My experience representing refugees has included feasting, praying together and lots of children. I can personally attest to the good moral character of many refugees, and have witnessed a vast majority of success stories in thriving immigrant communities across the US. I believe the US benefits from refugees as they bring current, diverse voices into our national dialogue regarding foreign policy and economic development.
However, immigration attorneys see heart breaking due process violations every day in detention facilities, immigration court and with the USCIS. It happens, you object, and you keep on going with the case. These violations are confirmed to be true years later on appeal, and I yell out “TOLD YOU SO” to the crickets. I know these violations are really hard on people and break them down.
Xenophobia is “intense or irrational dislike or fear of people from other countries”. This article from AILA shows a clear xenophobic bias throughout our government immigration system. The government has given up on having a fair and impartial immigration system and rather supports a harsh and illegal system to deter others from coming. Why? Xenophobia. It obviously exists in presidential politics, but also works as a cultural bias in our government immigration system. The law is there to protect immigrants’ rights and is entrusted to people who are supposed to listen to people’s stories. If the story is is more likely than not true, that means 51% true, then they get to stay. The xenophobic cultural bias cannot allow that to happen or else the floodgates will open and all will be lost. Every one of these violations was perpetrated by the US government immigration system on a person, and also on the Constitution. These widespread violations – including taking of life – evidence a cultural intention to thwart the law. The US immigration system is broken at the place where xenophobic bias meets the enforcement of the immigration laws. Leadership and is needed to address xenophobia and explain the long term benefits of refugees living in the United States because the demagogues – supported by private prison funding – are fanning the flames of fear.