Through No Fault of Their Own

Sometimes, phrases get repeated often enough that they become widely accepted. This doesn’t mean that they are true. I’m not talking about deliberate untruths as in Nazi Joseph Goebbels’ statement, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” I am talking about words we think of as truisms, ones that are often faulty, but which we casually accept as reality.

For example, I remember a friend responding with, “Where there’s smoke there’s fire,” when hard-to-believe rumors surfaced of scandalous behavior by a local religious leader. We all know too well today of the danger in ignoring horrible behavior that must be addressed.  However, inverting America’s legal principle into “Guilty until proven innocent”  places titanic power in the hands of the hate-filled, the overzealous, careless, or even just the  mistaken. One venomous tweet today can destroy a perfectly innocent life. Automatically believing that, “Where there’s smoke there’s fire,” substitutes one injustice for another.

With the discussion of DACA front and center, one repeatedly hears that the Dreamers (a politically brilliant term that obscures the issue) came to the United States illegally through, “…no fault of their own.” We aren’t really talking about fault; we mean that the illegal action of entering or remaining in the country was not actively theirs. Their parents made a choice that placed them in that position.

This is, of course, true. The corresponding idea, however, that there shouldn’t be consequences because of that, isn’t necessarily so. My husband and I like looking at the physical world as a reflection of spiritual truths. It doesn’t matter how unfair gravity seems, it is simply a reality. Gravity doesn’t care if an item thrown in the air is a ball or a priceless vase; they are both going to fall down. Tragically, a toddler who leans too far off a balcony ledge will fall just as assuredly as will a book. Knowing that truth allows us to take steps to prevent tragedy. We can supervise the toddler and make the ledge inaccessible. What we can’t do is explain that nothing bad should happen because the accident isn’t the fault of the young child. That isn’t how the real world works.

In my mind, making our children’s well-being heavily dependent on our behavior is one of the ways that God incentivizes us to be good parents. It is true physically for a pregnant woman whose abuse of alcohol or drugs drastically punishes her child. It is true for the mother who gives her child an advantage in life by reading and talking to him instead of handing him an iPad. And it is true when parents break the law. Knowing this truth encourages us to take steps to do well for our children.

A large number of illegal immigrants, I think it fair to say, broke the law in order to offer their children a better life. That is a desire that resonates in the heart of any parent. In many ways these illegal aliens are casualties themselves of a broken immigration and entitlement system that too easily allows and encourages entry by those who want to abuse and damage the United States. It doesn’t make enough demands on immigrants so that only those ready and able to work hard, who desire to adopt American values and to appreciate the gift of living in the United States are able to come. It makes it almost impossible to separate the people who most Americans would gladly welcome into their midsts and those who threaten the country’s continued existence. In conjunction with this, Americans no longer agree on what exactly are American values. Our shattered education system and loss of national morality makes it harder today for all immigrants to assimilate into a common culture. The immigration problem shines a light on just how shaky our national identity has become.

The fact remains, however, that these people did break the law and that, by definition, does affect their children. That is simply how the real world works. Claiming that the children are in this country illegally, “through no fault of their own,” is an emotional appeal, not a rational argument. When you hear the phrase repeated, it is an invitation to continue abandoning serious conversation about a gargantuan problem with tentacles that reach throughout our society. 

62 thoughts on “Through No Fault of Their Own”

  1. Marvin Calderon

    My father came illegally from El Salvador, a poor hardworking Christian man at 17 years old fleeing an attempted Communist overthrow during the Civil War. When he got here he met my mother who he knew from El Salvador and they started a family here. My father assimilated and is now an American citizen who owns a successful business. My family is all conservative and we respect this country but sadly due to how my parents entered this country we always have that stigma attached to us by other conservatives. It honestly hurts but my father did what any human in that situation would do and God has protected us throughout our lives. I pray that the immigration problem is fixed once and for all so that we can have a healthier and more wise system to deal with immigrants. Thank you Susan and God bless.

    1. I too pray for an immigration system that can distinguish between men like your father and those looking to harm this country, or at best, not help it.

  2. I am just catching up now on many of the comments. As for all the quotes of Bible verses, my husband and I have often explained that you can pick and choose verses to support many sides of most issues. We are not Abraham and our government isn’t God. The same God who accepted Abraham’s arguments also told the children of Israel to wipe out certain nations – man, women and children. We cannot decide to do that ourselves, but we can’t pretend to understand God’s bigger picture without acknowledging that those verses are also part of the picture.
    Tikva and some others read into my Musing that which I actually never said. I didn’t call for mass deportations though I think that mass citizenship is not the answer either. I am calling for a definition of what an American is and believe that the United States has every right to only allow people to become citizens if they want to be Americans, not if their goal is to subvert this country. I also think we cannot send a message that breaking the law gets you benefits that trying to follow the law and immigrate legally does not.

