In McAllen Texas, hundreds of volunteers representing all walks of life are helping immigrant children and their parents who have crossed the border illegally.
In Westminster, upon hearing that a vacant government building was being considered as a possible site to shelter immigrant children, our Board of County Commissioners immediately unleashed a firestorm of opposition, saying they didn't want to offer up our community to help in any way.
The contrast in attitudes is striking.
Tens of thousands of children have entered the U.S. illegally since October. The crisis is being driven, in part, by gang and drug violence in Central America. But families also are being preyed upon by smugglers, who take their money and say the children will be allowed to stay once they arrive.
Clearly the Obama administration and his GOP opponents need to come together to find a compromise solution. But while the government forces bicker, it is important that we not lose sight of the fact that it is people we are talking about, and many of them are children as young as six, seven or eight years old. These are the individuals that a community in Texas is rallying to help, and that our elected commissioners in Westminster quickly mobilized to turn their backs on.
It is hard to reconcile the fact that this board went to court to protect its ability to open meetings with Christian prayers to Jesus Christ. That entire show rings a bit hollow now.
Molly Hennessy-Fiske wrote in a story about the effort going on in McAllen, Texas, that "The estimated 800 volunteers at the hastily organized immigrant relief center are retirees and businessmen, stay-at-home moms and students … Organizers from Catholic Charities have been joined by the Salvation Army, Baptists, Methodists and Episcopalians."
There no doubt would be a similar outpouring of help from Carroll churches, community groups and residents who, as they repeatedly have demonstrated in the past, don't let their political leanings blind them when they see someone in need. Our willingness to open our arms, hearts and purse strings to help others is part of what makes our community strong, in spite of the attitude of our current county government.
Our commissioners may see only an opportunity for political grandstanding about "Obama's failed immigration policies," but as a community, we see children in need, and we would not be so quick to turn our backs on them.