Written on: June 1, 2020
Informed Voting Matters
To have a bigger impact on our care for Earth, our common home and its resources, consider the politicians you vote for and the companies you support with your wallet:
(From: EarthBeat, an exploration of Laudato Si’ through a social, political and spiritual lens)I
The first focus is the treatment of ‘Strangers” or Immigrants.
THE EARTH CHARTER
PRINCIPLE I: RESPECT AND CARE FOR THE COMMUNITY OF LIFE
Pope Francis writes, “…fear deprives us of the desire and the ability to encounter the other.” And again, “Compassion strikes the most sensitive chords of our humanity, releasing a vibrant urge to ’be a neighbor’ to all those whom we see in difficulty.” “It is not just about migrants; it is a question of seeing that no one is excluded.” (Sept. 29, 2019)
United States, Bishop McElroy (San Diego, CA) writes, “…the culture of exclusion has grown so dramatically in the last three years. Racial injustice is on the rise… Immigrants and refugees, who have been at the core of America’s history as a source of vitality and richness, are portrayed as a cause for fear and suspicion in our society rather than of solidarity. The culture of exclusion has unleashed a poison of animosity against immigrants… On virtually every question of human life and dignity the growing culture of exclusion in our nation reinforces and propels cleavages that are highly destructive to all of the goals that lie at the center of Catholic social teaching” (2020).
Catholic Social Justice Teaching for Refugees
Refugee by law must be allowed to enter our country (US Code 8)
United Nations definition of refugee : A person unable or unwilling to return to his or her home country, and cannot obtain protection in that country, due to past persecution or a well-founded fear of being persecuted in the future “on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.”
In 1968, the United States acceded to the 1967 UN Protocol to protect refugees.
US Congress incorporated this definition into U.S. immigration law in the Refugee Act of 1980.
In response to world needs
Unofficial refugee camps in Mexico’s northern border towns have become commonplace in the last year as the U.S. requires asylum seekers to wait in Mexico as a result of the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP).
2 thoughts on “Informed Voting Matters-First Focus”
One thing important to note is the definition of asylum seekers. By International Law and our own law we must admit those who are fleeing from danger in their own country.
The present administration has blocked families and children seeking protection and instead is delivering them to life-threatening dangers by unlawfully returning asylum seekers to Mexico while their case is adjudicated, turning away asylum seekers at the border, “metering” entry and forcing asylum seekers to wait months to even apply for protection, rerouting asylum seekers back to the persecution they fled, and trying to categorically deny asylum to those fleeing their homes by traveling through another country.
It is most certainly true that America has a legacy of embracing people from around the world fleeing persecution and war. After World War II, the U.S. helped lead efforts to assist 650,000 displaced Europeans who had fled in fear, were expelled and were victims of Nazi crimes and terror. Congress passed the 1948 Displaced Persons Act to accommodate them. Five years later, the Refugee Relief Act of 1953 aided refugees from Italy and East Germany escaping Communist regimes, adding another 250,000 refugees over four years. In the 1950s and 1960s, we welcomed Hungarians, Cubans and Czechoslovakians also escaping Communist oppression. In the 1970s, we opened our doors to an estimated 300,000 political refugees from Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. The Refugee Act of 1980 created the Office of Refugee Resettlement and office of U.S. Coordinator for Refugee Affairs and raised the annual ceiling of admissions to 50,000.
Under Obama, that number soared to nearly 100,000 annually. The idea that we’ve abandoned our humanitarian leadership role because of this refugee resettlement reduction is ludicrous. Overall, since 1975, the U.S. has resettled more than 3 million refugees. Under Trump, the U.S. still accepted more refugees than any other country in both 2017 and 2018. On top of that, America forked over nearly $1.6 billion to support the U.N.‘s refugee resettlement campaign. Moreover, America remains the largest single country provider of humanitarian assistance worldwide. Total U.S. humanitarian assistance was more than $8 billion in fiscal year 2017, covering food, shelter, health care and access to clean water for millions.