    I actually have a huge problem with illegal immigrants who went to college since colleges today largely teach anti-American values. The majority of college students, I believe, do not believe in many of the Bill of Rights. Why would we want to add more citizens who have been miseducated and propagandized? Is responsibility an American value or is entitlement? Shouldn’t we decide that before we can ask someone to adopt our values?

    That is one reason I think the argument has to be much broader and deeper. Hurling slogans or epithets doesn’t yield a fruitful discussion and neither do anecdotes. I don’t believe the press or most politicians actually want to have an honest discussion. Politicians may be wise not to do so because we citizens have not proved ourselves capable of handling complex ideas. All in all a murky puddle of mud.

    I stand by my claim that, “through no fault of their own,” is an emotional plea but not a meaningful idea.

    Thank you to all of you who wrote. It is ever so important that we can read views with which we disagree and be open to ideas that we may have not considered.

    1. Ironically, I agree with what you say about the colleges. But those people at least prove that they are somewhat functional, compear to so many nonfunctional Americans.
      You are calling for a definition what America is:
      I am afraid that definition that American colleges give for what American is is much louder than any definition you may give (even that I may prefer your definition)
      In a middle way, I do not think that 10.9 million people need to be hostages on your American identity crisis.

      1. I still wonder, Susan, considering all the scriptures that you fill that you need to consider, what you will do if my daughter comes to your field.

  3. Susan, as usual, you express yourself with dignity and kindness. I would word it differently:

    The children of bank robbers do not get to keep the loot. Legal residency and US citizenship are valuable assets. Assets obtained through criminality are seized. The families cannot claim that they are somehow entitled to the ill-gotten gains of their criminal parents.

    Regardless, the Dreamers are NOT happy with a path to citizenship as recently offered by President Trump. They believe that they are still victims of racism (which race, please tell me?) because if they are granted their demanded legal status, although undeserved, they should be able to bring in their criminal parents as well! They and their supporters appear to be ungrateful misfits. How RUDE to come to me and demand anything? Trespassers have NO rights other than basic human rights, which we do protect. We should humanely reunite them into the arms of their parents in the country of their citizenship. That way they would finally be legal and can come out of the shadows.

    No, you cannot convince me that these are the people we want to allow to stay in this country. They can return to the countries of their citizenship and re-apply. If they have NO bad record, including participating in demonstrations which blocked city streets or entrance to amusement parks, they may be considered for legal status. But NOT their law-breaking, disrespectful parents. Our prisons are overflowing with illegals and so is gang membership.

    And I am the daughter of 2 generations of stateless refugees and immigrants. I am also married to an immigrant. All legal. So don’t call me a “racist.” Or do call me one. I don’t care.

    1. What about the American Citizens who are separated from their parents – what not racist way you have to determine which American citizens have right to be united with their parents and wich American citizens don’t.

      It looks like you think that America is a victim of the illegal immigrants and has nothing to do with them – it is not so.
      When illegal immigrants start to come to my country double wall was build on the border for zero time. Do you think that America is not capable of doing that for 50 and more years? Af cores not –
      Illegal immigrants are very beneficial for Americans – they are chip workforce, working for pennies jobs that Americans do not want to do (because they can receive even more money from the government without any work). So when you go to a restaurant – the food there is cheaper because of the illegal immigrants, when you go to a hotel, or by a house, or food – every think is cheaper for you because of the work of the illegal immigrants, and the profit of American businessmen is higher because of the illegal immigrants – that is why you do not want to close the border. A lot of the immigrants came to work for the American farmers and with the decline in the economy, they were just kicked out. When people live in the same place for 4-5 years they start to plant roots – they build homes and they get married, they marry their sons and daughters, they have children and grandchildren. It is not easy to jump according to I want you I do not what you American game. I am afraid that America looks like a woman who dressed her self in a questionable way, behave in a questionable way, engaged herself in a questionable relationship, received payment from this relationship, gave questionable promises, and now pretends to have nothing to do with the fruit of her questionable behavior.

