What does a refugee look like?

Thursday, July 10, 2014
The news has been full of reports of the Bestia (Mexican Train) bringing refugees from Central and South America through Mexico on the way to the U.S. border. Photos of children sent by themselves are shown and those few who are made aware of the situation are discussing whether these people "qualify" as refugees.

The United States has, in recent year, been accepting refugees from Iraq, Burma, Somalia, Nepal, and Sudan, to name a few. The families and more specifically, unattended children who are flooding into the U.S. now are from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Most of them qualify as 'refugees' under the U.S. political definition.

The 'immigrant issue' (currently being called the Mexican issue though in the past history of our country it has been called the Irish issue or the Czech issue or the Italian issue or the Israel issue) is a hot button topic of those who want to raise fences on our borders, arm local citizens and generally claim justified racism on anyone who fits the description. We need to remember that these may not be the only political refugees crossing the border.

What causes someone to flee from their home, family and country can take a lot of forms. I hope we can remember who we are as a nation, and show some compassion for anyone seeking to flee a life of violence and fear for a better life. It is, after all, why all our ancestors came (and not all of them legally).

The solution may very well be not to house them all- but the United States really cannot excuse themselves from being part of the solution. In doing so- we are allowing ourselves to be a bigger part of the problem.

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