The migrants on the bridge: A follow-up


Anyone who casually follows the news knows that on March 26, a 984-foot container ship sailing under a Singaporean flag smashed into the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, sending it into the Patapsco River.

The ship is massive. Standing on its end, it would almost reach the top of the Eiffel Tower or rise to almost two-thirds of New York City’s Empire State Building. The ship is called the Dali, named for Spain’s most famous surrealist artist, Salvador Dalí. The collision itself seems surreal: After departing from the Port of Baltimore, the crew issued a mayday call that the vessel lost power, and they could no longer steer the ship, even though the bridge had proper clearance for enormous container ships. It hit a pier, and that was it.

On impact, the police had enough time to stop traffic, but could not reach the top of the bridge to warn the eight construction workers on duty. They plunged into the river with the debris. Two were rescued; six died. Attention has focused on the financial losses to Baltimore and the nation because of the importance and size of the port in the American economy, and on how long it will take to clear the wreckage and rebuild the bridge.

But who were the six workers who died?

The Baltimore Sun recently ran a front-page lead story on the lives of these men. All six who died were from Mexico or Central America: Their names were Dorlian Ronial Castillo Cabrera. Alejandro Hernandez Fuentes. Carlos Hernandez. Miguel Luna. José Mynor López, and Maynor Suazo Sandoval. They supported their families in Baltimore. They supported their families in their homelands. But they remained in the shadows because of what the Sun calls their “murky” immigration status, “subject to political vagaries.”

In early April, I argued in these pages that deeply researched studies definitively prove that increased immigration is critical to the growth and stability of the nation’s economic wellbeing. The Sun story points out two key elements: Americans want immigrants in the labor force, but have no interest in allowing them to become American citizens.

Let’s be clear about two things: First, we’re addressing legal immigration along with strong border security; and second, Congress, not the president of the United States, has the sole role to legislate on these matters. The U.S. Constitution states that “Congress shall have the power … to establish a uniform rule of naturalization,” period. The mess at the Southern border lies principally with Congress.

The last time Congress made significant steps to rationalize the immigration system was nearly 40 years ago. Many people who came from Latin America in the 1980s benefited from President Ronald Reagan’s 1986 immigration reform bill. Others have not had that advantage, but they seek a better life to escape violence, crime, and corruption in their homelands. 

The reason is simple but frustrating. Immigration reform has miserably failed to pass Congress since Ronald Reagan was president. In 2006, the late Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy worked with the late Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain to overhaul the system. It came to nothing. President George W. Bush, working with Senators McCain and Lindsay Graham (R-SC), tried again in 2007, but to no avail.

Just this past February, the very conservative Republican Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma led a bipartisan group in the Senate in an effort to strengthen border security and find pathways to citizenship for undocumented migrants. It failed miserably: the Washington Post declared that Congress was “paralyzed” on immigration issues.

In an interview with the Sun, Tom Perez, a White House senior advisor and a former U.S. secretary of Labor, noted that immigrants “are building America, quite literally. They’re building bridges, they’re building roads, they’re building buildings. And they don’t have that bridge to citizenship yet, even though they can work, and they’ve been here for 30 years, and their kids are U.S. citizens.”

A friend of one of the construction workers who died put it simply: “Nobody wants to say it, but we are the workforce that this country needs. For any job, because there we are. We never say no.” So who are these people? On the Island, they are construction and landscape workers, teachers, business entrepreneurs, physicians, nurses, and on and on. They are our neighbors.

Congress can fix this system, but has dismally failed. Meantime, the very people that we need are forced to remain in the shadows, subject to a dysfunctional system that has failed under every presidential administration since President Reagan actually did something about it.


Jack Fruchtman lives in Aquinnah. His paternal grandfather immigrated to the U.S. in the early 20th century from what is today Lviv, Ukraine.


  1. A failed immigration policy carried on for years does not justify and porous border that allows millions in illegally. It is sophistry to suggest that all of this invasion is the result of Congress sitting on its hands. Yes we dont have a comprehensive system but we are letting in aimlessly and yes many will add to our labor supply but many will indulge in mischief.