  4. Dear Susan,
    I am a huge fan of you and the rabbi, but today’s musing was very personal for me and promoted a lot of emotions in my family.I am an illegal immigrant and I have a daughter that will be affected by the DREAM act.
    I am surprised that you compare the immigration law with the law of gravity. They are not comparable. The immigration law is established by man, and sometimes evil men create evil laws.
    If you want to compare something to the law of gravity, try this:
    Lev. 19:34: The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.
    Lev. 14:28-29: At the end of every three years, bring all the tithes of that year’s produce and store it in your towns, so that the Levites (who have no allotment or inheritance of their own) and the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns may come and eat and be satisfied, and so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.
    Deut. 10: 17-19: “For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.”
    I thought, that you and the Rabbi believe that the Law of Moses brings the civilization, and if the laws of the country are closer to the law of Moses, the better society that country will create.
    There are 10.9 million illegal immigrants in USA. And 5.4 Jews.
    To uproot 10.9 million people from their homes (please note, that if they are here for 10-15 years they do not have another home – their children were born here and most likely are not literate in their native language) and to send them somewhere is evil. To keep them here without any rights, to be your slaves is evil too. And to ask not to be emotional about that is even more evil.
    In different times and different places in history, evil people created evil laws according to which the Jews become illegal and prosecuted. And those people did not want to hear emotional appeals and to enter into immigrational emotionalism, but they have a very rational argument – the jews broke the immigration law (which we created) -and they need to go.
    Mrs. Lapin,
    How it feels to be on the other site – now you can point your finger at my daughter and me and say – they broke the law – they need to go.
    Rabbi Lapin shared in his show that he came with visa in the US, and he overstayed his visa, and he became illegal. I assume that the immigration law of that time allowed him to adjust his status and to become legal again.
    The immigration law right now does not allow that.
    Why you are resisting against something that your family benefited from – you do not what other illegal immigrants to have the same opportunity that your husband had!!!
    Do you feel more special than others – maybe because you are American, or white, or jews – what exactly makes you more special?
    There is something that I wonder about: In Lev. 19: 9-10 is written: “When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen.Leave them for the poor and the foreigner. I am the Lord your God.”
    Mrs. Lapin,
    If my daughter comes to your field what you will do? – will you allow her to glean the edges; will you stone her to death; or maybe like a nice American housewife who does not want to get her hands dirty, you will write an article how she is dangerous for the American way of life, so others can do the stoning for you.
    Or maybe you can show her at least the same mercy that your God show to Your people in chapter 18:1-4 of Ezekiel: “The word of the Lord came to me: “What do you people mean by quoting this proverb about the land of Israel:‘The parents eat sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge? As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, you will no longer quote this proverb in Israel. For everyone belongs to me, the parent, as well as the child—both alike, belong to me. The one who sins is the one who will die.
    As I am writing this letter, I heard the President announcing that he is considering the Dreamers to receive status, but he wants to stop the immigration of their parents (actually, all the parents of American citizens who are foreigners). Please, don’t be emotional – we foreigners do not have the same feelings and we do not have the same love for our children or parents, like you, the legal one.
    I am wondering what my daughters, who are American citizens (I also have children who are American citizens ) need to do with me?
    To report me to the Government for deportation (like the good American boy Pavlik Morozov did), or to hide me on the attic, until better times come (this is what some people did with the jews when they consider that the laws against them were inhumane)?
    Did Rabbi Lapin hide his father in the attic?
    Or rabbi Lapin left him to die alone somewhere not in America, while his family (you and your children) live in America.
    Or he moved your family on the place where his father lives, to be able to help him in his old age?
    Mrs. Lapin
    I am happy for you and your family, that in this time and this place of the history you do not have the same problems as my family. You should thank God for the peace that you have and humbly pray for others, who are affected by evil laws to find their peace too.
    Mainly because of the real law of gravity.
    And if you do not know how to bring healing, at least do not put salt in wounds that so dip that will take generations to heal.
    My letter is already so long, so I did not have time to write about how the illegal immigrants are the new slaves of America – America does not to legalize them, because they will stop being slaves, but in the same time does not to stop new slaves coming – Is good for the legal citizens to have slaves.
    I did not have time to ask you why you are against DREAM act – it handpicks only educated immigrants with good work ethic. Requirements, which a lot of Americans can not cover. Please, note that illegal immigrants and conditional residents cannot live on the Government – only the legal citizens can.
    Dear Suzan,
    Your view on the Immigration problem is very short-sided. This is the most nice word that I was able to come with.
    I wonder, My God Whom I serve with all of my heart, and under whose wings I came to find refuge; who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes; Who defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you,
    under which law will judge me. And under which law will judge you.
    I hope that you were able to understand at least some of my heart – I am a mother and a wife and a daughter, just like you, and I love my family, just like you, I want the best for them, just like you, I teach them to work hard and to be good citizens, and I succeed in that, just like you.
    But my family is stretched around the world, and my heart is stretched in an excruciating pain, not like you.
    I am sorry that your heart is closed for my pain, and I am happy that 40-50 years ago when you had your immigration problems, somebody considered yours.
    With Hope and Love, and without any immigrational emotionalism, but with a lot of human emotions: Tikva

    1. Tikva, I appreciate your response and do want to write back. I am at a family event today, but I did want to approve it even if I can’t get back to you until later today or tomorrow.

  5. Yep. A tad harsh but that’s ok. Your sincere motive is clear. And your right, nice words ain’t gonna cut it. We’ve got to get down to the nitty gritty. That’s fair.

    Here’s my simplified nuts and bolts:

    These immigrant children have been here since a young age, have pursued educational opportunities, learned English and have had employment based on the policies that were in place. They have proven that they contribute positively to our society. America is there home. They should be allowed to stay.

