Governor Deval L. Patrick’s administration announced on Tuesday, August 5, that the federal government would not use Joint Base Cape Cod to temporarily house unaccompanied Central American children. The news came as a relief to some who feel the federal government is going too easy on illegal immigrants and others who feared using the base for housing would lead to burdensome expenses to neighboring towns or, worse, import desease or some other scourge to the Cape. The news was also no doubt a relief to those who were offended by the bigotry of protesters who were against the governor’s offer.
The question of whether Cape Codders should allow the federal government to house immigrants on the base has been put to rest.
But the question of how Americans should treat the less fortunate of the world who would seek a better life in our country is still very much on the table and will be for some time to come. And despite the federal government’s decision regarding the base, Cape Codders should continue to think about the issue and continue the discussion.
With that in mind, we were pleased to learn that a meeting this week organized by the Reverend Nell Fields of the Waquoit Congrational Church on the faith-based community’s response to child refugees was well attended.
Despite news that the base was no longer under consideration, about 75 people gathered in Plymouth to hear the Reverend John Dorhauer, Southwest Conference minister for the United Church of Christ, talk about how churches in the Southwest are helping child refugees from Central America.
Unaccompanied children might not be coming to the Cape, but they are still coming into the country by the thousands.
It is not just children who are coming to the United States. People of all ages are trying to escape poverty and oppression.
It is a humanitarian issue that as a nation we have to address, one way or the other. Whether we open our borders or lock them up tight or something in between, there is a humanitarian crisis to our south that we cannot ignore.
We encourage Nell Fields, the faith-based community and all others to continue the discussion. It doesn’t end because the base is off the table.