Thanks for publishing Kay Hubbard’s guest column on the history of U.S. policies and their contribution to the present influx of thousands of children seeking refuge from the violence of their home countries [“How U.S. foreign policy in Central America created the child border crisis,” Opinion, Aug. 12]. We owe these children safety, not only because it is morally wrong to reject them, but as one of the few ways that we can pay the debt for what we did to their grandparents and parents.
After the crash of 1929, we went through another nationwide anti-immigrant hysteria. Immigrants were perceived as “stealing our jobs” and depriving “us” of our livelihoods. We reacted with a vengeance. Between 1929 and 1944, we expelled (“repatriated”) more than 2 million people of Mexican descent back to Mexico. Of these more than 2 million deportees, 1.2 million had been born in the United States. In California alone, approximately 400,000 U.S. citizens and legal residents were forced to repatriate to a country many had never even seen.
As Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel said about other shameful events, “We are not all guilty, but we are all responsible.” We cannot undo the damage we have caused, but we can stop perpetuating and repeating that damage.
Thalia Syracopoulos, Seattle