I would venture to say that most folks are sympathetic to the insurmountable problem of children streaming across our borders trying to evade danger.
Of course these children need to have health checks and immunizations when they come here. Who in their right mind is saying they should not?
In the 1970s I helped sponsor several immigrant families from Vietnam. One of the first things we did was see that they had doctor’s appointments to ensure the children and adults were immunized; that lice, if present, were treated; and that the families were in good health. We certainly did not think of them as “dirty and diseased,” rather we were striving to give them a chance for a good life here.
We need to make sure that these children are healthy and that they don’t contract disease from their new environment in the U.S. We also need to make sure they are well cared for as Catholic Charities is stepping up to do.
We are thankful for the decency and integrity of Bud Kennedy’s column (“There are some sickos out there, and not the Central American children,” June 22).
On the one hand, we can understand our agencies being overwhelmed by the sheer and perhaps unexpected numbers. On the other hand, if this country does not have the capabilities developed to respond to this sort of emergency, what about other emergencies that may occur in the future?
We have easily compiled a list of possible immediate emergency assistance: government agencies, volunteer medical groups, toy manufacturers, private donors, religious groups and, finally, elected officials and leaders like Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. And how about all those groups who rightly responded to Haiti?
If these occur to us, why not to those in power? We know this is a complex and difficult situation, but we also know that America has a strong self-image of being a decent, compassionate nation. And these are children.
Yes, they need to be evaluated for possible asylum and then either returned to their countries or welcomed here. But first of all, they need to be cared for kindly.