This is not the first time this scenario has played out. Have we forgotten that thousands of Jews who were fleeing Europe and almost certain death or years of slavery were treated very much like Trump's plan for the South and Central American refugees heading north looking for some safe haven? Here is a quote from the Smithsonian website regarding the so-called "ship of fools" incident during World War 2:
"With politicians in the U.S. and Europe again calling for refugee bans in the name of national security, it’s easy to see parallels with the history of World War II.
"...although today’s refugee crisis isn’t identical to mass migration in World War II, the past could still offer lessons for the future. They say that this time around, governments should be careful not to rush quickly into new policies.
“Simplistic kinds of answers—close all the doors to refugees, or welcome everyone—are dangerous, and ultimately counter-productive,” says Lipstadt.
Orchard highlights a related worry—“that we'll see short-sighted policies adopted that have real lasting effects.” He believes governments have historically succeeded at screening for refugees, which suggests that national security isn't at odds with welcoming them.
"According to Breitman, the government, the media, and the public all share blame for the backlash against Jewish refugees during World War II. 'I think the media went along with the fears of security-minded people,' he says. Among hundreds of thousands of refugees, there were only a handful of accused spies."
History tends to repeat itself - especially when the lives of poor homeless people are involved. What America has lost is its real sense of empathy for almost anyone that is not white, not native, not English speaking, and not financially secure. Nothing has really changed since the years after the Civil War in the United States when former black slaves, indigenous people (American Indian tribes), and Mexicans living in their homes in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona after the US confiscated those lands from Mexico. Most were treated as stupid, ignorant, and dangerous to the American white invaders. We have not had any wars with Mexico for nearly 100 years. The last major problem we had with our southern neighbors was the short Panamanian war in the late 1980s against dictator Noriega - who was charged with drug trafficking and threatening the canal.
Trump knows that the best way to unite the majority of the country behind him is to be in a war. We all fall in line to support our troops and to protect our homesteads. So, even though very few of us are in any danger of being attacked by Central America refugees, Trump needs to create an "us versus them" situation and painting "them" to be as dangerous (many criminals, diseased, transporting drugs, ignorant and uneducated, thieves, etc.) as possible to engender fear among our youth, oldsters, unemployed men and women, and others that are not fully secure.
I remember when I was a young man living and working in Hollywood. A fairly large number of Jewish families had fled Russia and brought to West Hollywood and parts of Beverly Hills. Most had been taken in by Jewish families and organizations and provided with housing, clothing and some temporary income. But many did not speak a word of English and were uneducated in American culture. Several times a month there would be gangs and crowds of people marching and chanting "send them back" and "we don't want you." This was happening in areas that had large and significant populations of Jewish-Americans. They said the very same thing about those immigrants as our President is now saying about the refugees from Central America.
Who among us (USA / Canada) does not owe our lives, history and standards of living as residents and citizens thanks to the open gates of our adopted countries? Who are we to deny those same privileges to others - not unlike our ancestors - who came to work, pray, have children, and provide for their families?
Juan Viejo (German / Scots-Irish / English / Dutch)