Immigration and Global Injustice

Last week, house speaker John Boehner said he was “doubtful” that immigration reform would pass in the house this year. Another set back in this congress where passing legislation is second to political agendas and electioneering. When we think of immigration (as Americans), we think of Latin American countries where poor people scrimp and save to illegally cross a border into America where they have dreams of a better life. But immigration and migration are global tales where a choice is made to leave a home country, either out of fear or hope, and somehow get to somewhere else where they will be able to settle down and make a home. This semester I am taking a class called “The Sea is my Home: Sicily, Immigration, and Migration” Next month our class will travel to sicily to meet with refugees who have come to the country seeking asylum. Sicily has become a hot spot for refugees in the last few years as conflicts have arisen in the middle east and African countries like Tunisia. In October 2013, a boat carrying migrants from Somalia and Eritrea caught on fire and over 300 people died in the Mediterranean sea off the coast of the Italian island of Lampedusa. These migrants were smuggled, and paid over $3,000 to get there safely. They were also raped and tortured while they traveled. This is the tragedy that is the reality for many people just trying to escape persecution and war. Once they get to their destination, it’s not all smiles either. They have to prove their case for asylum, and often live in refugee camps until they can get their papers to get into the country. Once they enter, they cannot go to any other country and apply for asylum there. This is because of something called the Dublin Accord that was drawn up by the European Union. This makes it hard for refugees to get jobs, housing or any other assistance. They also face social stigma, in a place where people think of them as “intruders” and are often told to “go back where they came from.” This sounds familiar doesn’t it? It’s the same thing we say to people here in America, people who often come here for the same reasons. These people are good people, they were faced with a choice to stay in a country ravaged by war and poverty, or to come to a place where they could possibly have a new life where they would be able to get a job, have a family and grow old.  Yet, when they make the decision that any of us could have made, we persecute them. Even worse, we don’t treat them as people and leave them in a state of legal limbo. Even while saying that he supports reform, President Obama continues to deport people who are non violent and undocumented. ICE is still operating at full power. We must rise up and fight for a world where people are free to move through nations and where our global economy also means global citizenship. Immigration reform should not only be passed in the US, but in the EU and other developing countries to make it a world where there is freedom for everyone and where human rights are valued above all. 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s