On reflection

A proposal for gun control, from high school survivors of a mass shooting

With our daily news focused on weather catastrophes and President Trump’s ongoing scandals, the publication of a proposal for gun control by students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has come and gone with little media attention. A month after the mass shooting, which killed 17 and injured 17 others, the Parkland, Fla., students helped organize March for Our Lives to urge legislation preventing gun violence.  The Washington D.C. demonstration had over 800 sibling events throughout the United States and around the world. 

Please DON'T ‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses ...’

A few years ago, during a project on Russian Jewish immigrants, I came upon Malka Chavanowa, who in 1905 had arrived at Ellis Island with her 10-year-old son. Beside her name were initials, LPC, which turned out to stand for, “likely to become a public charge.” Although Malka was allowed to pass through Ellis Island (she would become matriarch of Arnoff’s Moving and Storage), women who arrived without a husband either at their side or waiting on the pier were labeled LPC, and many were put back on steerage to be returned to Europe.  

Rethinking 'asylum seekers' and 'refugees'

The Guatemalans, Hondurans and Salvadorans fleeing the violence, unemployment and poverty of their homelands (which constitute the Northern Triangle of Central American nations) have largely followed the strategies of their Mexican neighbors. Since 1965, the United States has capped the number of annual immigrants from the Western Hemisphere at 120,000. On the assumption that this meager number would never accommodate their entry, migrants slipped in somewhere along our nearly 2000-mile southern border, agreeing to live in the economic and political shadows. 

Children and the trauma of immigration

Immigrant children have become the collateral damage of the Trump administration’s Zero Tolerance policies aimed at their parents, as well as “bargaining chips” in the administration’s negotiations with Congress. In addition, our current administration probably hopes that its disdainful treatment of children at the border will be a deterrent to Central American families contemplating life in the U.S.

Cruel ironies of Alabama abortion ban

A volunteer’s view from Tijuana: The long, uncertain slog to ‘the other side’

Part 2 of 2

Abby Nathanson, who directs a leadership program for Latino high school students and a residential fellowship year for college graduates at Grace Episcopal Church in Millbrook, spent her Christmas holiday in Tijuana. As described in the first part of this series, Abby is fluent in Spanish and French, and made herself most useful by preparing migrants for the “credible fear” interviews, their first step of the asylum-seeking process.  

A volunteer’s view from Tijuana: The long, uncertain slog to ‘the other side’

Part 1 of 2

Note from the author: This series is based on a long face-to-face interview with Sharon, Conn.,  resident Abby Nathanson, clarifications she provided in response to emailed questions, as well as photos, statistics, and several articles Abby sent to enrich my piece. Finally, my understanding of the asylum process was augmented by news articles on Tijuana and immigration at the southern border.


Welcoming our local immigrants

Given the aggressive anti-immigrant drumbeat from the White House, the immigrants in our communities need a little extra help these days — if only in a welcoming smile.

If most of us have been shaken by our president’s lack of any understanding or compassion for immigrants either inside our country or at our border, families who are new to this country, and whose status may be uncertain, must feel quite traumatized to find themselves here. What is their future? Is this the country where they dreamed of feeling safe?