    • Andy, how many illegals came in under Trump?
      Under Biden, so far?
      How have the illegals impacted you?

    • Andrew, you said that many immigrants “will indulge in mischief.”
      You know this because…? Perhaps our ancestors indulged
      in mischief? We have family histories showing how awful
      our immigrant ancestors were?

      • Mary, do read any news other than what transpires in the bubble of MV? There is a big world out there and let me enlighten you that migrants are doing more than mischief

        • “migrants are doing more than mischief”
          At a higher rate than our native born?
          What year did migrants become a “bad thing” for America?

      • Mary I cannot believe you asked this question. Do you really think all illegals are fine upstanding people willing to give rather than take. Many are, and many are not. You ask how to solve the problem. I am a legal immigrant and it took me 5 years after arriving to become a citizen. We filled out paperwork, we filed requests, we took tests and we waited for quotas. Meanwhile our country protected its borders and followed laws.

    • Can you direct me to a reliable source with illegal immigration by the month over the last eight years?
      The crime rate for natural born citizens, immigrants, and illegals?

  2. Interesting that Keller brayed and ranted on the Charlottesville incident a couple of years ago but is silent on the anti semitic protests at Columbia University.

    • Andy, I’m astounded by what is taking place in NYC and throughout the country but to see in London a Bobby call out someone being openly Jewish as offensive to protesters is beyond comprehension. Never in my life would I think that such vile history would repeat itself. We have learned nothing from our past. I fear the worst is yet to come.

      And for this who don’t know what takes place off the the bubble known as MV tale a look at what was once a revered academic institution. Jewish students being advised to leave.

      • 7.3 mm under Biden plus another 1.3 million in cooked books. Illegals dont impact me per se but it causes all manner of problems for the country in extra costs, greater deficits crime and drugs. Of course many illegals ill be law abiding in the USA but many wont. My name is Andrew but Keller uses andy in order to slip by censorship. Yep anti semitism is 3000 years old and the no nothings in Ivy schools continue to know nothing

        • Mr. Engleman, understood. Andrew it is and my apologies for the offense. Thank you for respectfully correcting me.

      • Carl, Hitler was a right wing Fascist. Have you happened to read the book, Fascism, A Warning by Madeleine Albright? She lived through an uncle being murdered in Czechoslovakia. You are right to be concerned.

    • andy–I am not silent on this topic. While some people are actually
      anti semitic, most of the protesters are speaking up about
      what they perceive as genocide.
      If not genocide, at the very least war crimes on a scale not
      seen since the Holocaust. We have a convenient word anytime
      anyone criticizes the state of Israel.
      We have 2 words for those who deny the realities of the situation in Gaza
      “wilfully ignorant”
      Everyday there are reports of horrendous crimes being committed
      by the IDF in Gaza. Just yesterday, a mass grave with over
      200 people was discovered on the grounds of the Nassir medical
      complex after the IDF withdrew from it,Mass%20graves%20found%20at%20southern%20Gaza%20hospital%20raided%20by%20Israeli,recent%20withdrawal%20from%20the%20area.
      Last week a mob of Israeli settlers pillaged, murdered at least one Palestinian
      burned a village and stole sheep in a clear case of “blood libel”,forces%20or%20settlers%2C%20it%20said.
      How can any conscious person condone that kind of violence ?
      If one does not object, one is complacent .
      The elite universities of this country and their students
      have been the moral compass of this country for decades.
      They protested the Vietnam war, The unprovoked invasion
      of Iraq, racial discrimination the unprovoked invasion
      of Ukraine, and now the wanton vengeful slaughter and
      deliberate starvation of tens of thousands of innocent civilians.
      It is not anti semitic to oppose what one can justifiably
      call genocide. I oppose it no matter who is doing it.
      I have some sense of morality and what is right and wrong.
      The terrorist of Oct 6 were wrong, the terror being inflicted
      on the people of Gaza is wrong, and to condone either
      is wrong. And yes, I still think that a bunch of white
      guys carrying torches and racist flags
      in Charlottesville while chanting “jews will not replace us”
      was wrong– and true antisemitism
      Am I being clear enough for you ?

