New records reveal immigration agents asked Central Booking in Baltimore to hold dozens of immigrants beyond their scheduled release. The documents are being made public as the Trump administration is leaning on cities to abandon “sanctuary” policies.

Recently, my friend Stu Sims was telling me about his young cousin, Blair Simms, an architect, who has traveled and worked, both during and after his studies, in Brazil, South Africa and Canada. Thus, added Stu, the young man has developed not only a wider appreciation of architecture but also a better understanding of people from other parts of the world coming together for a common goal.

For many years, Johns Hopkins has been known to attract the best and brightest physicians and students from around the globe. For example, more than 30 years ago, I interviewed an Australian ophthalmologist, Hugh Taylor, who was working to stamp out five major causes of blindness: trachoma, diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, glaucoma and onchocerciasis (river blindness).


After his many trips to Africa to combat river blindness, Dr. Taylor had acquired enough frequent flier miles to take his family of six to China and back! Since onchocerciasis is no longer among the five major causes of blindness, I will assume that Dr. Taylor's and his colleagues' efforts were successful.

Staying with Hopkins ophthalmology, as a long-time patient of Dr. Walter Stark's before he retired last year, I remember being examined by his fellows from Israel, Ireland, and, yes, from Australia.

Similarly, my friend Dr. Mike Johnston at Hopkins Kennedy Krieger often travels — to Japan and to France most recently — to share his work in pediatrics and neurology with physicians in those countries. Once again, experts coming together for a common goal.

With modern, daily improving technology, the U.S. has become a global leader in many areas. With easy air travel, it has not been unusual (until recently) for people to fly everywhere — even internationally on a weekly basis. As for the fear of mass shootings and terror attacks, sadly, they can occur in our own country as well as abroad.

Learning about foreign cultures, foreign people, definitely enhances our empathy, our intelligence, our imaginations. Which is why the immigration policies of our current government are so depressing. We should be encouraging foreigners, the 99 percent of intelligent, industrious people, to come to the U.S. And we also should make it easy for our own people to go abroad.

My friend Susan, an art historian, took a memorable trip to Cuba two years ago and found the art galleries and the artists fascinating. Unfortunately, the current administration has imposed somewhat stiffer restrictions on travel back and forth to Cuba, a loss on both sides.

For more than a decade, Goucher College has required all students to study abroad at some point during their school years. I hope other colleges follow Goucher's example.

While stringing up British flags in his store in advance of the recent Ravens/Jaguars football game in London, Dennis Graul told me proudly that his eldest daughter is attending St. Andrews University in Scotland.

Foreign trips for students as well as for non-students do not have to be expensive. There are tours as well as work and volunteer opportunities for individuals and organizations where travel costs may be reduced or reimbursed.

Travel, getting to know other people, other cultures, makes us better people. It would be interesting to find out whether those in our country who do not want foreign-born people on our soil, who rail against immigrants, have ever traveled themselves — either across our country or out of our country. I suspect not too many.

Not only do foreign countries offer interesting entertainment, good food, great landscapes, amazing history and political controversy, but they all have monuments, even older than ours — good and bad, making citizens of the world much more alike than different.

Lynne Agress, who teaches in the Odyssey Program of Johns Hopkins, is president of BWB-Business Writing At Its Best Inc. and author of "The Feminine Irony" and "Working With Words in Business and Legal Writing." Her email is lynneagress@aol.com.