Morning Ed: Refugees {2016.02.04.Th}


Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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31 Responses

  1. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    For the answer to why are we sending back Central American refugees to a Narco law we helped create, the answer is a combination because the United States government has the power to do so compared to the various European immigrants and less flippantly, the law.

    To get asylee status in the United States an alien must show that were persecuted or have a will founded fear of persecution, which the Supreme Court held to be a one in ten chance, on account of their race, religion, national origin, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. The persecution does not necessarily need to come from the government. You can be or have a fear of persecution from a non-governmental group that the government can not or will not control. Most of the Central American refugees are fleeing gang violence and are trying to get asylum as a member of a particular social group. The law isn’t exactly in their favor so they tend to loose their cases unless they have the luck of getting a sympathetic Immigration Judge and DHS lawyer.

    Other Central American aliens may have a relative in the United States that can act as a guardian. If a state family court appoints this relative as a guardian and makes what we call special findings, that it is not in the child’s best interest to be returned to their country of origin than the alien can self-petition for a Special Immigrant Juvenile visa with USCIS by filing and I-360 petition. Once the I-360 is approved that they can apply for adjustment of status by submitting a form I-485 and get their green card.Report

  2. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    On the 1940s article, the lesson seems to be that there will always be people who do not want to help refugees for a variety of reasons and that it takes a lot of work to pressure these people into helping refugees. The politics of the late 1940s were less partisan than they were now. Truman might have blamed Republicans for giving him a do-nothing Congress but the Republicans made peace with the New Deal and still had a large liberal and moderate faction. The Far Right was still in self-inflicted political exile and only beginning to to flex their muscles. These days, there is a greater air of partisan politics and more reflective anti-immigrant sentiment even though two of the world refugee crises can be traced back to American political decisions, the War on Drugs and Iraq II. I doubt that any Democratic President will be able to guilt trip a Republican Congress into helping the refugees enter the United States.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to LeeEsq says:

      ” it takes a lot of work to pressure these people into helping refugees”
      … it takes significantly less of the same sort of work to convince these people to commit genocide.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Kim says:

        Kim, will you stop this. Even if you really disagree with the existence of Israel what is happening in Israel/Palestine is not genocide. More Arabs have died in conflicts with other Arabs than all confrontations between Jews and Arabs in Israel/Palestine from the Mandate forward combined. More people died in the Sri Lankan Civil War than the entire Israel-Arab conflict.

        The Pro-Palestinian side can not have it both ways. Israel can not simultaneously be guilty of genocide but also at risk of becoming a minority ruled “apartheid” state. The two things are contradictory and if the latter is true, Israeli Jews are the most incompetent conquers of all time.Report

        • Avatar Kim in reply to LeeEsq says:

          As I’ve stated quite a few times before, I’m not talking about ISRAEL, and I won’t be talking about Israel until Israel decides that their refugee issue can be settled with tanks. Their refugee issue being the minor one of Israel being rendered uninhabitable, at which point they retreat into “Greater Israel”, which may at that point be Lebanon, Syria, or GOD KNOWS WHERE.

          I’m referring to Australia, in point of fact, and the plans on the books for dealing with climatological refugees.

          Israel may have problems, but I don’t think they’ve actually put trail of tears genocide on the books. Mainly because they’re going to be the refugees.

          Genocide and Apartheid aren’t mutually contradictory things, actually, you might try asking Japan or China about the idea of forced birth control, and what the hell that does to a discriminated against population. But I wasn’t discussing Apartheid, and discussing Israel wouldn’t make my point here, at all.Report

        • Avatar Damon in reply to LeeEsq says:

          Without commenting on the whole Israel thing, genocide has been around a long time, because, frankly, it works.Report

  3. Avatar Damon says:

    Refugees: No link. Calling that obvious BS. Yah, the lie about their age. This is surprising? It was clear that they wanted to Germany because they had the best chance of getting asylum there and the benefits were good. Duh.

    Narco war: The solution is to end the narco war, not let folks into this country.

    WW2: Well, we didn’t start that war did we? The middle east “refugees” are a direct result of the west’s meddling in certain areas of the world.Report

  4. Avatar notme says:

    Julian Assange is being arbitrarily held, UN panel to say

    I’m trying to figure out who exactly is detaining him. He claimed asylum in the Ecuadorean embassy to avoid a warrant for his arrest. I think the Ecuadorean’s should stop detaining him.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to notme says:

      UN doesn’t think the UK should extradite or arrest him, and asks the UK to give Assange back his passport?
      I think that’s how that reads…
      As the arrest is politically motivated, I am broadly sympathetic to Assange exploring legal alternatives…

      Broader question: if the UK Brexits, do they still honor Sweden’s warrant?Report

  5. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    I was shaving on a regular basis from the time I was 14 or 15. I also had chest hair by that age.