      • Actually, most of the protesters are PRO genocide… of Jews. Look at their signs. Listen to their chants. Jewish students are being threatened and harassed… for being Jewish. How is that okay?

        Funny that Florida has no such problem. People have the right to peacefully protest because this is America, but anyone who makes it unsafe for certain minority groups of students, be they Jewish or gay or Black, to attend class and walk freely on campus, are expelled – in Florida where the rule of law is respected. There’s no rule of law on those nyc campuses where things are growing more violent every day. NYU and Barnard and Columbia administration can’t even decide if October 7th was a genocidal war crime or if Hamas is a terrorist organization. Burning a draft card in 1970 was a big difference from burning an ADL membership card today. It’s a signal of immorality not to know the difference, especially in someone who claimed to be a Zionist. Anti Zionism is anti semitism. Not agreeing with that either means you don’t know what Zion or Zionism is, or you are person who hates Jews. Both show ignorance. There’s a lot of that going around these days, from the mountains to the prairies to the oceans white with foam.

        What exactly goes free Palestine mean, anyway? Gaza hasn’t had a Jewish resident since what, 2005? Billions in aid, all used to. Mass a war machine against you know who. How free are gay Palestinians or “dishonored” Palestinian women? Do these protesters know what they’re talking about? No. Why? Because they truly are stupid kid, idiot cultists who drank the kool-aid.

      • Don: While the intensity of fighting in Gaza and the IDF’s refusal to play by the rules–Hamas plays by none, every upstanding country understands this and so should all protestors, it’s not up for debate whether they do (?)–this is not anything like the Holocaust, where Jewish citizens were rounded up, sent to camps, tattooed with numbers and gassed by the millions. That it’s so easy to sum up the extraordinary differences shows the outrageousness of the comparison. But. This does not mean that Israel has not gone overboard and I can say I am ready for all this to end–it’s time.

        That there are still over a hundred hostages being held by mercenary terrorists cannot justify the collective punishment of over a million people, perhaps over two million, I don’t know the numbers. Many Israelis are obsessed with their hostages to the degree that they can’t see whatsoever how their country is prosecuting this war at all. Many have signed on to the leadership’s goals, but tens of thousands are also protesting for change in Israel, too. Meanwhile, Jewish people outside of Israel, many of us are throwing up our hands at this point. If there are 4 million Jewish people in the US, it’s probably honest to estimate that perhaps half or more at this point would like everything to come to a close and see the imbalance of power and death.

        About 40,000 Gaza’s have died, 10,000 or more are Hamas, who are essentially ISIS lite (minus the dream of a caliphate) and whose leaders are wearing fancy suits in Doha and in tunnels hiding. Meanwhile, their citizens are convinced their citizens who die are “martyrs” – no other country thinks of things this way – and American protestors have adopted their language. Israel owes so much to America at this juncture and we must never let them forget that, this is a two-way street–they would be long gone without America and sometimes it appears they feel that they have a right to US military AID and UN protection. Which, as someone with family there, is totally insane. It’s not America II. We have military, social, and economic interests all over the world. Our interests play a role in that country and in many others.

        Lastly, I would direct your attention to what is happening in Sudan at the moment and also in Haiti, outside of Ukraine/Russia and situations like North Korea and China wrt to America and also to genocide. The attention on the war in the Middle East is to some extent outsized, it is much worse in Sudan and Hait right now in their wars and political situations, to be crude, the numbers of death, hostages, murders, rapes, etc. are FAR higher–as you are reading this is happening.

        Hopefully the Times will print this–very respectfully to you.

    • Andrew, thank you for pointing out yet another clear example of the hypocrisy of the liberal left.

      I have been receiving personal, taunting, and disgusting antisemitic emails with “proof” that Israel does not deserve to exist– although the intellectually challenged author clearly does not understand what he’s actually writing. Antisemites are certainly emboldened these days. If I get even one more harassing antisemitic email sourced from anyone, I will phone the police. Antisemitic hate speech, including over the internet, is illegal.

