From Portside <[email protected]>
Subject If Impoverished Countries Can Host Millions of Refugees, the U.S. Can Welcome a Few Thousand
Date April 8, 2021 3:55 AM
  Links have been removed from this email. Learn more in the FAQ.
  Links have been removed from this email. Learn more in the FAQ.
[ The factors that drive displacement are often complex, but
welcoming refugees isnt.] [[link removed]]

IF IMPOVERISHED COUNTRIES CAN HOST MILLIONS OF REFUGEES, THE U.S. CAN
WELCOME A FEW THOUSAND  
[[link removed]]


 

Phyllis Bennis
April 7, 2021
Foreign Policy in Focus
[[link removed]]


*
[[link removed]]
*
[[link removed]]
*
* [[link removed]]

_ The factors that drive displacement are often complex, but
welcoming refugees isn't. _

A volunteer at a Catholic Charities Humanitarian Respite Center in
McCallen Texas smiles at a Central American refugee and her child. ,
(2017 / Shutterstock)

 

Thousands of desperate migrants, mostly from Central America, are
stuck at the U.S.-Mexico border. Most are families and unaccompanied
children.

Despite their legal rights to apply for asylum, U.S. officials are
turning away huge numbers, claiming pandemic restrictions. But
thousands of children remain, held in crowded border detention
facilities
[[link removed]] while
awaiting transfer to Department of Health and Human Services
facilities that are full to bursting.

The situation is terrible for those children and their families. But
dealing with it isn’t rocket science: The government should
authorize emergency spending to expand and build new facilities and
hire social workers, health care providers, and teachers to care for
these kids — along with an expanded team of family reunion workers.

Here in the wealthiest country on earth, we should know how to care
for influxes of desperate people. Just ask the teams who welcomed,
cared for, and arranged placement for 131,000 Vietnamese refugees
[[link removed]] in
the U.S. in 1975. All that’s missing now is political will.

When you look at the global picture, the situation on our border
starts to look much more manageable. So let’s clear up a few things.

1. THERE _IS_ A MASSIVE DISPLACEMENT CRISIS ALL OVER THE WORLD.

Globally, more than 80 million people
[[link removed]], including 34 million
children, have been forced from their homes because of war, violence,
economic collapse, or climate disasters. Among these, 26 million are
refugees, forced out of their country. Another 4 million are seeking
asylum.

2. THE WORLD’S TOP REFUGEE HOSTS ARE MOSTLY POORER COUNTRIES.  

More than two-thirds [[link removed]] of
refugees come from just five countries — Afghanistan, Syria,
Myanmar, Venezuela, and South Sudan — none of which are in Central
America. These refugees have mostly sought safety in nearby countries.
Millions of Syrians fled to Turkey. Venezuelans poured into Colombia.
Afghans escaped war in Pakistan, and South Sudanese in Uganda.
Myanmar’s Rohingya fled to Bangladesh.

Among the world’s top refugee hosts, the United States isn’t even
close. In Lebanon, a tiny country facing a massive economic
crisis, one of every five people is a refugee
[[link removed]] —  the
equivalent of the United States taking in 66 million. Yet under the
last administration, we admitted just a few thousand each year — a
record low
[[link removed]].

3. ALLOWING REFUGEES TO APPLY FOR ASYLUM ISN’T JUST A NICE THING TO
DO — IT’S THE LAW. 

When the United States signed the 1951 Convention on the Status of
Refugees [[link removed]], it committed itself
under international law to protect refugees. According to the United
Nations refugee agency
[[link removed]], the
Convention’s “core principle is _non-refoulement_, which asserts
that a refugee should not be returned to a country where they face
serious threats to their life or freedom.”

That means that a desperate Honduran family showing up at the U.S.
border seeking refuge from violence, hurricanes, or extreme poverty
cannot legally be either returned to Honduras or sent to “wait in
Mexico” for a U.S. court date, since either choice means facing
those serious threats.

It’s U.S. domestic law too — specifically the Refugee Act of 1980
[[link removed]]. Neither
law lets governments avoid their obligations because of the pandemic
— in fact, the Refugee Act describes specific U.S. obligations to
provide medical care to potential refugees. Today that should mean
providing vaccines and testing, ensuring social distancing and masks,
and avoiding the super-spreader environment of crowded detention
facilities.

4. NO ONE CHOOSES TO LOSE THEIR HOME.

No one decides to leave their home on a lark, or just because someone
said President Biden will treat them better than Trump.

They make the often deadly journey — or send their children — when
they are desperate and have no choice. Because if they stay, the
government-protected gangs that threaten to kidnap their son or rape
their mother will make good on their threats. Because if they stay,
their hurricane-destroyed crops mean their children will have nothing
to eat. Because if they stay, the bombs will fall again.

A great many of these “push factors” have been accelerated
[[link removed]] by
Washington’s own wars, trade policies, sanctions, arms exports, and
carbon emissions. President Biden can keep telling refugees “don’t
come,” and that someday the U.S. will let people apply for asylum
from their own country, but that won’t stop them if their house was
destroyed, their children are hungry, or their lives are at risk.

The real crisis isn’t the temporary chaos on our border. It’s the
hunger, violence, and climate catastrophes forcing people to leave
their homes in the first place.

If impoverished countries can host millions of refugees, certainly the
U.S. – the richest country in the world – can welcome a few
thousand Central American children and their families.

Common decency — and the law — demands it.

_Phyllis Bennis directs the New Internationalism Project at the
Institute for Policy Studies._

*
[[link removed]]
*
[[link removed]]
*
* [[link removed]]

 

 

 

INTERPRET THE WORLD AND CHANGE IT

 

 

Submit via web [[link removed]]
Submit via email
Frequently asked questions [[link removed]]
Manage subscription [[link removed]]
Visit xxxxxx.org [[link removed]]

Twitter [[link removed]]

Facebook [[link removed]]

 




[link removed]

To unsubscribe, click the following link:
[link removed]
Screenshot of the email generated on import

Message Analysis