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Mr. Cuccinelli, You Are Wrong

Updated: Jun 30, 2019


Mr. Cuccinelli, you are wrong to think that parents and children are dying on our Southern Border due to a lack of legislation.

As long as there have been parents, there have been people willing to take any risk, suffer any pain, grasp at any hope to provide their children with safety and security in the face of suffering. Innumerable parents have done so with nothing more than a whispered promise that life might be better for their children. They have put their children on trains, ships, and planes to send them to places where they could not follow. They have faced down oceans, desserts, and rivers if those are the things that stood between their children and safety. They have paid the ultimate price to try, just to try, to save their children.

Mr. Cuccinelli, you will never "fix the attractions of our asylum system" as long as there are parents who hope for a better life for their children. This goes beyond borders and laws; this drive to protect and provide for one's children is instinctual, base, and without reason. It is as old as parenthood itself and as rooted to the American Dream as the soil these parents hope to stand upon. There is no greater love than that of a parent fighting to protect his child, and no greater cruelty than that of a man who would mock and chastise that effort knowing his own children sleep soundly resting their heads upon the pillow of safety that another father is willing to die to give to his child.

Oscar Alberto Martínez is not the first parent willing to risk everything for his child's future; he is simply the latest. Parents boarded ships to get their children out of Europe and met with watery deaths. Parents passed their children off to strangers to protect them from Nazis and the Viet Cong. Parents loaded into makeshift rafts to escape communism. There is no man made law that can trump the natural law dictating to a parent that they must do whatever is necessary to protect their children.

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When [Cuccinelli was ] asked by CNN's Erin Burnett on Thursday whether he was concerned that the photo would become emblematic of the administration's immigration policy, Cuccinelli replied, "no in fact, just the opposite."

"The reason we have tragedies like that on the border is because those folks, that father didn't want to wait to go through the asylum process in the legal fashion, so decided to cross the river," Cuccinelli said of father Oscar Alberto Martínez and his daughter, 23-month-old Angie Valeria, whose bodies were found in the Rio Grande.

"And not only died, but his daughter died tragically as well," he added on "Erin Burnett OutFront." "Until we fix the attractions in our asylum system, people like that father and that child are going to continue to come through a dangerous trip."

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Historical Context: Pomona (1859) - On the April 28, 1859, the Pomona sank during its voyage from Liverpool, England to New York City. There were over 400 emigrants on board, many of whom were families with children, all of whom died. The bodies of victims were found washed up on shore in Ballyconigar, Ireland. Locals stripped the bodies of clothes and valuables, and then left them to rot on the beach.

William Nelson (1865) - On June 2, 1865, there was a fire onboard the William Nelson, and of the 550 passengers and crew aboard, only three lifeboats of survivors were recovered. The rest of the immigrants to America perished in the Atlantic Ocean.



Kindertransport/The One Thousand Children - Kindertransport helped 10,000 Jewish children escape the Nazis and flee to England between 1930-1940. The One Thousand Children evacuated 1400 Jewish children to America between November 1934 and May 1945. In both cases, these children were relinquished by their parents, many of whom died at the hands of the Nazis after helping their children escape.



8-year-old Josepha Salmon, arriving from Germany destined for the Dovercourt Bay camp near Harwich in December 1938. Fred Morley/Getty Images

Operation Babylift - As Saigon was falling, Vietnamese parents turned over 2,500 children to humanitarian organizations who would evacuate them to the US. On April 4, 1975 a plane carrying these children crashed killing 138 people on board. Still parents continued to try to get their children out of Vietnam an into America.



Mariel boatlift/1994 Cuban Raft Exodus - In 1980 and in 1994, Fidel Castro announced that Cubans who wanted to leave the island could do so. Desperate for a better life, the 1980 boatlift resulted in 125,000 Cubans seeking refuge in America. The 1994 exodus saw 35,000 Cubans risking their lives on makeshift rafts to escape across the water from Cuba to Florida.




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