      I especially hope this newspaper now recognizes that hate speech is not free speech.

      The college campuses infiltrated by the extremist islamic fundamentalists and their stupid support-group of American friends chanting “death to Jews, death to Israel, death to America”, is a stain on everyone who does not speak up against it. Jew-hatred/America hatred is coming to a campus/school/park/theater/beach/5corners near you. Silence is complicity.

      Nothing happy about Passover this year. Let my people go. May all innocents be safe and comforted.

      • Jackie– I pointed out proof that the IDF forces
        in Gaza were committing war crimes. I said nothing about
        Israel not having a right to exist, nor did I say anything
        anti semitic. If you are going to talk about our
        personal correspondence, you should not lie about it.
        let me quote a part of it to the readers here.
        “The GOVERNMENT of israel and the IDF forces of Israel
        are not living up to the ideals and values of the
        Jewish people.”
        That is hardly an anti semitic statement.
        In fact, it is supportive of the Jewish people
        and its culture.
        If you look at what I actually say, you will not find
        anything that disparages the Jewish people.
        And if you bother to look, there are many Jewish people
        in Israel protesting the policies of the Netanyahu
        government. I doubt they consider themselves
        anti semitic.

        • I have looked at what you actually say for the last 6 months, Keller. It’s not been pretty. Some of it is so filled with anti-Jewish rage that Sam blocks my comment if I try to quote you in order to make my point. So, no, I did not click on any far left, antisemitic “news” source you linked in either of the harassing emails you can’t seem to stop yourself from sending me. I simply don’t reply to antisemitic messages nor to lightweights who are not up to the intellectual challenge of discussing something about which their bias has long been clear. I’m not interested in antisemitic “proof” of anything. Hope that helps.

      • Jackie “The college campuses infiltrated by the extremist islamic fundamentalists and their stupid support-group of American friends chanting “death to Jews, death to Israel, death to America”, is a stain on everyone who does not speak up against it. Jew-hatred/America hatred is coming to a campus/school/park/theater/beach/5corners near you. Silence is complicity.”
        Sounds like hate speech to me.

  3. I wonder if antisemites on the liberal left can get their story straight anywhere, including in these pages? They first called Israel’s right to defend itself a “genocide”. That was back in October. After objection to their false claims, they changed their tune, claimed they never said it was a genocide. “Never said it”, was self-righteously claimed. They they slowly drifted into calling what Israel needed to do, without the permission of antisemites everywhere, “war crimes”. And now it’s both genocide and war crimes, not because any war strategies have changed on either side, (hamas still will not agree to any ceasefire requiring the release of more hostages, now it’s because they “can’t find them”), but because antisemites feel emboldened within the context of exploding worldwide Jew-hatred. For some reason, that we all know, the college campus pro Pal demonstrations align with the views of the side that wants a genocide– of Jews, everywhere.

    People who hold vile, antisemitic views, now want to pretend no one knows exactly what they previously said, when they said it, and who they were talking about. That’s the liberal left these days, and it’s worse than the hypocrisy that Andrew so correctly points out. The more antisemites talk, the more they contradict themselves in denying their antisemitism.
    Those of us who actually care about all innocent people AND about the State of Israel and its importance in remaining in existence, can easily see who has morality and who clearly does not. People who privately send antisemitic, harassing, really dumb emails have no morality, if that helps.

    The fully admitted genocidal intent took place on October 7, 2023, by Hamas, endorsed by the extremist maniacs who think its an honor to kill jews and die trying to do it. Israel has the right and moral authority to defend itself and to continue to do what it is humanly possible to help the innocents being used by maniac savages as human shields in a war started by these savages and unwanted by Israel. Antisemites can’t seem to wrap their heads around the reality, even those who’ve been entirely humiliated in these pages for their antisemitic views.

