Refugee

There are a few refugee-related facts about which people from across the political spectrum mostly agree. Each and every day large numbers of people leave the nation that they’re from in order to attempt to enter another nation illegally. Often they make that journey with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Some of those refugees have spent huge sums to be transported by smugglers. Quite a few of them die before they arrive at their intended destinations. And those who do make it often - by their arrival - create humanitarian and economic challenges for their new countries. From there, however, there’s lots of disagreement and different feelings. To wit:

On one side are people who react to the refugee crisis with compassion and with the belief that the United States should lead the world in providing support to refugees. Many with this viewpoint ask: shouldn’t people who are living amidst war do whatever they can to stay alive and keep their family members alive? Many point out: America is a nation of immigrants; shouldn’t we support today’s immigrants and those needing to immigrate? And some argue: the current refugee crisis is in part due to U.S. development and national security policies that have been disastrous for many ordinary people in less-developed nations, in fact creating war, starvation, and dictatorship.

On the other side are people who react to the refugee crisis with fear and anger. Some argue that many refugees are people who crossed borders illegally, and such people are criminals. Others point out that some terrorist attacks are perpetrated by refugees. There are those who believe that the U.S. government ought to spend the taxpayer’s money to help Americans, not on refugee assistance. And then there are those who believe that refugees who are allowed to live in the United States take jobs and income from Americans, and that that is not right.

QUESTIONS TO PLAY WITH:  

-Would you welcome refugees into your community? Into your home? What sorts of people? How would you know what sorts of people they were?

-If you were a refugee, how would you convince people that you were no danger to them?

-How should the U.S. deal with refugees fleeing conflict? Mind our own business? Donate funds but keep them away from our shores? Welcome them in?

-If a national catastrophe happened in the U.S., creating waves of outgoing refugees, how would you want other countries to behave towards us? How would you convince them that we were not a danger to them?

Dialog Tips: 

Living Room Conversation Guide: Muslim Refugees & National Security

Contributors: 

Phil Neisser

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