Dear Editor,

Is choosing to prioritize us over them an acceptable moral choice or does it matter?

This is a issue that underlines refugees from war, violence, poverty and growing up in America without being accepted as American. The late Jonathan Sacks, the former chief rabbi of Britain, wrote, “To insist that being loved entails that others be unloved is to fail to understand love itself.” To me this is the essence of peace, human morality and American ideals.

If we truly are going to find peace, I don’t believe it will be by building walls to human suffering as we have tried on our southern border and make excuses. It seems to me, we have chosen enforcement and stereotyping to hear, in my mind, the truth that Rabbi Sacks stated above. If we understood love and humanity, we would adequately staff the border with people who can do the medical screening, give the medical care to make them and others safe, and offer a hand up rather than a hand down when appropriate. It also means to me find space for them in this country and for Afghanistans who are sitting in military base. The idea that they don’t speak English is no different than many of the immigrants from Europe and Asia. They speak English within a generation. In short, it does matter how we choose to understand love and morality.

Gilbert Engel