Tuesday, November 27, 2018

What Did Happen At the Border?

     It's yet another incident where you'll see what you brought to it -- some people I know were horrified that the U.S. used tear gas on refugees while others were concerned about an attempted invasion.

     There is an actual procedure for people seeking asylum in the United States.  It doesn't include climbing a border fence.  It is slow -- a few hundred a week at the San Ysidro port of entry where many of the marchers have gathered and where the attempted illegal crossing and tear-gassing took place.  This is a governmental process, a bit more involved than getting a driver's license, and those wheels turn slowly.

     The miracle is that they turn at all.  The MS St. Louis -- carrying over 600 refugees fleeing Nazi Germany -- was refused by Cuba and the United States in 1939; about a third of the passengers were eventually allowed into Great Britain, and as for the rest, "Two hundred fifty-four passengers in Belgium, France, and the Netherlands after that date died during the Holocaust. Most of these people were murdered in the killing centers of Auschwitz and Sobibór; the rest died in internment camps, in hiding or attempting to evade the Nazis."

     Things like that are why there are laws and international treaties on the granting of asylum to refugees. Those laws aren't perfect but they're a good-faith effort, a balancing act between national security and helping innocents get out of trouble.

     NPR has a fairly neutral round-up (if you make allowance for labels: are these self-described asylum-seekers "migrants?") of what did happen at the border, what led up to it and what might happen in the future.


pigpen51 said...

I did think that the NPR post was evenhanded. The only thing that caught my eye, was the ACLU at the very last, saying that if the US cannot guarantee that the immigrants will be safe in Mexico, then we must let them in our country. I don't think that there is any way to guarantee the safety of any group of people in ANY nation, including the United States. Unless, of course, we were to keep the immigrants under lock and key, in a internment camp. And that is not a good thing either. What it seems like the ACLU would prefer is to bring them in to America and then, after processing their request, release them, along with the other people we release, until a hearing is set up.
That could cause a rather large problem, with 5000 this caravan, but how many others might come if they knew they could end up free in America?
The entire thing is a nightmare, but not caused only by the president. It is one that has been brewing for years, with both parties willing to simply kick the can down the road for someone else to worry about. And just like any other thing that we try to avoid, eventually, it has come back and now can't simply be ignored. Perhaps that is a good thing, for at least now, people have to face the problem and the faces behind it.

Paul said...

We are a sovereign nation with borders and laws. If you want to come to my country color in the damn lines.

Best line I have seen is this - try rushing the gates at Disney world and see what happens.

Roberta X said...

I don't think the Magic Kingdom uses tear gas. Then again, it is not -- despite wishing really, really hard -- a sovereign country.

Ken said...

Not quite sovereign, but I'm pretty sure that's by choice...that way they can avoid the fixed costs of all those government employees. Being the power behind the throne is more profitable (okay, I kid, I kid).

gfrey said...

I did have the pleasure of meeting one of the men who was sent back on the MS St. Louis, before he died. (I was also at the funeral.) He was a boy of 9 when the ship was sent back. His family DID get back to the US after another 6 or 9 months, and his story was that he LOVED the US. He served in the Army, was a teacher (Where our mutual friend who introduced us met him), and his large loving family (And an even bigger friend circle.) still miss him. But they were forced to return to Europe on the ship and had to come back to the US when they had the proper paperwork... He had NO hard feelings about this. His story of how he loved our free libraries and his life here is amazing.