The United States’ responsibility

Lindsay Keener | Staff Writer

I have often wondered what it is about America that makes this country so admirable. Is it the American Dream? The idea of the melting pot? Our open arms? If so, America is losing its best traits.

The current treatment of asylum seekers at the border wall by the Trump administration has been nothing but unsatisfactory. Children are being separated from their parents, families are met with tear gas and the United States has closed the border crossing.

Many of the men, women and children are coming to the United States in hopes that they will be afforded protection against the dangers of their home country, not with the expectation that they will be sent away with little to no explanation.

The U.S., a country supposedly built on the principle that “all men are created equal,” is turning its backs on people who are fleeing from the destructive ways of their home countries.

I can’t say I’m completely surprised. The president has tweeted some migrants in the caravan are “stone cold criminals.” Labels such as these, with no proof to support them, are destructive and lead idle-minded people to believe the claims.

The migrants are searching for a place to call home, a place filled with peace and prosperity. Not one made of chaos and destruction.

In following the news, I’ve wondered what the United States’ responsibility is to asylum seekers.

Is the U.S. legally obligated to grant refugees asylum? The 1951 refugee convention states that an asylum seeker should not be returned back to their native country if it presents imminent danger. However, the treaty isn’t necessarily being broken. The United States’ obligation to people seeking asylum pertains to claims made in the U.S.

Nov. 24, President Trump tweeted the migrants waiting for entrance into the U.S. would have to do so in Mexico until their claims could be assessed.

It is decisions such as these that lead to high tensions.

Nov. 25, when the U.S. closed off the busiest port of entry in Tijuana, the Washington Post reported some migrants threw rocks and bottles at military personnel. Customs and Border Protection officers then fired tear gas into Mexico.

Categorizing the migrants as violent criminals following this incident would be a lapse in judgment. They were responding to the lack of support given to them by the U.S. A separate group of asylum seekers participated in a peaceful protest to express their disdain for their current status.

Are these the type of people to be turned away in a time of need? People who have families to care for? Dreams to accomplish? The U.S. is not only ignoring its principles, but the people who believe in them as well.

Talk of what will happen to the asylum seekers is ongoing. Will the migrants be given the chance to experience the American Dream? Will the U.S. ever truly step up to the plate?

My hopes are high, but the same cannot be said of my expectations.

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