|Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick|
Governor Deval Patrick stepped up to the plate and offered to give refuge to 1,000 Central American children fleeing from murder and mayhem. He now has to face opposition from those in the legislature and other parts of the state who believe we should repeat the U.S.'s shameful history and turn these refugees away, just as we turned away hundred of Jews fleeing from Nazi Germany, and who were sent back to their certain deaths.
“We have rescued Irish children from famine, Russian and Ukrainian children from religious persecution, Cambodian children from genocide, Haitian children from earthquakes, Sudanese children from civil war, and New Orleans children from Hurricane Katrina,” Patrick said. “Once, in 1939, we turned our backs on Jewish children fleeing the Nazis, and it remains a blight on our national reputation. The point is that this good Nation is great when we open our doors and our hearts to needy children, and diminished when we don’t.”
Patrick’s remark alluded to the refusal on the part of U.S. in 1939 to allow a ship carrying more than 900 Jewish refugees escaping the emerging Nazi regime in Germany to land on American shores. Belgium, France, Britain and the Netherlands subsequently took the refugees in.
CBS News reported in May that the U.S. also denied London stockbroker Sir Nicholas Winston’s request that same year to provide asylum for 669 Czechoslovakian children — many of them Jewish — who were also fleeing from the Nazis. A memo from the State Department to the American embassy in London instructed embassy staff to tell him that the U.S. “unable, in the absence of specific legislation, to permit immigration in excess of that provided for by existing immigration laws.” Those children were also taken in by Britain."
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