There is a very prevalent issue in our country today that is pulling on my heartstrings. Immigration. Now I realize there are two sides to this issue, but try putting yourself in their place. If I lived in a country where I couldn’t find work that paid enough to feed my family, my children could not get a good education, or we were living under a dictatorship with no freedom, I would be doing the same thing these poor people are doing… getting to the United States. I know that the proper way to achieve this is to go through the legal process, but if you are fleeing for your life, or there is little or no money to pay for this, what are you to do?

American people immigration is an illustration created by © doomkoMy life has been filled with the joy of knowing people from all over this world. As a child I spent a great deal of my time in the coalfields of West Virginia where my grandparents owned a grocery store/moving company and many of their customers were from Italy, Poland, Ireland, or Germany. These were good, hard-working, kind people who added a lot to the community. Once I was very ill and a kind gentleman from Germany made me a wooden cradle for my doll. I have never forgotten that.

When my parents divorced my mother rented an apartment for us to live in from a Greek family. They were very supportive of mother’s situation and understanding too, for I feel certain the rent wasn’t always on time.

Once a year here in Harrisonburg, Virginia we have a gathering for refugee/immigrants to welcome them to our community. It is a special evening that my daughter and I share, hearing the stories of why they have left their homeland and some of the stories would break your heart.

But the one incident that touched me like no other was recently when people were trying to come into the states from Mexico and the children were taken from their families. What has happened to our country that such a thing could be thought of, much less carried out, is beyond my comprehension.

Let us hope and pray that our values and goals will be revived and we can once again hold our heads up high to the rest of the world.

In honor of those seeking a better place to live I dedicate this poem:

Don’t Come!

Don’t come you tired, poor and hungry
Yearning to be free,
For our country isn’t exactly
What it used to be!

Gone are the days when we offered
Safety from oppression
And most of us are finding ourselves
In a state of deep depression.

For you see, I have known folks from far and wide
Who’ve come here to make their home.
But sadly we can’t take you now, though we bid you a fond adieu,
The torch doesn’t shine as brightly as it used to do.

So, best of luck you tired, poor and hungry
Yearning to be free.
You huddled masses aren’t as welcome
As you used to be.

For those of us who feel your pain
Those thoughts we do not share.
We know you just want safety
And a chance to breath free air.

Our prayers are with you and our hope is with you too,
That you will find the home you seek
And start your life anew!

Image: American people immigration is an illustration created by © doomko and licensed by at
Karen Alley

Karen Alley

Karen Rose Alley was born and reared in West Virginia but spent the better part of her life in Ashland,Kentucky and Penn Laird, Virginia. She enjoys reading, crafts, baking … especially banana bread. And of course, writing. She and her husband Oscar have been married 55 years and have three children and seven grandchildren.