we turned them away. That was our right. Immigration costs money. Do you not know this? Tell me what I don't know now- I'm open."
36. Jeremy Mattern
"I taught a student this past year whose father went missing while they were living in Mexico. The father’s body was found after a few days, and the mother vowed to do whatever she could to get her daughter to a safer place. I admire this depth of love. We need more empathy and compassion. The young girl did not come here to be a “free-loader.” Her mother works, pays taxes and the daughter is a straight A student in honors. I’m so glad this family is here."
37. Erma Note
"This statement is presidential, respectful, educated, and compassionate: These are words that should describe a world leader."
38. Phil Allen
"We can only hope that all decent Americans will make it a point to vote in good people into congress in coming elections. That's the only way you can show you appreciate what President Obama stood for."
UPDATE REGARDING TRUMP'S POLICY OF SEPARATING IMMIGRANT CHILDREN FROM THEIR PARENTS IN "SHELTERS"
Trump Signs Order To Keep Migrant Families Detained Together Indefinitely
By Alice Ollstein | June 20, 2018 3:36 pm
"After weeks of insisting that only Congress could change the administration’s policy of separating migrant children and their parents, President Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday afternoon that would allow the government to detain families together as they await their immigration hearings. The administration will not, however, cease its policy of bringing criminal charges against immigrants who commit the civil violation of crossing the border unauthorized.
“We are keeping a very powerful border. And it continues to be a zero tolerance,” Trump said. “We have zero tolerance for people that enter our country illegally.”
Though Trump announced Wednesday that his new policy would “keep families together,” the actual text of the executive order gives the administration plenty of wiggle room, saying they would only work to keep families together “where appropriate and consistent with law and available resources.”
And while the families currently being held are under the jurisdiction either of Homeland Security or the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement, the executive order directs the Defense Department to turn over “any existing facilities available for the housing and care of alien families, and…construct such facilities if necessary and consistent with law.”
Later in the executive order is a provision that could roll back longstanding protections for children in federal custody. The text directs Attorney General Jeff Sessions to ask federal courts to modify a decades-old ruling that bars the detention of children by immigration authorities for longer than 20 days. The administration will now ask courts for permission “to detain alien families together throughout the pendency of criminal proceedings for improper entry or any removal or other immigration proceedings” with no set time limit.
As he signed the order, President Trump acknowledged to reporters that this move may violate that federal court settlement, known as Flores.
“There may be some litigation,” he said. “But we’re keeping the family together.”
There is nothing in the executive order that requires the government to reunite any of the thousands of children who have already been separated from their parents and are being held in the U.S. government’s custody. The White House did not respond to TPM’s questions about whether such a plan exists.
Human rights groups and Democratic lawmakers are slamming the administration’s move.
“This executive order would replace one crisis for another,” said Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union. “Children don’t belong in jail at all, even with their parents, under any set of circumstances. If the president thinks placing families in jail indefinitely is what people have been asking for, he is grossly mistaken.” "...
Here's a comment about this executive order:
"Senator Dick Durbin
Make no mistake: the President is doubling down on his ‘zero tolerance’ policy. His new Executive Order criminalizes asylum-seekers and seeks to indefinitely detain their children.
1:54 PM - 20 Jun 2018"
Here's a link to a twitter thread that was recommended as a good "explanation thread" about Trump's executive order:
Greg Siskind's summary describes him as a "Immigration lawyer & 1st with web site; 1st lawyer blogger; author of several books on immigration law. ABC News Top 20 people to follow for immigration news."
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