Saturday, January 13, 2018

"Why do we want all these people from shithole countries coming here?" An Answer to your Question, Mr. Trump

It's been widely reported that in a meeting on immigration reform, Trump asked at one point, "Why do we want all these people from shithole countries coming here?" in reference to Haiti and African countries.

I'm not very shocked that he said this as it reflects what I believe he really thinks.  He simply lacks the restraint a lot of politicians possess, so he says what first comes to mind without considering if it's true, helpful, or wise to make such a statement.  Calling other countries "shitholes" is vulgar, offensive, and cruel.

But, equally as worrisome or maybe even more so, is that Trump and many other people still do not understand why people from other countries come here and why it's an asset to our community and not a deficit.  And, also why it's the right thing to do.

Father James Martin tweeted:

Why are we having all these people from shithole countries coming here?

1.  They are our brothers and sisters in need.
2.  They are often fleeing war, violence, or famine.
3.  There are children among them.
4.  It's the right thing to do.
5.  That's who we are.

From the UNHCR:

65.6 million people around the world have been forced from their homes.

Among these are 22.5 million refugees.  A refugee is a someone who fled his or her own country because of persecution, or a well-founded fear of persecution, based on race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.

Over  half of refugees are children under the age of 18.

Less than 1/2 of 1% of refugees are ever resettled to third countries like the US.

A lot of the world's refugees and displaced people have simply been forgotten.  I saw a documentary called "Warehoused" this summer about Dadaab, the largest refugee camp in the world- in Kenya.  Part of our world reality now is that we are literally "warehousing" human beings in camps.  People are living in these conditions for decades--simply forgotten by the world. 
Watch the trailer here:  Warehoused

I know how motivated and hard-working the families of my students are.  Even with the terror, trauma, and difficult times they have endured, they are happy to be here.  They are committed to making a good life for their families and contributing to our society. They enrich our schools, our communities, our economy, our country, and our lives.  

In a grand and cosmic sense, I'm not sure why I was born in the United States to a family who had the resources and love to raise me and give me a great life.  I feel lucky.  I have so many choices, so many freedoms.  But, you never really know what life holds for you.  Or what you might need to do to go on.

We must not forget our common humanity.  We are connected.  We are in this together.  

The eloquent poet, Warsan Shire, reminds us:

you have to understand,
that no one puts their children in a boat
unless the water is safer than the land

We can do better than this.  We can be better than this.  I can't rely on Mr. Trump.  But, I know there are many people with good hearts in this country who understand why refugees and immigrants come to this country.  

We have to keep advocating for them.  

It's the right thing to do.  

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