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  • Gross Misunderstanding About Immigrants


    There seems to be a gross misunderstanding about the rights of the families being ripped apart along the border, so I thought I’d provide some definitions of whom it is we are referring to, that is the children we are now incarcerating and separating from their mothers. The word incarcerate seems harsh, but I’d spent too much time with men and women locked behind bars, not to know what a prison looks like. An asylum-seeker is someone who is seeking international protection abroad, but hasn’t yet been recognized as a refugee. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 14), of which the US is a signatory, states that everyone has the right to seek and enjoy asylum from persecution in other countries. These can be refugees, i.e., individuals who have fled their own country because they are at risk of serious human rights violations there. Because their own government cannot or will not protect them, they are forced to seek international protection. The 1951 UN Refugee Convention, of which the US is a signatory, protects refugees from being returned to countries where they risk being persecuted. So, let’s own up to our obligations and not punish people, among whom are kids, who are legally protected. Finally even if, these poor immigrants were determined after due process to have perpetrated an illegal entry, they would only be charged with a misdemeanor, never, that is never requiring per-trial incarceration. Someone may disagree with immigration policy, but you cannot sensibly argue with the idea of due process, that is the mechanism the framers wrote into the constitution to protect each and every one of us against an arbitrary detention.

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