America stood with our hands in our pockets as fascism and anti-semitism grew in the ’20s and ’30s culminating in six years of war and genocide in our world. We had plenty of anti-Semitism in the United States witness the German-American Bund who held a parade in New York City attended by thousands culminating in a “Support America” rally Madison Square Garden attended by over 20,000 people. They had 30 American and Nazi flags side by side festooning the stage. The straight arm Nazi salute was made by the speakers and returned in kind. They called FDR President ‘Rosenfeld’ and referred to the New Deal as the “Jew Deal.”

The German-American Bund was dissolved in the early ’40s. The mid-’30s into the early ’40s Many Jewish immigrants were turned away, sent back to certain death in Europe. In the West we had segregation of Chinese and later the shameful Japanese internment camps.

We no longer welcomed immigrants to share the freedoms of our democracy.

In World War II, our armed forces performed magnificently, though at great human cost. We did the right thing to fight and win the war against the Axis powers.

However, today the welcome mat for immigrants is shaky indeed.

I commend Craig Wiesner for his guest perspective of Oct. 11.

Kevin O’Brien

San Mateo

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(4) comments


America is a country of immigrants. But quotas for immigration should be balanced in proportion to the size of other country. A relative small county should not dominate our over all immigration. Unfortunately Democrats have chosen to use immigration as a way to get votes and seats in Congress for issues that American citizens won't approve. Democrats particularly like immigrants that are conditioned to the idea of authoritarian government.


Ed, don't you get tired of being disingenuous, and blaming everything on Democrats? Your opinions fail on their face. This country has had a problem with proper immigrant policies under both Democrat and Republican regimes for decades and this one is no exception. Of course, ideally immigrants should fall in line with the immigrant quotas. The Statue of Liberty has it right by mentioning the tired, the poor (without quotas). However, not every country is having dictator or gang related circumstances driving them from their homes. Do you think many immigrants enjoy taking everything they own and leaving the only home they have known to go elsewhere to live? Travelling hundreds of miles carrying their only possessions on their backs to better their lives? Should we then turn them away because we have filled quotas? Of course not. How about exhibiting a modicum of humanity.


Thank you! I spoke at a church a few years ago about our congregation's (First Presbyterian Palo Alto) years of experience working with refugees and asylum seekers. During Q&A one of the attendees said "I just can't understand by a parent would uproot his children and take them thousands of miles from their homes, putting them in so much danger..." I asked if he was a parent. He said yes, he had two daughters. "Well, imagine that you came home one day and found a gang of men raping one of your daughters and they held you at gunpoint while they continued. When they were done they told you they would be coming back for your other, younger, daughter. The authorities in your community, the police, the military, are bought and paid for by these men. There is nothing you can do to protect your family. Would you not sneak off in the middle of the night and try to get somewhere, anywhere, to protect your children?" He said yes. I explained that I was not asking a rhetorical question. This was real. This was one story. "Of course," I went on, "that's not every story but if that one story answers your question about why a parent would take his children thousands of miles away from their home...." I then asked him if that answered his question and he said yes. To the folks who who like to answer any column or letter about immigration with the tired old phrase "Illegal versus legal" I commend this story and ask you to think about what you would do if this was happening to your family.

Terence Y

Bottom line, Mr. O’Brien, legal vs. illegal. Americans are okay with legal immigration. Illegal, not so much because by definition, it’s a crime.

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