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Our moral compass is lost

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“On August 8th 2019, President Trump authorized the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to arrest 680 undocumented workers in Mississippi. A more efficient strategy is to focus federal resources on improving conditions at the southern border, processing legal immigration claims more quickly, and addressing the root causes of immigration from Central America. That's why I recently partnered with my colleagues to pass legislation that provides much-needed humanitarian aid at our southern border. This legislation will improve living conditions for migrant children and families, provide them with increased food and medical treatment, and increase the number of immigration judges.” From Sen. Jon Tester’s reply to me about the immigration issue.

I have seen numerous letters to the editor about the immigration issue. Some writers contend that the immigrants are “illegal.” This is incorrect in most cases, as the vast majority of the people in the immigration “camps” entered the country through the open crossing points and legally applied for asylum. (By the way, almost all of the 680 workers removed from their workplace were found to be in the U.S. legally.) There are not enough immigration judges at the border to process the applications in a reasonable time. We need more immigration judges, not more prison guards, not more troops, not more ICE agents.

Many of the immigrants are coming from Central American countries that are experiencing severe drought and thus have food and potable water insufficient for the population. These people are “climate refugees.” They came to find food and water and were basically put in jail. This is not the compassionate person’s approach to helping our neighbors. People asked for America’s help and the government responded by taking their children and putting them in crowded facilities that were extremely stressful and lacked basic sanitation items like soap and toothpaste. This is not an opinion. It is a well-documented fact.

Apparently another 100 climate refugees that were trying to flee Hurricane Dorian were taken off the ferry because they lacked a visa, which never used to be required for Bahamian visitors. We have lost our moral compass.

On a similar point, it is often hard for me to read the letters to the editor because of the amount of nasty language spat out at readers. This happens on both extremes of any issue. I generally believe that people who resort to referring to their opponents by calling them stupid or ignorant or idiots might as well be talking to the mirror because it suggests your argument is weak so you have to resort to name-calling. If we could just communicate respectfully, without calling each other names, we might actually get the point of the writer’s letter instead of getting angry.

— Toddy Perryman, Corvallis


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