Refugees and False Choice

This is a re-run, but the current situation warrants giving it another look. Asinine memes juxtaposing helping immigrants and helping homeless veterans are circulating again, and people need to know that it is not an either/or proposition. You can care about and take action to help BOTH homeless veterans AND immigrants, AND anyone else you have the energy and resources to help.

The View from the Armchair

Refugee Rights Protest at Broadmeadows, MelbourneImmigration has been an ongoing topic of interest for some time, and has been an area of focused discussion during this presidential campaign season. Yesterday I was engaged in a brief discussion the sub-topic of refugee immigration. A coworker opined that we should focus on people who need help at home before helping people abroad. This is a very naïve sentiment and reveals a fundamental misunderstanding of both the issues of refugee resettlement and “people who need help in this country” (an expansive topic in its own right).

First, the focus on people “in this country” is informed by a nativist, near isolationist sentiment that has been expressed to some extent since time immemorial, and that has increased in promulgation since the beginning of the primary season in 2015. Foundationally, these views misunderstand the nature of the world as it currently exists. It simply isn’t in any country’s long-term interests…

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