What is the story of those who don't make it?

July 23rd, 2014, 3pm

A small exhibition at the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe thoughtfully raises this question of human compassion for those refugees (from violence, political persecution and poverty) who die or are sent back to likely death and suffering. This problem touches countries and peoples from all over the world, although the question usually focuses on what to do about refugees who succeed in reaching another safer country. I have written briefly about this before in relation to the cruel, unkind and illogical Australian asylum seeker policies of the current government.

Overall, especially with the coming disasters of climate change, humane treatment of asylum seekers is a problem for the whole world to face together. In America there are some signs that such discussion has begun, especially in response to the thousands of children fleeing violence in Central America. For example, the exhibition mentioned above is a response to the National Dialogues on Immigration initiative.

Another encouraging sign is a poll recently taken by the Public Religion Research Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization. The survey shows that a majority of Americans say that children arriving from Central America should be treated as refugees and allowed to stay in the U.S. if authorities determine it is not safe for them to return to their home countries.

“It’s unusual to find in the country today an issue where…both Republicans and Democrats [are] on the same side of an issue, and all major religious groups [are] on the same side of the issue, and this is one of them,” said Robert P. Jones, chief executive officer of the Institute.

Adrian, Sanna and Ken said thanks.

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David Wade Chambers

Born in Oklahoma: 30 years in US. 6 years in Canada, 40 years in Australia. Academic field: history and philosophy of science. Currently, teach indigenous studies online at Institute of American Indian Arts (Santa Fe, NM) and Brandon University (Manitoba). Come visit our B&B on Australia's Great Ocean Road. Mate's Rates for Hi community! (http://www.cimarron.com.au)

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