June 26, 2019

Here's the thing I keep thinking when I look at that picture of Oscar Ramirez and his little girl, Valeria: If you didn't care about the plight of migrants before you saw this picture, will you somehow start caring after you do?

"If you will, I'd like to talk about other breaking news this morning. There's this image that i think should weigh on the conscience of all of us, all Americans. It shows a father, Oscar Ramirez, and his daughter Valeria. She's 23 months old. And they died within feet of the U.S. border, trying to get to the United States to seek asylum," John Berman said.

"You know, you are a father. I've heard you talk about your kids. You're also a man of deep faith. Are we doing enough? Is Washington doing enough to protect and care for the people trying to get into this country?"

"No, we're not, John. Any parent who sees that image has got to be profoundly disturbed. After the second World War, the United States reflected on the ways in which we refused to accept refugees fleeing Nazi Germany," Coons said.

"An entire shipful of Jewish citizens of Germany were denied the opportunity to enter the United States. They floated off the east coast for months and months, and then ultimately were forced to return to Germany, where many were killed. It's because of that incident we changed our laws to make it possible for people fleeing violence and persecution to come here and seek asylum.

"We should reflect on that history again today. There are thousands of people fleeing the violence and chaos of three countries in Central America. President Trump's budget and his administrative actions freezes and cuts the assistance to those three countries to help them stabilize, to help them combat drug trafficking. When I've met with leaders from those countries, they remind me it is our insatiable appetite for drugs that is largely driving the violence and chaos in those countries. They welcome our assistance. And I think we should be both providing humanitarian assistance at the border for those who are fleeing that condition and seeking refuge here, and we should be working together to try and stabilize those three countries so fewer parents take that desperately dangerous journey, and risk their lives and their children's lives."

I wish more of these people would also talk about the role climate change is playing in this crisis: Freezes. Extreme heat. Dry areas where people used to farm. Floods where farmers used to plant their crops. Yes, people are also leaving because of the gangs, but many of them would stay if they could plant crops and feed their families.

It would be good if our elected officials acknowledged that.

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