“Block” Spots

A friend and I were discussing the recent natural disasters, and those to come, in the U.S. right now, and she brought up a wonderful point she had read about online. We were talking about the evacuation of residents in Florida north to Georgia, Tennessee, and other states at a safer distance from the hurricane. Here is a summary of what she said: These people are leaving their homes to escape the possibility of death, but mostly the danger that can come along with this immense storm, and we are all told to open our homes for these people; Now, imagine if Georgia and all these other states closed their “borders” and did not allow any of these people from Florida to enter their states and left them stranded in their homes, to fend for themselves against the hurricanes; How inhumane would that be? Well, it actually is no different than what we have been doing today and in the past few decades. We deny those people seeking refuge from entering a safe space as they escape the horrid conditions of their homes, no matter what they may be.

The lives and futures of these migrants and refugees who are seeking asylum/refuge are in the hands of unqualified workers at these “Hot Spots.” These people have to wonder if their story and lives are “bad enough” or “dangerous enough” for them to be granted refugee status. It’s shocking to see that these workers determine who “deserves” to gain refugee status and to decide their fates. Clearly, if they are willing to risk their lives to complete the horrendous journey that allows them to touch European soil, they must be escaping a place or past they cannot endure or return to, yet, most of the time, they get sent right back to it (depending on if Morrocco goes through with the deportation correctly or not). How can you listen to these people’s life stories and determine that they can be sent back to live it again? With the unbelievably high rate that sub-Saharan Africans are rejected from refugee status, it’s not surprising that many times they decide to go under the radar and stay out of the system rather than risking being deported if they are not granted refugee status. I imagine this to be a very hard decision to make, however, since it also means they may never see their families ever again, nor return to their hometowns, and most of those seeking refuge in Europe go in hopes that they can make enough money to help their families and maybe one day bring them to Europe. But, all of that is taken away as soon as they make that decision, and they are left to scour for low-paying jobs that don’t require documentation. They end up on the streets again, begging for food and money when they can’t find work or when the pay is not enough to sustain their lives, but this time in a country foreign to them and that doesn’t want them.

They leave their homes in hopes of finding something better in Europe, but instead, they face a different kind of hardship. What used to be an organization that aims to provide homes for refugees (even though economic interest was at hand), now aims to keep these refugees and migrants out of their countries to suffer and prevent them from seeking safety and a better life. The racism and bias that goes into the determination of the status of asylum-seekers prevent thousands of Africans who are desperate to find a new home and a better life from even gaining a small chance at that opportunity.

I question whether this idea of everyone having”human rights” truly exists, because the way these sub-Saharan Africans seeking refuge are treated is far from being human, and any rights that we all humans are supposed to have, never existed for them and never will exist if we continue these actions.