Opinion

Thinking locally on immigration

Maybe the best way to sort out the tumult and anger surrounding American immigrant and refugee policies is to begin at the local level and work up.

Marblehead residents are thinking globally by acting locally to aid Syrian refugees and the Lynnway’s newest business is opening up because its owner – an immigrant – says Lynn’s international population translates into a good business opportunity.

Rotary Club of Marblehead members have been interested for almost a year in helping to alleviate the pain and horror that has engulfed war-torn. Club members want to pack a shipping container with 800 boxes of supplies needed by Syrian refugees and ship the goods to a nonprofit group helping Syrians.

Rotary is not the only organization trying to reach around the globe to help people in need. SPUR, a Marblehead organization committed to doing good deeds is also pitching in.

In Lynn, B.D.’s owner Arthur Tuffaha sees a city where people who came from other nations and settled in Lynn need a place where they can buy quality furniture at reasonable prices. What could be more American than one person who emigrated to this country looking to prosper off money spent by other immigrants?

Lost in the outrage and protests over restricting access to the United States is the main reason for limiting access: National security. But tightening up rules on who comes in and who doesn’t is a plan that doesn’t prevent terrorism unless it is coupled with good foreign and domestic intelligence gathering efforts.

Terrorists and murderers of all stripes and nationalities, including Americans born in this country who served in the military, have climbed out of dark holes and killed innocent people. It’s every American’s job to report these threats to the proper authorities. It is also every American’s job to ensure everyone who wants to contribute to the nation’s betterment gets a chance to do so.

Arthur Tuffaha is doing his part in this equation by strengthening an economy that includes dollars spent by fellow immigrants.

Fear and hatred thrive on ignorance. Allowing people to stand up and be counted and to participate by spending their dollars and time in productive pursuits is best way to banish fear and hatred.

Rotary Club members don’t see a threat or a reason to be afraid when they talk about reaching out to people who are suffering. They see an opportunity to give to others, to help people in dire need and to show how real help begins with people in one community helping another if it’s two miles or 2,000 miles away.  

It’s a simple prescription and a truly American approach to resolving a complex problem.

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