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Caring and Sharing - the Lost Art of Compassion

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When she saw a stray dog on the street, she would bring it home until such time as we could locate the owner(s). When friends needed assistance she was first in line to offer a helping hand.

She made our home available to anyone and everyone that needed a temporary place to stay, a hot meal or the company of people that cared.

Her favorite verse was "do unto others as you would have others do unto you," and that saying was drilled into our heads from the time we were knee-high to a duck.  

We were taught that kindness wasn't a choice, it was a command. It wasn't something you considered doing; it was an automatic reaction that came straight from the heart.

My grandparents came over on the boat from Italy, in fact, they met on the boat and were married in the U.S. and if success is measured in terms of dollars and cents, they became very successful in this country. Yesterday I received an e-mail regarding the status of an illegal immigrant and I started to wonder about my own grandparents. Were they in this country legally? How would I know? Who would I ask? Where would I go to find out? Even though I saw them each and every weekend for Sunday dinner when I was growing up, the subject of their legitimacy never came up.

The e-mail I received yesterday made me start thinking about a lot of things. The attachment to the e-mail was a very short video covering the testimony of a hospital administrator in the State of Florida. What legislative body she was testifying before wasn't indicated, nor was the date of the testimony. It was obvious this particular testimony was the only information anyone wanted the viewer to see/hear.

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Basically, the Florida hospital had taken care of an illegal immigrant from the country of Guatemala for a period of almost three years at a cost of $1.5 million dollars. The hospital requested and received permission from the court to physically remove the patient from the hospital and send him back to Guatemala. The purpose of the e-mail video is to get people riled up over illegal immigrants. It basically states our rising health-care costs are totally due to caring for illegals, which simply isn't true, but that's a subject for another day.

When I was listening to the video I wondered why this person had been hospitalized for a period of almost three consecutive years, and why the total cost was so low. I've been in the hospital a few times lately and $1,100/day barely gets you a bed, much less sheets and a pillow.  

A little research into the subject brought more questions than answers.

On April 5, 2000 a drunken Donald Flewellen, age 52, driving on a revoked license, borrowed a neighbor's vehicle and was involved in a hit-and-run accident in Fort Pierce, Florida. This accident resulted in two deaths and left Luis Jimenez, our Guatemalan illegal, a paraplegic with brain injuries. At the time of the accident, Flewellen had only been out of jail for four months for his previous conviction of two counts of DUI manslaughter.

It appears Luis Jimenez was approximately 28-years-old at the time of the accident and in his early 30's when the Florida court approved his return to Guatemala, where it appears he is now residing in a small mountain village, in a one-room house, with his mother.

I'm curious as to how Americans would feel if the situation was reversed. What would happen if one of our youngsters was in a foreign country, legally or illegally, and suffered brain damage, and became a paraplegic at the hands of a foreigner, a foreigner who should have been in prison? What would you feel like if you were a mother and had your son returned to you, in the condition Luis Jimenez is in, and were expected to care for him for the rest of his life without any assistance or funds to provide assistance?

My pet peeve is e-mails that take a stand on a subject, without providing all the facts. The bottom line on this particular subject is -- had the family of Luis Jimenez appealed the court decision on this case, Jimenez would still be in this country, and we would be forced to provide him with medical care. Decisions regarding the status of illegals are Federal, Not State, and State courts simply do not have the authority to remove individuals from this country whether they are here legally or illegally.

Over and over again, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that illegal immigrants have the same constitutional rights as U.S. citizens and, until that is changed, federal law prevails. See Plyler v. Doe, Wong Wing v. United States, and Yick Wo v. Hopkins.

Aside from the legal aspect is the moral aspect and morally, this country caused the injuries to this young man and it is our obligation to care for his needs.

"Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities" ~ François-Marie Arouet. (A condensed translation of the 1765 quote by French writer [pen name] Voltaire)

 

Richard E Walrath and Patricia L Johnson are co-owners of the Articles and Answers News and Information sites.

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