Our nation was founded by immigrants, and our greatness has been dependent on continued immigration. Our nation is still dependent on immigrants who perform many jobs that our citizens refuse to perform, for example most of our crops are harvested by immigrant workers. With our dependence on immigrant labor it is disheartening to see the many misconceptions held concerning current immigrants. We should understand that there are many classifications of immigrants, of which there are essentially two types those who enter in a legal status and those that enter illegally. The legal status includes refugees.

There is great confusion as to what is the difference between those who seek refugee status and those who enter illegally. Many confuse immigrants who present themselves at the border and to our border agents as illegal immigrants. They are actually seeking a legal status recognized by the United States. Understand that the United States was significant in the development of the international laws that guarantee refugee rights. These agreements were formed because of the experiences refugees had trying to flee Nazi Germany in World War II. The system created helps refugees fleeing persecution or physical harm.  These refugees are seeking a status we have agreed to and have enforced since the laws’ inception. These refugees are entitled to a process that will either allow them to remain in the United States as legal immigrants or be returned to their nation of origin.

Immigrants seeking entry through asylum are only entitled to a hearing to determine their refugee status. They are not entitled to nor do they receive free housing, medical coverage, unemployment, social security or any other benefits afforded U.S. citizens. If they are held waiting for their hearing then they do have a right to have their basic human needs met. If held they should have a bed, meals and their hygiene and medical needs provided for while they wait for a decision on their status. As a Christian nation we have the obligation to treat those that come to our country as we are taught by our faith.

Unfortunately we have a humanitarian crisis at our southern border. The rise in immigrants seeking admission into the United States as refugees is the direct result of President Trump’s rhetoric on closing the border. Because of his threats instead of refugees staying away from our border they are trying to enter before the border closes. President Trump and his policies have turned the problems on our southern border into a humanitarian crisis.

His policies have caused those that are seeking asylum status to be housed in substandard conditions and children have been permanently separated from their families. His decision to not honor the agreements to accept refugees in violation of international agreements are causing more refugees to enter the United States illegally putting all in greater danger. As a Christian nation President Trump’s polices don’t reflect the values we espouse.

JAMES OWSLEY

Greenville

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