Monday, February 15, 2016

The US Has Its Own Refugee Crisis—One We Created, and Now Must Solve

We know how to help children fleeing violence in Central America. Instead, we’re raiding communities and deporting families.

By Elizabeth Holtzman, The Nation
February 11, 2016

As the coauthor, with Senator Ted Kennedy, of the Refugee Act of 1980, I am dismayed at the US government’s iron-fisted response to the refugee crisis on our southwest border. In the last couple of years, tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors and women with their children have crossed our border with Mexico. Coming from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, the so-called Northern Triangle, these people are primarily fleeing horrific gang violence—violence similar to that found in war zones. In fact, Honduras has the highest homicide rate in the world, with El Salvador not far behind. Failed government institutions, hollowed out by decades of civil war, cannot or will not address this violence—or the unremitting poverty that underlies it.

The US Department of Homeland Security has responded to this crisis mostly with harsh measures intended to deter future inflows.[...]

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