    Many of us enjoy a promised land with “houses full of all good things, which (we) filled not, and wells digged, which (we) digged not, vineyards and olive trees, which (we) planted not.” (Deuteronomy 6:11). On the other hand, these 21st century “illegals” are willing to live in houses full of nothing except their own loved ones, dig their own wells and plant and tend our vineyards and olive trees.

    Immigrants might prove someday to be our greatest ally. Our soldiers have fought and continue to fight for freedom and opportunity for all throughout the world. Should we not also be willing to sacrifice and reach out to those with a strange accent that live next door (Lev 19:18)?

    “The quality of mercy is not strain’d,
    It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
    Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
    It blesseth him that gives and him that takes”

    Let these families stay.

    1. Dear Mike,
      I think you might consider doing a bit more research on the statistics of the so-called “Dreamers.” The media tends to exaggerate their educational achievement. Here are some facts to ponder:

      In an ongoing study called the National UnDACAmented Research Project, Harvard researcher Roberto G. Gonzalez has surveyed more than 2,000 self-identified DACA recipients about their education levels. He found that 22 percent have earned a bachelor’s degree, compared to about 32 percent of all Americans who hold a bachelor’s degree, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

      Gonzalez also found that 21 percent of DACA recipients have dropped out of high school, far above the national dropout rate of 5.9 percent, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

      Educational attainment worsens when the profile is expanded to include the entire group of illegal immigrants that would have been eligible for DACA. The New American Economy, a nonpartisan immigration reform group, analyzed 2013 – 2015 American Community Survey (ACS) data and found that 17 percent of 1.3 million DACA-eligible immigrants have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher.

  6. I have traveled to many many countries, 1st world and 3rd world. I am convinced that a major reason the USA does well is its general rule of law. The USA is one of the few countries where at 3 AM with no other traffic present, drivers will typically wait at a stop light until it turns green before proceeding. Without rule of law, there tends to be corruption, business is won on cronyism rather than merit, etc. and these things are a great drag on society, economically and socially. This is part of the reason that in many countries how well one does in life is so dependent on the prosperity of one’s birth family, i.e. there is little if any economic class mobility, unlike in the USA. My parents divorced when I was a toddler. We were on welfare and other charitable assistance in my early childhood. I am now in the top 10% of income earners. I have only felt limited by my own ambitions and talent, not the circumstances of my birth.

    The rule of law is a major part of American exceptionalism. The laws must be enforced or they mean nothing.

    1. Rabbi Daniel Lapin

      Dear David-
      thanks for writing; we feel sure that you are partially correct. Our success correlates very strongly with the wide acceptance, generally, of our rules and laws. Formal protection of property rights is another crucial leg. Indisputably we are now watching (and have been since 1962) the gradual erosion of these foundational social principles. Will the decline be arrested or are we watching a terminal plunge into oblivion? We pray not and are doing all we can through our work with the American Alliance of Jews and Christians ( to help make sure that our national graph starts trending upwards again.

  7. Is it just me or does anyone else see ‘BRAVE NEW WORLD/1984’ coming sooner than expected…..

    1. I think I’ve seen a number of people debating whether Huxley or Orwell had the more accurate picture.


    Thanks for a meaningful discussion. Please correct me if wrong, but the following appeal appears to be based on Biblical truths:

    “Any state legislation that only contains enforcement provisions is likely to fall short of the high moral standard of treating each other as children of God.

    “[We support] an approach where undocumented immigrants are allowed to square themselves with the law and continue to work without this necessarily leading to citizenship.

    “In furtherance of needed immigration reform in the United States…[we support] a balanced and civil approach to a challenging problem, fully consistent with its tradition of compassion, its reverence for family, and its commitment to law.”

    1. I hope this doesn’t come across as too harsh but I don’t see the point of these quotes and I don’t know where they are from. They are all nice words but I don’t think they mean anything. They are too broad. Everyone can read what they want into them. This is a problem that needs nuts and bolts solutions. I don’t pretend to have them, but nice words aren’t going to do the trick.

  9. The idea that punishing a person for illegal behavior by putting them in jail will deter others has been proven to be inaffective over these many decades. Even the Jewish Bible (Old Testament) states that punishing the children is not what G-d wants to do.
    Don’t punish the DACA children for their parents decisions. Think about this: we financially helped educate these children, why should their country of origin get the benefit of 800,000 educated people, we can use those educated, hard working people right here. The Babylonians got the benefit of the best Jewish educated people and their children for 70 years, and not all of the Jewish people returned to Isreal, making the Jewish people the worse for it.
    There is a lesson to be learned from studying the results of the various disporias G-d caused to happen to the Jewish people over time.

    1. I don’t think there is any discussion of putting people in jail, Linda. I think the Bible is very clear that children are affected by what their parents do. In terms of education, that is a discussion in itself whether we should be using tax dollars to educate people who are here illegally. The fact that we’re doing it doesn’t make it the best decision. It became part of the problem in establishing the idea that coming illegally was no big deal.

