Commentary: Public pressure, outrage keep building over the immigration problem

Commentary: Public pressure, outrage keep building over the immigration problem
June 28
01:02 2018

By James B. Ewers Jr.

During the space exploration years, there was an expression, “Houston, we have a problem.” That usually meant there was some mechanical problem that needed to be fixed. The problem was serious and needed NASA’s attention.

There are a few other expressions that also give us a sense of urgency. When someone says or writes ASAP, that will usually mean there can’t be any delays. In other words, stop what you are doing and attend to this matter ASAP. Calling 911 is a phone number that some of us have used in our lifetime. Dialing 911 could rise to a life or death situation. It is an emergency that needs a remedy immediately. When you see police lights flashing, fire trucks gathered and people around, it usually means someone has called 911.

Well, in some ways the White House has a problem. It needs to be solved ASAP because it’s a 911 emergency involving life and death.

The United Sates has an immigration problem and it is boiling over right now. However, it is fair to say that the immigration problem didn’t start with the current administration. It has been with us for many years and we have used different bandages to keep the wound closed.

During the current president’s campaign, he promised to build a wall. This campaign rhetoric became a rallying cry for those who believed in that kind of visual symbolism. It was further fueled when he said that Mexico would pay for the wall. When I initially heard the comment, I thought it was ridiculous, and at this moment, I still think it’s ridiculous.

Since Mr. T’s presidency, he has been tinkering with immigration reform. His approaches have not been well thought out and mean spirited. Recently, he pulled Attorney General Jeff Sessions into the immigration fray. Mr. Sessions got scared and started quoting the Bible. He said that separating children and families was Biblically based because the people must always follow the law.

The controversy and upheaval over his statements have been immediate. Franklin Graham, son of the late evangelist, Billy Graham, has come out against separating children and families.

The outrage over this problem has become so acute that two former first ladies, and the current first lady have spoken out against this inhumane act. Laura Bush, Michelle Obama and Melania Trump have expressed their personal outrage against this indictment on families. Americans of every stripe have been shaken and saddened by this low level of inhumanity.

The headlines have been many, and the television interviews have been constant since this story broke. Finally, on last Wednesday, the president signed an executive order that will not separate children and families. The president said, “I didn’t like the sight, or the feeling of families being separated.”

Now with the executive order signed, there are still big problems associated with immigration reform. An immediate problem is how to reunite children who have already been separated from their loved ones. There aren’t any quick fixes to this problem. The White House is on an island of discord and discontent and the island is shrinking by the day.

The White House is much like the children who are separated from their families. The White House is separated on that island from the rest of the United States of America.

James B. Ewers  Jr. Ed.D. is a former tennis champion at Atkins High School in Winston-Salem and played college tennis at Johnson C. Smith University, where he was all-conference for four years. He is a retired college administrator.  He can be reached at

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