Letter to the Editor: Remember Quincy’s history of being welcoming to groups seeking refuge

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During the winter of 1838-39, early Latter-day Saints — facing an extermination order and extreme persecution — fled Missouri and found refuge and hospitality in Quincy. | Photo courtesy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

I am writing in regard to the recent discussions among city leaders and community members regarding the possibility of buses or trains full of migrants arriving in Quincy.

Whether or not such a situation ever occurs, I’d like to remind our leaders and fellow community members of Quincy’s history of being a welcoming and hospitable community to groups seeking refuge.

The Quincy community opened their homes and community to 5,000 to 6,000 members of the Latter-Day Saints in 1838/1839 after the governor of Missouri threatened their lives if they didn’t leave the state. Quincy once again opened its homes and community before the Civil War, serving as stops along the Underground Railroad, ushering enslaved people north to freedom.

The Quincy community has undoubtedly saved many lives by welcoming those in need.

As decisions and plans are being made regarding migrants arriving in our community, please remember the legacy of Quincy. We help those in need. These migrants are in need. Many are seeking asylum, which means they are legally allowed to be here.

According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website, “To obtain asylum through the affirmative asylum process, you must be physically present in the United States. You may apply for asylum regardless of how you arrived in the United States or your current immigration status.”

They are escaping horrifying living situations in their home countries. They have heard the stories of the American Dream and have traveled thousands of miles to give themselves and their families a chance to have a better life in America.

I understand the resources in Quincy are limited. We are currently struggling with how to serve our growing unhoused population. However, Quincy can still be welcoming and friendly and provide them with the resources we do have until a permanent solution is found.

Please remember that the migrants and families who have made the dangerous journey to the United States want what is best for their families. They want a safe place to live, the opportunity to work and to provide for themselves and their families. These are all things Quincy residents want for our families as well.

We are all humans striving to improve our lives and our families’ lives.  The biggest difference between us and them is we were lucky to be born in the United States.

They were not.  

Tara Bealor
Quincy, Illinois

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