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Published on July 27th, 2014 | by Barry Rascovar

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Rascovar column: Immigration quandary for the GOP

Photo above: U.S. border with Mexico (Photo by Maitri/Flickr Creative Commons License)

By Barry Rascovar

For MarylandReporter.com

Are Republicans poor spellers?

They might be, judging from the graffiti (“NO ILLEAGLES HERE”) spray painted on a former Carroll County military building that briefly was under consideration to house immigrant children fleeing violence in Central America.

Or is it just that Republicans are narrow-minded bigots?

It seems they don’t want anyone entering this country unless the immigrants are Anglo-Saxon Christians who believe the “G” in GOP stands for God.

Republican history

Hostility toward immigrants is in the Grand Old Party’s DNA.

The GOP started as an amalgamation of anti-slavery groups and the Know-Nothing Party (formally known in states as the American Party or the Native American Party).

The Know-Nothings’ near-hysterical hostility toward Irish-Catholics and Germans later turned into anti-Chinese venom.

Keeping “them” out of the U.S. of A. has morphed into today’s sweeping condemnation of 57,000 children from non-English-speaking, heavily Catholic nations in Central America who have crossed the border.

‘Combat zone’

Frederick County’s arch-enemy of immigrants, Sheriff Chuck Jenkins, recently toured part of the Texas-Mexico border, declared it a “combat zone” and called for full militarization.

Fortress America, here we come!

“We’re being invaded by drug cartels, drug smugglers, human traffickers,” the law-and-order sheriff railed.

Huh?

Unaccompanied children are crossing the border, not gun-toting thugs and narco terrorists.

And in Baltimore County. . .

You’d never know that by listening to Del. Wade Kach or Councilman Todd Huff of Baltimore County. The two Republicans have joined the anti-immigrant mob.

They’re upset because Catholic Charities wants to house 50 children from Central America at its secluded St. Vincent’s Villa for children with severe emotional and behavioral problems.

Meanwhile, Republican Baltimore County Del. Pat McDonough, who never misses a shot at outrageous publicity, is calling for the erection of tent cities along the border and immediate deportation of “them.”

Congressional response

Then there’s the irrepressible Republican naysayer, Congressman Andy Harris, who was quick to issue bombastic opposition to Central American kids living temporarily at a former Army Reserve building in Westminster – a locale that is not in his district.

Harris, an anesthesiologist, cited among other reasons “the potential health risks to the community” — as though these kids were carrying the Bubonic Plague.

He wants the 57,000 children deported to their home country and to “get back in line.”

Discrimination is alive and well in the Republican Party’s Maryland branch.

Christian response

Catholic Charities’ proposal, thankfully, does not follow Republican Party dicta. Instead, it follows Christian teachings that most Republicans ostensibly say they follow.

This is, as Pope Francis pointed out, a “humanitarian crisis” involving unaccompanied children. Catholic Charities is extending the good work it does by undertaking this new mission at St. Vincent’s Villa in Timonium.

It’s not a permanent solution but rather a helping hand for 50 kids while their situations are sorted out.

What’s wrong with that?

Maryland’s response

How does Maryland suffer when a local charity offers assistance to some of the needy, regardless of their place of origin?

Gov. Martin O’Malley understands.

He first complained to the White House about placing kids at a Westminster facility lacking security or running water – not to mention the seething animus in Carroll County toward outsiders (especially Spanish-speaking “illeagals” who might pollute Carroll’s idyllic surroundings).

He was right to inform the White House of that bone-headed proposal.

There are far better ways to offer help and assistance to these kids, such as finding compatible settings near Washington, where there are large Hispanic communities (and proximity to Central American embassies) or in Baltimore City, with its own Spanish-speaking enclave.

NIMBY Republicans

The Republican line is that this crisis is “a federal problem” created by the hated Obama administration. Offering a helping hand – even to children – isn’t in the GOP’s vocabulary.

Republican NIMBYism is alive and well.

Let someone else handle these desperate kids, all 57,000 of them. Just make sure the federal refugee camps are “not in my back yard.”

What’s confronting the United States is a major humanitarian dilemma. It won’t be solved solely by the White House. It will take a combined effort by states, non-profit groups and the federal government.