    2. Linda, I agree wholeheartedly with Ms. Susab’s Comment. I would add one more point. Aside from the question of children suffering the consequences of their parents’ actions, most of these people are now adults. As such, are they not responsible for their own actions? Shouldn’t they take responsibility for doing what they can to make their presence legal through existing procedures instead of playing perpetual victims? I ask this because I know and know of people who did just that once they understood they were not legally Americans. The people I know personally eventually became full fledged American citizens through available procedures. So, citizenship can be achieved without the emotional games politicians and media (who have their own not too altruistic reasons for doing so) have imposed on the American public.

  10. Whoever came up with the saying: “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire”, obviously has never been camping in the rain, nor has had to deal with untrue and unjust accusations.
    #autismmom, btdt

  11. My comments tend to not get published, but here I go again: What advice would you give a parent in a country with no opportunity? Would you really tell them to stay put because it’s illegal to come to the U.S.? I feel that you’d actually commend them for taking a risk to enrich their lives and the lives of their children–what a legacy! Laws are not moral. Slavery was the law of the land. It was illegal to hide a runaway slave. Would you recommend turning the slave over to the authorities because of that? And what do you do with verses like Ezekiel 47:22 in particular (but there are others: Deut. 27:19; Lev. 19:33-34; not to mention New Testament passages for your Christian readers, which includes me).

    1. Rabbi Daniel Lapin

      Dear Jacob–
      I wish I was able to write a slightly fuller response to your interesting letter, but for now, this is all my other responsibilities will allow. You see, the fact that I can admire a parent crossing a sea on a raft in order to bring a better life to his family in no way prevents me from also applauding the efforts of, say, Italy, in preventing that family from entering their country. I am not God. I don’t have to reconcile all the paradoxes of the universe. It is perfectly acceptable for me to determine just who I wish to admit to my home and for me to bar entry to all others. And from his point of view, the man with a starving child, who enters my home at midnight, without permission and running the risk of getting shot or arrested in order to steal food for his child, is doing what he has decided to do. I am in no way obliged to him. No Biblical verse (in the Hebrew Scriptures, which I know) dictates otherwise. I do have to devote some of my resources to those with less, but I get to choose which worthy recipient gains my largesse. Nobody can compel me to give food, money or anything else that belongs to me, to any specific recipient. I must give; but to whom is my prerogative. That I owe something to the illegal creeping across my border at midnight is an immoral proposition. Suffice it to say that your Biblical quotes are not applicable. The ‘stranger’, the ‘widow’, and the ‘orphan’ in your chosen verses refer only to those who are part of Israel and have fully accepted upon themselves all the laws of Moses and Israel. The notion that a Sumerian, a Jebusite, or a Canaanite could simply cross the border into the Jewish commonwealth and enjoy its benefits is utterly without foundation. I am sorry that your comments tend not to be published but we were more than happy to publish them. And respond to them as best we can.

      1. my comment didnt get published today but your reply here Teacher takes all the sting away!…. every foolish secular progressive and his brother are using those Scriptures to further their case on immigration….

  12. Susan,
    Thank you again for such a well thought out and clearly written muse. I can’t wait to share it with my grown (and progressively brain washed college educated) children, husband, family and friends! I am a new “fan” and look forward to your next writing.

    1. Welcome aboard, Shaun. You are ahead of the game if your college educated children will have a conversation and cordially exchange ideas with you. The goal isn’t necessarily to convince each other, but to broaden and sharpen the thought process.

  13. Edward Rubinstein

    Dear Susan,
    How did you get to be so wise? You and your husband are such a breath of fresh air. If only it could be mandated for everyone to listen to your wisdom. Thank you.

    I’ve posted your column on my FB page, and with any luck a couple of people who wouldn’t be exposed to you will read it.

    1. Now that’s a loaded question. I make plenty of mistakes, but I hope I learn from them. Whatever wisdom I have comes from studying and attempting to understand God’s message to us.

  14. I would love to hear you expand your thoughts on “no fault of their own”. It is true that children must live with the consequences of their parent’s decisions. At what point should society be a safety net for children? Whether the kids are here illegaly, or the kids aren’t receiving immunizations, this (society’s role in parenting) is a growing question. We don’t want the state to have veto power on parental beliefs, but where do you draw the line when parents put kids at risk?

    1. That’s a great question, Phil and one all societies struggle with. Clearly, I can’t answer it in this forum, but I think it helps in this issue (as well as most others) to realize that we humans cannot get perfection, we can only aim for the best we can do and accept that there will always be some people who lost out by whatever we (or our government representatives) decide.

