Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Debate on asylum for persecuted groups around the world could prove challenging -- the "radical hospitality" idea


I’ve often written on these blogs that the Obama administration and the Congress (and courts, for that matter) can’t afford to send a message that it is OK for people (including children) to enter the country illegally.  Therefore, the administration is very unlikely to suggest that American citizens should take on the personal responsibility of fostering children who entered illegally.  The governor of Maryland has hinted at that, and some faith-based groups say this.

There is a different perspective, however, when it comes to changing the standards for political asylum.  These could apply to people already in the country, possibly illegally, or ambiguously (as in the movie “Documented”), or with visas about to expire.  Or it could apply to people known to want to enter the country from areas where they face danger or persecution.  Logically, this could apply to different situations of persecution:  families in gang-run areas of Central America, Christian or Yazidis in northern Iraq, or LGBT people in Nigeria, Uganda, or other countries hostile to them, even Russia.  Logically the considerations would apply for the immigration policies of various other western countries:  Canada, Britain, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, and the like. 

There could arise a situation where asylum would be feasible only if individual hosts stepped up to provide for them.   At least, it sounds logical to me that policies could be structured around this idea. 
It would certainly stir up debate if President Obama made a statement in a public address to this effect.
  
Some of these considerations applied to the Cuban refugees in southern states in 1980.
  
Chaldean Mark Arabo told CNN (video included) that children are being targeted by ISIS and even beheaded, in what amounts to genocide.

Should the US put boots on the ground after all?  ISIS would not last long against western armies, but then that would make it easier to recruit asymmetric actors into jihad.  ISIS probably doesn’t have the capability to build a nuclear weapon, but great harm might be done in local areas with smaller EMP devices (which can be non-nuclear) or radioactivity dispersion – things that have not happened in the west.   ISIS seems to up the ante on western civilization.  So the engagement of ordinary citizens takes on a new moral dimension. 


A story later Tuesday from Think Progress on the murder of come children in Hondouras after they returned from deportation makes the moral edge sharp.  

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