Our nation of immigrants has been afraid of refugees before.
Jewish children with no home and, soon, no parents, were not really welcome in the United States during World War II when they were desperate to escape the Nazis.
"They told the foster mothers not to speak German or Yiddish at all. They wanted us Americanized, they didn't want us to talk to each either," said Herta Baitch, who was just the kind of child refugee that many Americans feared then and fear now.
This week 27 U.S. governors and Republican presidential candidates lined up to announce their rejection of Muslim refugees from Syria. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, R, even insisted that he would not allow a "3-year-old orphan's" entry.
Baitch was 7 when she arrived in this country - one of about 1,400 lucky children who made it to the United States at a time when we turned away at least one ship filled with hundreds of Jews running for their lives. For Baitch, 83, hearing the harsh tone of today's conversation about refugees hurts.