  15. I agree with you Susan. I would also take it one step further. All families are dysfunctional, some more than others, but all have imperfect people in them. I remember telling a psychotherapist years ago that it was not my fault that I had emotional problems, but I was the one who was going to have to fix them. At some point, we all have to accept the fact that the baton has been transferred and we are now responsible for fixing what can be fixed and improving what we can improve before we pass the baton.

  16. Hi everyone – I could not help but think of how our Native American Nations (over 500) look at who the true immigrants are and were in US past and present history. As a nation of “Laws,” isn’t it ironic that our government has broken every Treaty (Law) made with the Tribes – and continues to do so in present day history? Treaties are the supreme law of the land according to the US Constitution. Laws and Treaties do not seem to apply for Native Americans – the host people of this land. With much respect, I don’t understand how the descendants of those who immigrated here and were given the chance themselves for the American Dream, cannot identify with these families. Families historically, were torn apart because of slavery and the government run Indian Education Boarding School experiments. Families are being torn apart now through immigration laws. Where is life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for them? Do the words at the Statue of Liberty, “give me your poor, your wretched… ” mean anything? Why is it accepted for laws and covenants to be broken in the Nation to Nation relationship between our government and our tribes – but a different story regarding the dreamers..these are just some of my thoughts regarding this issue…with much respect.

    1. Roxanne, the part of history you cite of constant broken treaties is an embarrassing part of our history. Slavery is another part. We can’t change the past. All we can do is try to make correct decisions in the present.

      1. Dear Susan,
        Like Roxanne, I remember that unless you are a Native North or Central American, then we are all immigrants to this part of the world. I’m glad she raised the point that many who now advocate the rule of law, turn a blind eye to the neglect of the treaties that were made with Native Americans.

        Susan, I also agree with you that, “Claiming that the children are in this country illegally, “through no fault of their own,” is an emotional appeal, not a rational argument.”. But I also remember that in Genesis 18, Abraham interceded with the Lord when told He was on his way to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah.

        But Abraham stood yet before the LORD. And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? And the LORD said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes. (Genesis 18 Verses 22-26). Abraham’s appeal was emotional not rational.

        If there are 50 righteous among the “Dreamers”, then it seems Abraham –as just as they come- would ask that they all be spared. He would go further than I would, but I am nothing but dust, while on the contrary, Abraham is the friend of God. The vast majority of the “Dreamers” grew up in America and are all about “mom and apple pie”. I would say yes, indeed, kick out the criminals, but do not destroy the wicked with righteous.

        St. Paul wrote the following:

        If I shall speak with every human and Angelic language and have no love in me, I shall be clanging brass or a noise-making cymbal. And if I have prophecy, and I know all mysteries and all knowledge and if I have all faith so that I may remove mountains, and I have no love in me, I would be nothing. And if I should feed everything that I have to the poor, and if I hand over my body to be burned up and I have no love in me, I gain nothing.
        Love is patient and sweet; love does not envy; love is not upset neither puffed up.
        Love does not commit what is shameful, neither does it seek its own; it is not provoked, neither does it entertain evil thoughts,
        Rejoices not in evil, but rejoices in the truth, Endures all things, believes all things, hopes all, bears all.
        Love never fails; for prophecies shall cease, tongues shall be silenced and knowledge will be nothing; For we know partially and we prophesy partially, But when perfection shall come, then that which is partial shall be nothing.
        When I was a child, I was speaking as a child, I was led as a child, I was thinking as a child, but when I became a man, I ceased these childish things. Now we see as in a mirror, in an allegory, but then face-to-face. Now I know partially, but then I shall know as I am known. For there are these three things that endure: Faith, Hope and Love, but the greatest of these is Love. (1 Corinthians, Chapter 13)

        Yes, it is emotional, but my faith tells that we should show love to the “Dreamers”.

        Susan, kindest regards and all of God’s love and blessings.

  17. I’ve often wondered if people who wouldn’t fight to save their country from corruption an despotism would fight to save ours. Obviously, they don’t understand our values or they wouldn’t violate our laws to get here.

    Legal immigrants have been a great benefit to our country. What positive contributions have illegal immigrants made?

    1. Gordy, individual illegal immigrants have certainly made contributions. One of the difficulties is creating a method to deal with large numbers of people. Each person has his or her own story and in a perfect world we could look at each person, one at a time. But we can’t. Part of the question is looking at those waiting to immigrate legally and discriminating between those who want to be American and those who just want to be takers. We need to fix our legal immigration problem to solve the illegal problem.


