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Global and American Border Dilemmas

August 24, 2015
Plain English Version
In Macedonia. Georgi Licovski/European Pressphoto Agency

In Macedonia.

Massive numbers of people are on the move. Most are fleeing violence and persecution. You might say the lucky ones are simply searching for jobs.

A recent example of mayhem is Macedonia. Thousands of migrants are pouring into Greece. Most are fleeing from Turkey. Greece is not the desired final stop for many. Most want to go on to Germany and other Northern European countries.

One escape avenue for migrants is through Macedonia. The government there tried to stop the flow. Soldiers used stun grenades. Many migrants have become stuck in a neutral zone surrounded by barbed wire.

An observer said the slow processing of requests for asylum is a problem. It was “one of the main reasons for the forming of big crowds” at the border. He added the migrants face “very bad conditions, with no access to toilets. They only have food and water that activists and local citizens can supply.”

What is it like when law and order are in place instead of mayhem? For that, we can look at the way the United States is dealing with children who fled violence in Central American countries.

About 85,000 children came over the Mexican/U.S. border in the last 18 months. The flow was stemmed. The children are here. Now U.S. and state and local courts are hearing the cases for asylum or a special juvenile status.

Bureaucracy and the law are keeping the children and their families in limbo. Abuse or abandonment by a parent must be shown for a child to receive juvenile status. The child has to prove he or she faces a threat to his or her life at home to receive asylum.

There are not enough lawyers to handle the cases. Children without lawyers are often lost in the system.

The immigration debate in the United States is now all political. Some Republicans are scapegoating undocumented migrants. Their positions have nothing to do with important immigration questions. For example, advocating massive deportation means ignoring American law.

There is the Great Wall of China. We do not need the Great Wall of Trump.

In the meantime, the world is often a cruel place for people who want nothing more than to be safe.

Source: The New York Times August 21, 2015


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