    Anecdote is not data but the Hot Air link just seems to be liberal trolling or trolling anyone who believes in helping refugees. There is no honest debate here. If they don’t think refugees should be accepted, they should just say so. Hot Air seems to be mocking liberal compassion.

    I will concede that like the death penalty and other hot button issues, pro-refugee sentiment might be an elite opinion not held by the majority but I don’t see how a country in good consciousness can just turn its back on refugees especially if the refugee crisis is directly and/or indirectly caused by a country’s policies. Taking in refugees just seems like the decent thing to do. What if you needed to flee the U.S., wouldn’t you want a country to accept you readily?Report

    • Would you still be as supportive of an aggressive refugee program if it threatened the Democratic majority?

      We’re nowhere close to that here, in part because we’re not bringing in very many (and have a larger base population to absorb those we are bringing in), but things are reaching crisis levels in Europe. The issues that HotAir points to are a bit part of the reason why. The entire project is in danger of coming tumbling down, partly due to the oversimplification of compassion.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Will Truman says:

        I could not condone any aggressive refugee program that is intentional genocide.
        If you save me from that horrible outcome, I’ll let most other things slide.

        We allow Muslims into our country, whose stated religious goal is Theocracy. Not Democracy, not a Democratic Theocracy, but literally living by the rules set forth in religions texts, not as interpreted by people who are not PRIESTS.

        And I’ll advocate for them to come in, and welcome them with open arms.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Will Truman says:

        I hate to go all Goodwin but 6 million Jews died in the Holicaust because no one wanted to take them in. The title of the book on Canada’s response to Jews fleeing the Nazis was “None is too many”Report

        • So let the Republicans win, then? Bring on an era of nativism? Trumpist backlash, except maybe victorious? Destroy the EU project? Whatever it takes, just keep letting an unlimited number in for as long as you can and disregard backlash? No competing interests at all?

          That has consistency going for it…Report

          • Avatar Kim in reply to Will Truman says:

            I’d bring up the competing interest of parsimony, in which case employing them in a place that isn’t america is probably cheaper…

            We gain so much from immigrants, that it’s shameful to close our borders.Report

        • To say it all happened because no one wanted to take them in is not quite right. The antisemitic immigration policies of the US and Canada certainly didn’t help, especially when it came to Jews from Germany. But the mass murders happened after the war started and in large part against people who hadn’t even had a chance to apply to immigrate to the US or Canada. At best, immigration policies may have enabled some people–like that Japanese diplomat in the link above (disclosure: I haven’t read the link yet), or sympathetic Spanish diplomats who supposedly did the same thing–to go out of their way to rescue some people.

          Still, your overall point is correct. Sending refugees back often means a lot of misery or death, and the US probably can and should do more to accept more people.Report

          • Avatar Kim in reply to Gabriel Conroy says:

            My grandmother’s plane had stones thrown at it as she fled from Poland. Einstein left Germany before the war. Plenty of people knew that the situation was grave, and allowing in people from Poland alone would have saved millions.

            Less than two thousand jews, total, were admitted to America the year my grandmother fled Poland. It was 1939.Report

            • Avatar Gabriel Conroy in reply to Kim says:

              I honestly don’t know how many people applied to immigrate from Poland and other eastern European countries from 1921-1924 [ETA: to 1939] (when immigration quotas were imposed against eastern Europe), but I imagine it’s a lot and frankly, I hadn’t thought of that aspect of it. So yes, if the US had accepted more in those years, perhaps fewer would have been victims.

              But at that point, and while some of the interwar regimes, like Poland’s, adopted antisemitic policies, the would-be immigrants probably didn’t fit in with our definition of “refugee.” The main exceptions would be the victims of Stalin’s famines and purges. And in those cases, while again I don’t know all the details, I wouldn’t be surprised if Stalin forbade them to emigrate.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Gabriel Conroy says:

                The Germans and Austrian Jews would have fit the definition of refugees before the war itself, being persecuted by brownshirts.
                Likely the Ukrainians as well (the Kossacks were known jew-haters, and responsible for many pogroms), and the Poles to a goodly extent, outside of Warsaw (which is properly not considered Poland, to be frank*, having more contact with the rest of the world)

                *in an entirely different sense than Paris is not France, but a separate entity entirely.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Will Truman says:

        The entire project is in danger of coming tumbling down, partly due to the oversimplification of compassion

        The compassion? That’s what’s being oversimplified?