    Miss Susan, As usual you have provided a clear and concise analysis of the problem. I am of the opinion that a clear path to legal status needs to be established. These, I do not know what to call them- people seems cold, most are too old to be considered children, are they really aliens as we think of the term, I guess undocumented persons of foreign extraction seems as good as any.
    The basic problem is that they are undocumented. We have no handle on who they are, where they are, or even where they are from originally. While most are from the Spanish speaking areas of the Americas, I have heard if at least one young man of Irish decent, brought to this country at age 12 and who overstayed his original, legal visa, living with, I believe his uncle in the North East. Recently arrested on a charge later dropped he is being held for deportation at this time.
    As with all undocumented persons, registration is the first step. Once you know the actual magnitude of the problem you can devise a workable solution.
    Are all of the “Dreamers” pure and innocent? I would say no, the percentage probably reflects the good/ bad make up of other allian groups. Certainly no one would argue that the lawless among the group be allowed to stay in this Country.
    Once you have a voluntary list of the “Dreamers” you can start a process to allow for the legal assimilation of them into the citizenry. I say voluntary because it demonstrates a willingness to obey the law.
    One who is unwilling to amend himself to the laws of his adopted country has no place there.
    I feel that his would be a reasonable blueprint for the other immigrants who have availed themselves of the fruits and gifts of the great country of ours.
    What is the point of borders, and immigration control, and evern visas and passports if anyone can squat here, and after a time establish an entitlement or residency with out demonstrating the most basic adherence to our laws, rules and regulations?
    Yes it is hard to tear a mother away from her citizen children, It is hard to send someone who has known no other life than the one he has made here away. But in another context it happens everyday. Mothers and fathers, grandparents and even children are ripped from each others arms and sent to prison everyday in this country, for failure to obey the LAW.
    On the other hand I know many undocumented workers who do a wonderful job of fitting in. I have friends in the illegal community that I would hare to see hurt by forcible deportation. Many are contributing their labor and will to make America what she is.
    They need to have a chance to validate their status, but not by way of a blanket amnesty.
    Oh well, old man rambling again.
    Fair seas and following wind to you and the Rabbi.
    Bil Brower

  19. Excellent musing, Susan. I heard somewhere (maybe it was here) that people think Emma Lazarus’ poem inscribed on the Statue Of Liberty is our legal policy on immigration. Would that it were, but, no, it’s not the case. My grandma and her mother and siblings came from Mexico over 100 years ago, but that was different for two reasons: my great-grandfather was an American doctor and going across the border was a different issue than now.

  20. As a software engineer part of my job is to make really complicated stuff look easy and simple. You take it to the level of genius. I know you’re not just tubing down the river of life with no concern for the haystacks, water-falls, boulders, and floating debris but, your certitude and insight can make it seem that way to the rest of us. Your personal struggles and trials seem to us like the swan floating across a still pond. You and the Rabbi are real treasures.

  21. I hope the President and Congress read your musings because this one might clear up some foggy, emotional thinking on this issue and start them looking at it as “just the facts, Ma’am”. to borrow a famous line from the old Dragnet show. Unfortunately, I think emotional thinking has gone a long way to getting the current crop of so-called.Dreamers what they want. My hope is that the President stands firm that we have a wall, where appropriate, end chain migration, and the Visa lottery before anything else goes into effect. So then my question becomes, what is your vision for how we will integrate all these people into our American society? Right now most of these illegal immigrants making an appearance on the news seem more like spoiled brats, thugs and bullies than anything else.

  22. Dear Susan, it is so blatantly obvious that these three things you stated, “the immigration problem shines a light on just how shaky our national identity has become”, “Americans no longer agree on what exactly are American values,” and “Our shattered education system and loss of national morality makes it harder today for all immigrants to assimilate into a common culture,” are staring us all in the face like bright rays of light. Sickeningly, we don’t like what the light is revealing to us.

    There is no doubt about it, the citizens of the United States are laboring through the pain and suffering of an identity crisis. And it is a National identity crisis. Maybe we should look at this from another point of view to get better clarity and understanding on the immigration problem issues. If we were to ask and then answer this question… what is the cause and effect? In other words, what’s causing the problems and how do we correct them? Is the identity crisis a direct affect of the immigration problem? Is the identity crisis a direct affect of the moral depravity, education (indoctrination) system failures, societal failures, financial failures, etc.? I think most people would answer these questions with a resounding YES.

    Your headline, “Through no fault of their own,” somehow sneakingly conjures up a sense of guilt I think for all bible believing Jews and Christians alike. In studying the scriptures, both old and new testaments, it seems to be God’s will to allow man to choose what man wants and desires whether that choice be good or bad. I don’t believe that bible believing Jews and Christians purposely chose the identity crisis and resulting problems we face today. But I do know that for the most part the bible believing community have failed miserably in obeying God’s commands. Certainly not on purpose. It’s not so much and act of commission as it is an act of omission. Like you said, it’s like the physical law of gravity, the spiritual laws that govern us will work whether we fail through acts of commission, acts of omission, indifference, apathy, lethargy, lassitude are or just plain complicit in the evils that plague America today.

    Father Abraham, the father of the faith, lived his life teaching the ways of God and making disciples. I wholeheartedly stand with you and your husband in support of what you are doing to teach and instruct the Word of God to all men.

