America, let’s be helpful and not hypocritical with immigration
Over the past few years, stories of refugee crises have bombarded news headlines. As a college student in a first world country, I never could relate to the experience of the living conditions as a refugee. While studying abroad in Greece this summer, I was introduced to the current refugee crisis in Europe.
Back home in the U.S., news outlets create long, winded and confusing debates on whether refugees should be allowed. We have a refugee crisis along the U.S.-Mexico border.
For this article’s purpose, I’ll focus on refugees and the idea of limiting the number of refugees that are allowed into the country.
The terms refugee, migrant, immigrant and asylum seeker are used interchangeably when discussing the topic of immigration and refugees. According to the International Rescue Committee (IRC), a refugee is a person who “has been forced to flee his or her home because of war, violence, or persecution, often without warning.” An asylum seeker is “someone who is also seeking international protection from dangers in his or her home country, but whose claim for refugee status hasn’t been determined legally.”
The term “refugee” can fall under being a migrant, who is “someone who is moving from place to place (within his or her country or across borders).” Migrant describes anyone who is moving constantly.
Unlike a migrant, an immigrant is a person who “makes a conscious decision to leave his or her home and move to a foreign country with the intention of settling there.” Immigrants have the intention to stay in another country for a prolonged amount of time.
There have been ideas to limit the number of refugees from entering countries. I do not have a problem with people coming to the United States to immigrate, seek asylum or stay as a refugee. The U.S. was built on by people who immigrated and sought asylum. It would be hypocritical to deny these people help when our past was shaped by this issue.
The current refugee crisis in America picked up in the summer of 2014. Most refugees come from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. This region is one of the most violent in the world. “Honduras has been recognized as the murder capital of the world…with its homicide rates peaking in 2011 at 91.6 murders per 100,00 people,” according to the American Immigration Council (AIC).
Due to the violence in these countries, people, especially women and children, who are the most vulnerable, are fleeing their homes. They reach the U.S. border in hopes of settling to gain protection. These families are labeled as illegal when they need asylum and protection.
As a first-world nation with resources to help people, I believe that we should provide asylum. Most of the people migrating to our border do not have anywhere else to go. Children and families are in danger due to gang violence. There are not coming to harm but instead, find a temporary home.
Politicians are asking the wrong questions and reacting inhumanely. They and their followers want to ban immigrants and to enforce more security at the border. If they want to limit immigration, they have to consider the factors of why more people are seeking asylum and becoming refugees. Wanting more security is understandable since there is extreme gang violence in Central America, but this is a crisis. According to the AIC, the number of forcibly displaced people around the world has grown from 42.7 million in 2007 to 68.5 million in 2017.
Instead of assuming that refugees are the worst, we should see these people as humans wanting to have a better and safe life. Every human deserves to have a safe home. We should consider why these people are fleeing and take action to help. At the end of the day, we are all humans and borders and walls divide us.
An Overview of U.S. Refugee Law and Policy. (2019, September 27). Retrieved October 8, 2019, from https://www.americanimmigrationcouncil.org/research/overview-us-refugee-law-and-policy.
Get Involved. (n.d.). Retrieved October 9, 2019, from https://www.amnesty.org/en/get-involved/.
Gleen, K. (2018). Globe, planet and astronomy. photograph, Nevada City. Retrieved from https://unsplash.com/photos/nXt5HtLmlgE
How To Help. (n.d.). Retrieved October 9, 2019, from https://www.rescue.org/how-to-help.
Meena, N. (2017). Immigrant make America Great. photograph, Seattle. Retrieved from https://unsplash.com/photos/IFh4o-U-BGg/info
Migrants, asylum seekers, refugees and immigrants: What’s the difference? (2018, December 11). Retrieved October 8, 2019, from https://www.rescue.org/article/migrants-asylum-seekers-refugees-and-immigrants-whats-difference.
Understanding the Central American Refugee Crisis. (2019, July 19). Retrieved October 7, 2019, from http://www.americanimmigrationcouncil.org/research/understanding-central-american-refugee-crisis.