Republicans don’t want any part in extending charity to these kids.

Possible solution

The best way to stop this unwanted influx is to become involved in helping Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala crack down on criminal activity, to bolster health and education opportunities and to encourage business development.

Republicans will have none of that.

They don’t want immigrants coming to this country and they don’t want to do anything to help stem the tide – other than stationing armed troops on our southern border.

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Barry Rascovar writes a weekly column which runs first in MarylandReporter.com and then www.politicalmaryland.com. He can be reached at brascovar@hotmail.com.

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  • dwb1

    I can’t answer serious questions about this policy so discrimination is in the DNA!

    ok, Now that we have the race baiting out of the way:
    1. The children streaming over the border do need medical care. Some have lice, may not have had immunizations, and may have other issues. Who is going to provide it? People on medicare in the city have to hunt for doctors.

    2. Many are in gangs and the hyper violent MS-13 is taking advantage and sending gang members here. Surely Baltimore needs more violent gangs, right?

    3. They will do what for work? Maryland has no unskilled labor, manufacturing has all but left the state. Baltimore barely graduates 85% of its high school students, and those who do are not prepared for the job market as it is. Now, if we want to roll back labor and environmental regs and let all that unskilled labor build cheap steel at Sparrows Point again, or employ them fraking gas and mining coal again, great.

    4. We draw the line where? Who do we send back? None of them? Well, we cannot take the entire population of Central America. Or can we? Why not just take over Central America and fix the rampant corruption in Govt that caused them to move here in the first place. Just sent the army and take over everything between Texas and the Panama Canal. Easier to police that tiny border anyway.

    5. People who have worked hard for five years to come here legally. Hey its totally fair to just take everyone no questions, right?

    I am in favor of more, and easier, *legal* immigration. Not taking refugees and gang members no questions asked, unless we have a plan to assimilate them into the economy.

    • Lee

      Rascovar attracts the “low-information” crowd – stirring up passions and pity for poor children, while failing to use reason to address the real cause of the problem. His comments remind me of Hitler’s justification for invading Poland and the Sudetenland – the plight of the poor German families in this countries. It’s a play of any despot or tyranny to justify lawless invasions and destruction of civil society to distract to the symptoms of the problem, rather than the cause. It’s hard to imagine that he is so self-deceived himself to think that the unrestrained entry of illegal alien “children” is something other than a cynical political scheme to populate the US with ever-increasing numbers of dependent poor to gain political advantage for those leaders who most benefit from big government. Or, maybe I am over analyzing – maybe Mr. Rascovar is just trying to draw attention to himself – a sort of need for ego gratification – like the show-off at school who just wants to be noticed.

    • AlScan

      Unfortunately, Sparrows Point is now half demolished. But, no worries. Before the Steel Plant even announced that they were closing, Kamenetz and other Democratic officials boasted of putting “Green Infrastructure” at the site (whatever that means). If I didn’t hear it with my own ears, I’m not sure I would have believed it. And the steelworkers union still pumped big dollars into their campaigns. Oh well… once the new “green infrastructure” is there. they can fill the workforce full of college graduates (because it seems to be the minimum requirement for any job) and pay them $10/hour. There is no room for for unskilled, illegal immigrants in Sparrows Point/Dundalk. I guess I’m a racist.

      • madihwa

        Funny, that’s what I get called all the time–a racist. Simply because I’m against illegal immigration. And yet–my husband’s Chinese, I have black and Mexican cousins, a filipino nephew, a japanese nephew and niece, my granddaughter’s step mom is Iranian muslim and I myself, besides various white ethnicities (my brother learned in his latest and most thorough DNA check) am Jewish, Japanese, Native American, Berber (not sure what that means) and Jamaican (not sure about that one either). Pretty funny, huh? I’ve always derived such amusement from my family’s mixed up background and the question that is most often asked us, “Are you all RELATED?!” No one can ever believe it. My granddaughters look more like their step sisters than they do each other. I suppose that’s not surprising considering that they have 18 ethnicities.