  23. Susan,
    Brilliant as usual.
    DACA is just another slight of hand- alphabet soup- where we see the emotional sounding words, but ignore the reality of the actual law. What we are SUPPOSED to see is a doe’y-eyed “Dora the Explorer” and NOT see (or notice) the reality of MS-13 or welfare fraud or that we are NOT getting Doctors and Engineers. We are ACTUALLY getting the uneducated poor. But you must realize that that is exactly what our country wants! We SAY “don’t come here!”. But we continue to vote for the politician who enables the situation. We continue to go to the restaurant that hires them. And when we need our lawn mowed or our house painted or our house cleaned or a babysitter,,,,,,,, So we don’t ACTUALLY MEAN the words.
    And I WILL say this, I don’t blame the illegals. This could be solved tomorrow by actually enforcing the laws we already have. But, that would be just too easy! Get on your politicians’ case! But that would be too easy!
    We ARE in a dire situation. The EVIDENCE is, that we are flooding the country with people from all over the world who have ZERO interest in the “american way” or even becoming “american”. So what that mean’s, in reality is, Whatever the problems were in their country. They will bring here. Prior to the 1960s people came here from all over the world to be “American”. To fit in. To work hard and succeed. That is no longer the case. NO ONE that I know of doesn’t want people to come here LEGALLY!!!
    But unless we get real and FORCE our politicians ( who control the bureaucracy ) to follow the laws, then HISTORICALLY we are doomed. Not negativity, just historical fact. Until we do OUR PART, this will continue.
    God always moves on your behalf. But YOU ALWAYS have a part also!

    God Bless You!

  24. “through no fault of their own, is an emotional appeal, not a rational argument”.
    That is our problem! How to argue against this emotionalism. We are called cruel and heartless. They “care about people”, we don’t. Then they vote their feelings. And, subsequently use our money destructively. Frustrating.

    1. Michael, this, of course, is a problem on almost all issues of the day. Rational debate and discussion has largely disappeared. In many universities it isn’t even accepted as something worth having.

    2. I agreed, Susan made her point very clear. It’s very easy to be a back seat driver. How many of you in America have gone to bed starving with no food to eat. Hurricane Katrina blacks and whites broke into stores to survive after three days of no water and food. Desperate circumstances requires desperate actions. Until you have been there in the parents shoes, don’t be too quick to pass judgment

    1. Rabbi Daniel Lapin

      Hello Judith
      Susan had actually written much more on this, all of which was compelling. But we decided it was not really suitable for general publication. But I am sure she’ll share it in due course.

  25. I agree that the parents did break the law. But another law did allow the children to stay. If you now change the law – it should be from here forward – not retroactive.

    1. I’m not sure it was a law, Ron, as much as an executive order. I think that if the proper controls were in place, there is room to let most Dreamers stay. But when something is a political football issue, it becomes difficult to acknowledge both sides.

      1. It was not a law but an UNCONSTITUTIONAL order by Obama. Obama even recognized and admitted that he was acting unconstitutionally in granting a whole class of people “deferred action,” rather than leading Congress to amend our immigration laws. Thus Pres. Trump correctly stopped the order and gave it to Congress, where it belongs. It was truly unconscionable for Obama to play with the lives of young people the way he did just to set a political trap and give Democrats an issue to campaign on. Luckily, most Americans are seeing through this for what it is. And the behavior and attitudes of many of the so-called Dreamers have not endeared them to us in any way. In fact, I personally want them ALL deported (with perhaps the exception of the only 900 – yes, just 900 out of millions – of them serving honorably in the US military).

  26. Absolute valid points. If I were a parent raising children and decided to rob a bank, should we say, “do not put that mother in jail because it would hurt the children because, through no fault of their own the mother robbed a bank”. Silliness indeed. Decisions a parent makes, good or bad, effect a child they are raising. Some say, why would you separate these kids (who are now grown adults) from the nation they have always known as home, how can we separate them from their (illegal) parents? It goes on and on. Until laws are changed, the law is the law and I personally believe the “dreamers” and their illegal parents should be deported, no matter how much “good” they have brought to this society. They can go back and apply for legal entry using their history as evidence that they will be an asset to our society. This will send a clear message to future would be illegals crossing the border or over staying their visas that America is indeed a nation of laws.

    1. Linda, I think one major point is that there does have to be a clear message moving forward and it cannot be, break the law and down the road you’ll be o.k.

    2. I’ve said the exact same thing in my arguments with liberals who start down this emotional appeal. What they would never admit in their home they have no problem when it comes to their country. They don’t mind others paying the price for their emotional security like the young woman in San Francisco who was gun down by an illegal.

      1. Anecdotes on all sides of the issue exert emotional pull. They are not a good way to make public decisions.

  27. Bless you for always having such wonderful clarity on the issues of the day. You’re a blessing!

Comments are closed.

Shopping Cart