Text and photos by Paul Rifkin
Approximately 30 citizens gathered at the Otis Rotary entrance on MacArthur Boulevard to demonstrate their opposition to Governor Patrick's offer to bring children who have fled their countries (Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador) and crossed our southern border into the United States.
The migrant children ran away from poverty and crime to what they hoped would be a better life.
They are children who don't speak English in a foreign country without their parents.
Camp Edwards here on Cape Cod is one of the two possibilities being considered for temporary sheltering of these kids while they are being processed.
The other is Westover Air Force Base in Chicopee.
Republican state reps speak out about dangers of illegal immigrants
Cape Republican State Representatives David Vieira (Falmouth) and Randy Hunt (Sandwich) have already spoken out vociferously about the dangers of bringing these "illegal immigrants" here to the Cape.
The Democratic state reps are yet to be heard from.
The photos on the right show many of the signs and protestors.
The woman in the bottom photo was apparently ashamed of her actions because she kept hiding her face.
Chicopee mayor says it "makes no sense"
The Mayor of Chicopee, Richard Kos, suggested that a plan to shelter unaccompanied immigrant children at Westover “makes no sense.”
Polls seem to indicate that most people in communities surrounding the possible sites are against bring the children here.
The demonstrators at the rotary held American and "Don't Tread on Me" flags and displayed signs such as "No Way, Jose," "Our Children and Veterans First," "Send Them Back Deval," "Stay Home and Fix Your Own Country," "Send Them Back," "Freedom is Not Free," "Secure Our Border Now-Send Them Home," "Humane? Children in Warehouses," "Destroying Our Country from the Inside."
Many passing cars beeped their horns in support. While I was there no supporters of bringing these children here for protection were to be found---except for me.
God's children rather than as "illegal immigrants"
My view is that the humanitarian crisis at the southern border of the United States needs to be addressed swiftly and with compassion. The lives of thousands of youngsters who have crossed into our country fleeing escalating instability and violence across Central America are at stake. I personally view them as God's children, not "illegal immigrants".
President Obama has reached out to many governors, and I am grateful that Governor Patrick has demonstrated sympathetic concern and offered two locations in the Commonwealth as safe havens for these children.
If Camp Edwards is chosen as a location to shelter some of these children, I believe many will come together to form a coalition of caring people on the Cape who will volunteer to help in every way to make our needy visitors feel cared for and loved.
We can gather clothing, get instructors to teach them English, gather medical support, etc. and hopefully eventually develop a foster support system so that some might be integrated into our Cape community.
I ask Governor Patrick to bring them here to Cape Cod so we may offer them our love and support.
This issue is about morality and decency--- not politics. We will come together to serve God by serving God's children and our community.