    • madihwa

      Why even be in favor of more and easier immigration? Why? This country is having an unemployment problem already due to the illegals. It is growing more and more unequal wealth wise by the day, due to the illegals and the greed of our economic elite. We DON’T need more people until our elite cleans up its act.

      And, no, i’m not a racist. My family makes the UN looks in-bred and half of my family are immigrants of the last generation–the generation when the US had a labor shortage. That’s what caused the greedy S0Bs to allow the illegals in.

      I agree with your one idea. Send our army down there. But that’s not going to happen because out president doesn’t really control what happens here. The money boys do. And they want the oil in the middle east. So that’s where our wars will continue to be.

  • KatieSilverSpring

    Thank you, dwb1; Rascovar is far out of line I hope he hasn’t surrendered his library card. He will need it to do some research. Or, better yet, pull out your passport, Barry, and go down to the Border itself like those you criticize did, and see the young gang thugs yourself.
    Catholic Charities would do better if it sat down with the Bishops of Central and South America and ask them to slap up-side-the-head a few of the rich families there who are forcing people out of poverty to work in the drug trade. And, now, out of their country. Handling a problem at its root is the only way to end the “crisis” we now are being forced to share.

  • Frank_Van

    One hack of a slashing article, demolishing any objectivity Mr. Escovar might have had.

  • abby_adams

    NIMBY Mr. Rascovar? Only the GOP is anti-immigrant? And you are sure that not one Democrat is opposed to this action or should I say inaction by the WH & Dems? Ask any legal immigrant how they feel about this issue? Those who waited on line, paid for documents, medical checkups, background checks & biometrics, only to see those who come over the border handed a free ride? I would also remind those Catholic Bishops just who fills the collection basket with $$ that is used to help support the church & its missions? Is it the poor inner city parishes or those in suburban areas who faithfully give yet when they oppose THIS issue we are not following in the footsteps of Christ?

    • madihwa

      I know MANY Democrats who are opposed to the millions of illegals who have been pouring over our borders for decades now. People used to talk all the time about over-population, the population bomb. Now no one says anything about it.

      Well, perhaps they’d prefer to talk instead about the looming water shortage in our country. Many states and localities have already run out of water. Many more will. And then there’s the carbon footprint created by more people.

      The only people truly in favor of all these people pouring into our country are the corporate masters and the Congress that they have bought and paid for. They’re taking American jobs and driving down wages–just as the corporate masters intended that they would.

      So often when I mention all this people call me a racist but I have Mexican cousins and my family is SO diverse–we make the UN look inbred. So–enough of that nonsense, people!

  • kantil

    You actually publish this drek?

  • Frank

    You hit it out of the park Barry. Remember how Rick Perry had to backtrack when he said “have a heart”. And as for medical care as one comment mentioned, Republicans only want that for themselves. They are the party of hate and they are losing. Soon they will even have to abandon their anti gay platform. Losers!

  • carolisme

    The sight of the tired little children, staring uncomprehendingly into the cameras, sitting at table holding their heads and crying, laying stacked like logs in what appears to look like barrack floors, tugs at the heartstrings of any that claim to be human. No decent person will deny something has to be done to aid the little ones and stop the flow of more who will suffer the same or worse fate as those who managed to get here alive.
    These children have parents who mistakenly allowed their children to take a shot at getting into the U.S. with hopes of reclaiming them and also gaining admittance to the good life offered by President Obama.
    It isn’t only those who are here now, but the thousands who will be following with the same vision of a brighter and freer future.
    Our resources are limited, our own people are in need and charity must begin at home.
    Of course there are those with big hearts and deep pockets, like the guy who wrote this article, Barry Rascover, who chose to belittle the Republicans for their uncharitable attitude about immigrants, yet failing to mention that the problem is with illegal aliens, not legal immigrants- a world of difference for sure.
    I can’t help but wonder how many of the illegal aliens he will welcome to come and live in his home, and how much of his monthly earnings he will be passing on to the other unfortunate illegals who will be waiting for deportation. His enthusiasm for these “migrants” is heartwarming, and I’m sure he will be blessed many times over for the purity of his welcome for those unfortunates who were lured here by the Obama administration for their future votes.

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