        Our compassion for the swarthy hordes of strapping young rapists and terrorists with calves the size of cantaloupes who are coming to ravish our wimmen and take our jobs…its the compassion in this sentence that’s the problem?

        Your assumption here is that the racism and nativism is a given and static, and the only variable is the liberal behavior.

        Because its the racist hordes who need to be mollified, appeased and not provoked I guess.

        To pick up on Saul’s Godwin reference, the Holocaust and other genocides happened, not out of a surplus of compassion, but because the voices that stripped The Other of their humanity were the voices that spoke loudest, and the voices of humanity and dignity were terrorized into silence.Report

        • I said “partly.”

          But I know it gets complicated if we want to move beyond comparing people with any degree of skepticism or nuance to those who let Jews die on their doorstep.

          In a democracy, public opinion matters. Disregarding public opinion ends up resulting in a backlash that results in refugees being sent back.

          Because its the racist hordes who need to be mollified, appeased and not provoked I guess.

          In a democracy, public opinion matters. The German and Swedish governments aren’t backing down because they suddenly don’t want to help refugees anymore. They’re backing down because of political necessity. So refugees are being sent back. Doors are being closed. Previously open European borders are no longer open.

          Racism isn’t static. It can be, among other things, exacerbated by policy decisions. Demogogues are strengthened. Right-wing parties gain plurality support in Sweden. I’d like to think smarter policies and approaches could have alleviated things, or could alleviate them going forward. Because I prefer to think that people would err towards generosity towards those in need.

          If you want me to blame the demogogues as well, I do. In greater part than anyone else. I don’t think they’re solely to blame, though, because I think they’re exploiting existing sentiment more than the cause of it (and if the current set of leaders didn’t do it, someone else would to similar effect). I also think that since they benefit from the discontent, there isn’t much point to appealing to them.

          I personally believe that Merkel has done God’s work, and that Europe has a lot to be proud of here and we here in the US do not. But the realities of the situation don’t magically dissipate because you call populations “racist hordes.” And so I understand Germany and Sweden backing away and doing what they had to do. I really doubt they wanted to take off the white armor, but reality (and I suspect some questionable prior decisions) demanded it.Report

    • Avatar James K in reply to Saul Degraw says:


      Whenever I point out the importance of free trade for the world’s poor, I am told by liberals that a government has the right to secure the interests of its citizens, even if that screws over some over foreigners who are much worse off than that country’s citizens.

      Is it so surprising that there are people who feel the same way about letting foreign people into the country?Report

  6. Like a lot of “lessons from history,” the 1940s immigration crisis probably doesn’t teach us what some want it to. The author of that piece doesn’t come right out and say it, but he seems to be suggesting that because the US had a liberalized DP policy in the 1940s and 1950s, it can and ought to do so again. As for the “ought,” I’m on board, but as others have pointed out above, part of the moral urgency for the “ought” is that the US has had strong hand in creating the very problems people are fleeing from. In other words, the US’s role in this case distinguishes it from the 1940s. (While the US can be faulted for its lukewarm engagement with Europe after WWI, for its failure to prevent war in the 1930s, and for its tardiness entering the war, it didn’t *cause* the conditions in the same way it has in the Middle East.)

    As for the “can,” politics now, as Lee suggested above, is different. The parties are more, erm, partisanly divided now whereas in the 1940s, each party had strong liberal and reactionary/racist elements. When accepting refugees becomes a partisan issue, it makes it harder to liberalize the laws that would enable them to come in, and for two reasons. One, as long as one party that opposes liberalization controls either the presidency or at least one house in Congress, such a change is probably almost impossible. Two, the party that does support liberalization probably doesn’t put liberalization as a high priority. Its concerns will be more focused on other things and it will be more willing to compromise liberalization with other goals.Report

  7. Avatar PD Shaw says:

    The historical piece is a poor description of U.S. immigration policy after WWII. The U.S. was still under the Progressive-era ethnic quota system, which remained in place until 1965. The country was dedicated to a long-term policy preferring Northern Europeans who were deemed to be more assimilable. From 1948-1952, most Americans supported a one-time admission of European (not Asian) war refugees under certain conditions. The U.S. ended up admitting a lot of German displaced persons which the European countries refused to accept, a lot of agricultural workers because the U.S. had rural labor shortages from the war, and people otherwise with prior assurances of employment.

    The piece criticizes a law that Truman reluctantly signed by quoting an anti-semetic slur by a Senator who . . . voted against the bill. It both exaggerates and minimizes issues of race and ethnicity to make it appear that there were evil forces that were defeated, when in fact lots of divergent views and characters, and in the end not much changed.Report