There\u2019s an old story about a man who notices a young girl picking up starfish from the beach and tossing them back into the sea. A storm had washed thousands of them upon the shore, and he asked the girl why she bothered. After all, he explained, what difference would it make? They\u2019d simply be washed up again in the next storm. \u201cIt makes a difference to this one,\u201d the girl replied, tossing the starfish back into the water. Now imagine walking down your street one day and coming upon a scared, lost and hungry child desperate for shelter. For most of us, the question wouldn\u2019t be whether we\u2019d help; it would only be how. We wouldn\u2019t wait for details on how the child got himself into this situation; we wouldn\u2019t withhold assistance until she proved herself worthy. Empathy is the distinguishing characteristic of humanity. It\u2019s a basic instinct to help the helpless. Yet there is also a cruel geometry that comes into play, a proportionate intimacy where the further that child is from our street, the easier it is to ignore those cries for help. Nowhere is this more apparent than in our nation\u2019s current crisis at our southern border. Families are separated and kept in hot, overcrowded cages as politicians grapple with what to do about our current immigration policies. And we do \u2026 nothing. The real crisis isn\u2019t centered around those policies, nor is it about funding a wall or whether these immigrants are even technically \u201cillegal.\u201d The real crisis strikes at the heart of what it means to be truly American: What do we do with these huddled masses while we craft a long-term solution? How do we treat the helpless in their moment of greatest need? We are a nation of immigrants separated only by time and the genetic lottery. Regardless of where we fall on the political spectrum, surely we can see our reflections in the eyes of those clinging to the tin foil blankets in the detention centers. We can do a better job of honoring the invitation of Emma Lazarus\u2019 sonnet, \u201cThe New Colossus,\u201d cast in bronze on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty: \u201cSend these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!\u201d We don\u2019t need to come up with all the answers today, but Lady Liberty isn\u2019t lifting her lamp to crush those who answer her call, either. We teach our children that America is the greatest nation on earth. Prove it. Find a way to treat those who flee for their lives for a chance at hope, our neighbors, in a way that restores their basic human dignity rather than removing it as we sort through our policy issues. No, it\u2019s not our \u201cobligation\u201d to save everyone and no, we\u2019re not expected to solve all the world\u2019s problems. We are, however, Americans. We fix things. If we don\u2019t have the stuffing to help desperate families that appear on our doorstep until we get our policies in order, then rip the damn plaque off the pedestal wall and stop laying claim to any moral superiority. Our elected officials have known about the horrid conditions of these camps for months now and done nothing. As I write this, a series of ICE raids are scheduled to begin that will only add to a dangerously overburdened immigration system. Perhaps we should address current conditions before we add more starfish onto that beach\u2026 You can read more at RobertFWalsh.com, contact him at RobertFWalshMail@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @RobertFWalsh.