    • Jackie,
      I wish I could post the video my kid sent me while attending class at NYU yesterday. In it the professor encourages students to walk and and will receive extra credit to attend the protest in Washington Square Park. And to think I’m paying 90k for this.
      And for those who are wondering why Biden is pushing so hard to forgive student loans is because higher education is indoctrination to the far left radical progressive movement. Just look at all the vile hate on these elite campuses and ask yourself are they republicans?

  4. Logic is dead, and I think she took consistency with her. “Jews will not replace us” is true antisemitism but “We will replace Jews” is somehow acceptable. What? After all, the latter is exactly what people are saying when they employ “From the river to the sea…”

    These slogans are two sides of the same Jew-hating coin. Make no mistake: Hamas supporters are not planning an innocent field trip between assorted bodies of water. We can know, without question, what they actually mean because they’ve been announcing it, loud and proud, since the ’60s.

    The hypocrisy on this issue is so ham-fisted, so neon, that it barely deserves a response. Much of the past concern for Jews was really about hating Trump and Republicans. Period. While I won’t claim that applies to every single Democrat, it’s been demonstrated on endless occasions, and by a great many. Too many. Enough so that credibility has been lost. I don’t belong to either party but can’t distance myself enough from this mess.

    As terrible as Charlottesville was, there is no honest scenario in which someone could be bothered by that event but on board with forcing Jewish students out of school, etc. What’s happening at Columbia, and elsewhere, is reprehensible. Don’t have words for how shameful I find it. It’s anti-American to an extreme.

    Years upon years of pretending to value inclusion as the highest liberal ideal, only to make a mockery of the concept when it’s most needed. How does that make sense? So-called protesters cannot champion anti-violence in a foreign land while posing a VIOLENT threat to their own peers. Or, more accurately, it would seem they *can*, but anything they say is nullified.

    True antisemitism is resenting Jews so much that you’ll make excuses for their Nazi-era mistreatment in 2024. In a way—and hopefully no one will twist this—I prefer to deal, if I must choose, with self-professed white supremacists. With that group, you know to look out for danger. To never trust them.

    The antisemitic excuse-makers hide among us, claiming to be reasonable and kind folks with superior ethics. They use this social cover, thinly veiled as it is, to spread falsehoods and harass with impunity. My, what big eyes/ears/teeth they have.

    American Jews are some of the most generous donors to these universities. That means the very same brats who are destroying the college experience for innocent Jewish kids are benefiting from perks funded by their relatives. Their community. It screams “We’ll take your money, but we won’t respect your presence. Or your lives.”

    It’s gross.

    This isn’t Vietnam or the civil rights movement. This is something else entirely, and it’s ugly as sin. Before we decide what needs to be done about war overseas, maybe we should tend to our domestic failings.

  5. I posted my prior comment (“Logic is dead…”) as a response to the general discussion and topic. It was not directed at a lone commenter. For some reason, at least on my end, replies no longer end up where they’re meant to go.

    • Upon re-reading this the following day, I see that I should’ve worded something better.

      These agitators (and that’s a kind, understated description) are not truly advocating for nonviolence in Israel/Gaza. Nope. They only care about one side of the equation. This has been the case since the beginning with the pro-Hamas crowd.

      Just don’t want to give them too much credit, even by mistake. They’re not peacemakers by any stretch, but then that should be obvious. Innocent Jews don’t end up singled out, accosted, harassed, and rightfully afraid around the peaceful.

  6. People who are not morally- challenged have no need to stand on a soap box every 5 minutes and claim they are not immoral and don’t hate Jews. Yeah, they are, and yeah, they do. What’s already been soundly exposed cannot be covered up again.

    Katie’s comments are always so brilliant. I’d much rather deal with a white supremacist who doesn’t hide his ignorant hatred of jews, than with someone pretending he likes and understands Judaism but insists they are committing genocide and war crimes, (after waffling for 6 months) and then launches into more gaslighting blood libels against individual Jews. I originally felt sorry at the public and incontestable humiliation of exposure of any individual so uncovered. No longer do I.

    Never did I ever imagine I’d see this level of Jew hatred aired in these pages.

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