The Safety of Refugees and Asylum Seekers is Incompatible with a Deportation Ban


Joe Biden was on to something when he told a group of immigration protesters at a campaign event last week in South Carolina that they listen to Bernie too much. It is now becoming clear that the hecklers who “confronted” Joe Biden are members of a Bernie Sanders front group.

As this photo taken from a Reddit thread demonstrates, the group, Movimiento Cosecha, is supporting Bernie Sanders for president, based solely on the statement that he would impose a moratorium on deportations if he becomes president. Carlos Rojas, the man confronting Biden, is one of the group’s most prominent members and its listed press contact.

Apparently, this one commitment is all it takes to garner this group’s support. Bernie Sanders’s record of scapegoating immigration as a drag on American wages appears irrelevant to this group. Never mind that Bernie Sanders was against the Kennedy-McCain comprehensive immigration reform bill in 2007 even receiving a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.

But let’s truly understand the full scope of this group’s radical nature: what they are demanding would not simply mean an end to effective borders. Far more importantly, it would put immigrant communities - especially refugees and asylum seekers in grave physical danger.

92% of central American refugees treated for mental health by the international humanitarian organization Doctors without Borders experienced a violent event in their country of origin or in route to the United States through Mexico. 68% of patients surveyed en route said they were victims of violence while passing through Mexico. 39% reported attacks and violence in their home countries as their main reason for fleeing. One in three women on the journey has been sexually abused.

These are not perpetrator-less crimes.

5.6 million Syrians have fled their country in the wake of Bashar Al Assad’s Russia-backed war crimes against his own people. Shamefully, far too few have been accepted in the United States after Donald Trump severely limited President Obama’s generous limits of refugee resettlements in the US.

The people fleeing these aghast humanitarian crises deserve the protection of our laws, the support of our elected officials, and the welcome of our communities. The gangs, war criminals, and terrorists who perpetrated the terrifying violence categorically do not. Neither do their partners and accomplices in the United States.

Doctors without Borders has condemned the Trump administration for declaring Mexico a safe place for Asylum seekers because of the violence and abuse migrants faced while en route through Mexico to the United States. It makes no sense that the United States should be sheltering the perpetrators of those violence, should they manage to step foot within our borders chasing their victims. It makes no sense to protect foreign nationals who commit the same crimes within our borders.

The threat of deportation to innocent, law-abiding people who have put down roots in the United States is unacceptable. The threat to refugees and victims of violence and war of an indiscriminate ban on all deportations is just as grave.

The moral imperative to protect, defend, and welcome the victims who are fleeing violence in their home countries is fundamentally at odds with an indiscriminate ban on all deportations.