Saturday, January 03, 2015

Churches hide refugees (horrors)

The Republicans in the US who are anti immigration will not only lose the Hispanic vote for doing this, but the vote of many Catholics whose ancestral stories remember when they too were rejected for "bringing down wages" and "taking jobs from Americans" and (of course) including a large substance abusing and criminal class among them.

Paddy wagons, anyone?

But the problem of immigrants without visas is actually world wide.

Every couple of months, some country decides to throw out the Pinoys who overstayed their visas. Not just Israel (which of course got the headlines) but Saudi, Malaysia, Hong Kong and various Gulf nations.

Then there are the huge number of refugees that flee Africa via Italy (which was publicized by the Pope's visit to  refugee camp).

Today, AlJazeerah has an article on a church hiding refugees in South Africa. Most are from Zimbabwe.

"The situation is a tough one. You have a lot of people living without legal documentation, with a great deal of hostility from the local population. And if they are able to work, [they face] a great deal of exploitation. And to add to that, regular harassment from the police and officials."
Many of the migrants continue to face xenophobic attacks from South Africans who feel that they should return to Zimbabwe. 

Some of these are political refugees, but often they are economic ones: If one person gets a job, they can send money home to keep the rest of the family alive, not to mention school fees so that their relatives can have a better life.

Ten percent of Filipinos have emigrated, but much is legal, temporary, or they become citizens. But in Zimbabwe, ten percent of the population fled over just a few years from a combination of political oppression and a collapsed economy (partly due to western sanctions against the oppressive government).

Are sanctions ethically just? Although aimed at the gov'ts, they are usually worked around by the corrupt dictators so they affect the ordinary citizens, and the poor most of all.

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