In the late 1930s, a ship of Jewish immigrants from Europe arrived at a U.S. port, seeking asylum from the scourge of Germany. Because the U.S. was practicing a policy of isolationism at the time, those desperate people were turned away, only to return to Europe and the horrors of World War II and concentration camps.

Have we learned nothing in the past 80 years? While Trump and his ilk would like to portray people seeking asylum at our southern borders as gang members, drug runners and thieves, they are almost all frightened, beleaguered souls seeking freedom from terror and a better life. Among those so eager to be cruel, have they even once thought how brutal the lives of the asylum seekers must be to leave everything behind?

All they want is a chance. They aren't looking for handouts. They aren't lazy or shiftless. Ask farmers who have counted on migrant workers for years if those people are worthless. Small businesses have utilized Mexican and other Central American workers because they are loyal and appreciative and they work in brutal conditions every day just for a chance at opportunity for their families.

Adding to the horrors, the U.S. has committed a crime against humanity, ripping children away from their families, locking them away in cages, forcing small children to appear in a kangaroo court alone, and moving the children around the country to unknown locations in the dark of night. This is a shameful time in American history, dangerously close to slavery, the atrocities committed on Native Americans, and internment camps. This is a sick, sadistic chapter. We've lost the respect of the free world. What have we become?

Ellen M. Haslam, West Jordan