In 1990 author Eve Bunting wrote a prophetic story of a small boat filled with immigrants, trying to make it to the shores of the United States. Just like the Pilgrims of 1620 these people struggled to survive a dangerous sea voyage to find freedom and promise.
Now, 26 years after the publication of Bunting’s beloved story, we continue to see families trying to come here, trying escape wars, famine, dictatorships, and so much more.
The basic needs and motivations of our immigrant families has not changed all that much. Crowded filthy cities. Forests, long-since disappeared. And making matters even worse, horrible wars rage. Governments, religions–all at each other throats.
For our country it is no surprise that we would be the safe haven for so many. Not only do we have that beautiful Lady welcoming the masses to our shores, we also vast open lands and the potential of finding many places that welcome immigrant families.
Our 21st Century immigrants want to build sustainable, healthy lives for their children. Two hundred years ago and now, people want to live in America because its heritage is that of a country free from persecution, a place where freedom of religion and freedom FROM a state-sanctioned religion are at the very heart of democracy. In the US we provide paths to citizenship where immigrants can potentially find reward for the huge sacrifices that they made to come to this country. Let’s remember that this is the cornerstone of our country’s heritage, and our welcoming spirit is a core value for many Americans.
At this season of thanks, let’s be bridge builders, not wall builders.