Monday, August 09, 2004

Send us your tired, your poor, so we can kick them as soon as they start to get back up.

Absolutely unconscionable:
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/09/nyregion/09volcano.html?hp

The U.S. has decided to terminate the 'temporary protected' refugee status we gave to 292 people fleeing the volcanos that leveled Montserrat in the 90's. Why? Because their situation isn't temporary, but permanent.

All 292 came here legally, at US govt. invitation; most have been here 7 years or more, with jobs; and many have children who are U.S. citizens. The official US recommendation for the ones with citizen-children: move to Britain, spend 12-20 years there waiting for a green card, and then come back with your children.

Even if this wasn't a moral outrage, it would be an economic one -- the last thing our economy needs is to send people out of the country for their most productive working years, so they can return after a 20 year delay for their retirement and social security benefits. The economic evidence is overwhelming that legally admitted refugees help the US economy, and do not bring the problems associated with illegal immigration.

This brings me back to the core goal I have for this blog -- a lot of religious people approach politics with a sense of outrage about the same old issues, over and over again -- thus, the leaders of the big Protestant churches complain about the treatment of Palestinians, the religious right continues to fight for school prayer, and the Pope is still wondering whether capitalism is a good idea.

I'd like them all to take a 90 day hiatus from being outraged about their old outrages, so that they can all wake up and see the new issues where outrage is justified -- but where positive change is still possible.