Thursday, November 3, 2016

Refugees - The Facts

There are so many posts lately about how horrible it is that the United States is accepting refugees and it's mostly blamed on liberals supporting terrorists, blah, blah, blah. As a lot of you know, one of my major pet peeves is when people don't do the research and make a complaint or statement based on nothing, and this is a great example. Here are the facts about why the United States will accept refugees, and I'm sure that many of you will find it shocking that it has nothing to do with supporting terrorism. And while many folks want to just blame President Obama or Hillary Clinton for the refugee crisis, that's just simply not true.

Many refugees have lost their homes due to war destroying their home and livelihood, and we're seeing see many more refugees on the move due to the effects of climate change such as sea level rise wiping out some island nations or coastal villages. Interestingly, when you start connecting the dots in the Middle East, you can actually track quite a bit of the turmoil to drought conditions where people were uprooted due to losing their agricultural livelihoods due to a lack of water. I could get into this further, but we'll save this "refugee and climate change" topic for another day.

Anyway, over the past several decades, 142 countries have signed on to both the 1951 Refugee Convention and the 1967 protocol. The United States signed on to the protocol in 1968 while President Lyndon B. Johnson was President. For anyone that still wants to connect President Obama or Hillary Clinton to this, he was only 7 years old at this point, and she would have been an 18 year old college student at Wellesley College in Massachusetts.

Under the protocol agreement for the United States specifically, the term "refugee" is defined as ‘A person who owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country…” Also note here, that the term "illegal immigrant" is not a correct description/term for a "refugee".

So...what rights do refugees have under the agreement? In addition to not being sent back to their home countries, refugees have several other rights, including:
- The right to not be punished for illegally entering countries that signed on to the treaty,
- The right to housing,
- The right to work,
- Access to education,
- Access to public assistance,
- Access to courts,
- The right to get identification and travel documents.

There you have it...the facts about refugees and our obligations. We also have to remember that many of our ancestors came to the United States as refugees, and it's probably not a stretch to say that they weren't terrorists.

Finally, if you're interested in more information about the 1951 Refugee Convention and the 1967 protocol, here's the link to a list of what other countries are involved with dates on when they signed their commitment.

Finally, feel free to share this post as you please. I'm 100% in favor in spreading the facts.

@United Nations