Our Refugee Crisis


What do you call it when a large number of people, fleeing violence in their homeland, cross a border looking for safety? When Syrians crossed the Turkish border for safety, we called them refugees. When Vietnamese people fled South Vietnam to the USA, we called them refugees. Come to that, when Iraqis, such as someone I work with, needed to flee the violence after the Iraq war, we let them come to the USA, and, what do you know, we called them refugees.

We’re a nation that’s generally good at dealing with refugees when we’re forced to. We don’t do it with any great enthusiasm, but we do it. Well, unless those refugees have names like Lopez, Ortiz, Rodriguez and the like. Then we say, “Fuck you! Go home!”

Yes, I’m talking about the crisis on our southern border, where thousands of children, sometimes traveling alone over thousands of miles, have spewed across looking for safety. They come mostly from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. You might recognize these countries from such fine works as Fodor’s Guide to Central American Shitholes, a book that doesn’t exist, but totally should.

These children, fleeing from places even more dangerous than Chicago, or for that matter, Iraq, are streaming across our border looking for safety, often with relatives that already live here. Consider what they must have endured back home, and what their parents must be going through. Can you picture how desperate a parent must be to send a child off on their own to a foreign country, knowing that their chances of surviving the journey are probably better than their chances at home, where their only life choice will be what gang to join?

Look, it really sucks that these kids have nowhere else to go, and it sucks that we’re the ones who are going to have to deal with them. It should be the job of Mexico or, better yet, the governments in their home countries. But, really, what can we do other than what we’re doing? Thanks to George W we have a law saying we can’t pop them back across the border without a hearing, and…actually, that’s a very good thing. They deserve hearings. Everyone accused of a crime does. I mean, yes, it’s an outside chance, but suppose one of these kids was actually an American citizen who was just caught up in things?

Think of it like this. We help these kids, and we absorb them into our population, and we come off looking good. We refuse to do so, and especially with the racist tinge this whole thing has taken on, and we look like dicks. Let’s not look like dicks.

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