If the future of Europe is decided at the Syrian border, then the future of the U.S. is decided at the Mexican border.
In the same way that Europe is facing a migration crisis of immigrants fleeing their homes to seek refuge in Europe, we are facing a migration crisis of Central and South America immigrants fleeing their homes to seek refuge in the U.S. How our nations face these crises will determine our national identity. We can face them with compassion and justice, or we can face them with fear, hate, and intolerance.
Nobody wants to abandon their homes, their friends, and family, their career, or their culture, but they do when the only other alternative is the near certainty of death for themselves or their loved ones. As Marek writes, this simple fact is often overlooked. It is our responsibility, not as Americans or Europeans, but as fellow human beings, to stand up for immigrants who are fleeing persecution, violence, and war. They are the most vulnerable among us, and they deserve our compassion and protection.
I’m ashamed to know that my country has not only turned its back on people seeking asylum at our Southwest border but has enforced inhumane policies on them, violating their basic human rights by treating them as criminals, even though they are supposed to be afforded protection and justice under international and domestic law.
It is my sincere hope that Europeans will look at the situation taking place in the U.S. right now and reject it. I hope Europeans will hold themselves to a higher moral standard and treat refugees and asylum seekers with dignity and respect.
My own faith in the U.S. has been shattered by the human rights abuses occurring now. We are no longer a shining beacon of democracy.
Text: William Gardner. Photo: Graffiti on a Vienna building from 23 March 2018 reminding of anti-Jewish slogans preceding World War 2. Rami Ali, derStandard.at