Opinion: Just remember, the women and children crossing the border are people needing help

We opened our arms to Katrina victims

We found this column by Deanna Watson, editor of the Times Record News in Wichita Falls,Texas, thought-provoking and wanted to share it with DecodeDC readers.

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After Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast region in 2005, scores of displaced residents found refuge all over Texas, including my hometown, Wichita Falls.

The compassion for these homeless, hopeless individuals flooded the area and embraced them with Christ-like charity.

In fact, some 70 Gulf Coast refugees found a temporary home-sweet-home at a local vacant nursing home, appropriately named Compassion Center.

Civic leaders, pastors, volunteers and elected officials here rallied around these desperate families whose lives were tossed into the air by Mother Nature.

We gave them a soft place to land. That’s what we do here. I’ve said this countless times. When someone is in need, Wichita Falls seems to answer the call.

Not everyone treated to our boundless hospitality reacted graciously. That happens. But we managed to dismiss the acts of one bad apple to continue acts of charity for the grateful thousands.

Not everyone in Wichita Falls treated these strangers with open arms. That happens, too. Perhaps they only saw bad apples.

Our hospitality, for the most part, made such an impression that some refugees elected to call Wichita Falls home-permanent-home.

A year after the storm, my newspaper profiled the Waldon family, which had some 40 members displaced by Katrina.

All sought refuge here.

All found temporary housing.

All found jobs.

And they stayed.

Wichita Falls got more back than we ever gave. You give never knowing if the equation will be balanced, much less in your favor.

I think about our community’s boundless compassion as I watch the growing hostility surrounding the recent flood of immigrants, mostly women and young children, being transported from the Texas border to a containment center in Murrieta, Calif.

By no means are the circumstances the same. The victims of Katrina were here legally; these recent arrivals are not. They’ve crossed into the United States through porous borders our government has not sealed. That needs to be addressed. Today.

These individuals are here seeking a better life. The American Dream or the Land of Entitlement. Pick your side.

At this point, though, they’re here, fleeing countries we boast of serving during missionary trips on spring break. We’ll gladly pass around Bibles on their soil, but when they land on ours, they’re handed anything but a kind word.

These are not American citizens. They should not be granted immediate access to all things American, even in this humanitarian crisis. Still, we should not spit on any of God’s children.

Deanna Watson can be reached by emailing watsond@timesrecordnews.com

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