Demanding Humane Treatment for Refugees Abroad, at Home Not So Much

From Eusebio Elizondo,  the auxiliary bishop of Seattle and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration.

… other nations receive millions of refugees, not just thousands. Lebanon, for example — a country of 4.5 million — has received more than 1 million Syrian refugees in the past two years. Can we not do right by a much smaller population?

The real issue here is who we are as Americans. As a leader in human rights protection around the world, we often instruct other nations to receive refugees or protect human rights. Yet when child refugees appear on our own border, we struggle to respond in a humane way. Calls for deploying the National Guard and more border enforcement, for example, suggest that these children and families threaten our national security when they are the ones running from terror. Instead of sending an army to the border, we should be sending an army of child welfare and mental health experts.

[In addition] we need to ask ourselves some tough questions and determine how our nation — the largest economy in the world and the most powerful — can reset our policies toward Central America, our own back yard.

We provide the market and the weapons that make the drug cartels and gangs stronger. Our trade policies have devastated low-skilled industries in these countries, particularly agriculture. And the lack of accountability and transparency in many Central American governments can be traced to our support for military dictatorships in the region during the Cold War. In many ways, this is a crisis of our own making.

Bravo for the Bishop

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