We Have a Responsibility to These Refugees
Right now the biggest policy decision we have in our immigration debate is how we should react to people seeking refuge from danger throughout the world. The most likely outcome of the upcoming debate, given that Donald Trump is president and Republicans control both houses of congress, is that we'll turn our back on these people. The worst part about where our immigration policy is going is that we Americans are in no small part responsible for the danger these people are in. Hatred, fear, and callousness towards immigrants is one sorry thing. The same towards refugees is a degree worse. But our current mood toward the people of Iraq, Syria, and other Muslim countries is a whole other level of shameful.

I'm always struck by how similar it is to our policy in Latin America, Mexico specifically. From Mexico we see people running from a drug war. That war is not as dire as Syria's but make no doubt about it, it is creating the economic and political conditions that compel people to immigrate to the United States. We Americans fund one side through our consumption of drugs and exacerbate it by making such consumption illegal. Then we fund the other side, law enforcement, by sending military aid.

And then, after we've armed both sides, we want to build a wall to keep everyone in. It's sick.

In Syria and Iraq it's worse because we explicitly created a war that created so much death and displacement and chaos. That, in fact, was one of the stated goals of the war - create a spot far away from America where the terrorists would attack us so they weren't attacking us here. Attack they did. Let's be honest too, they attacked there more then they could have ever dreamed of attacking here.

Now, when thousands of people are running from the bad guys we say "no". They're running away from our enemies, the terrorists. If they're lucky they're in camps hundreds of miles away from their homes. Many have drowned when overcrowded boats tip over or were bombed to death in what was once their home. How can we abdicate any responsibility for helping these people? How can we ignore that they are on the same side as us in the war we are fighting?

Hell, we're even refusing to help Iraqis who put their lives on the line to protect our troops.

There's nothing new about anti-immigrant sentiment. Opponents of immigrants and refugees are saying the same things that were said by their ancestors or said about their ancestors with regards to the Irish, Italians, Poles, Jews, Slavs, Vietnamese, Chinese, and the list goes on. I'd oppose this type of mentality no matter what the situation. This time though it's worse given our hand in creating the situation these people are trying to escape.
 
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