Birth and Borders

Dr. Alexander’s article, “The freedom to move isn’t a basic human right,. It depends on where you’re born” completely opened my eyes to the pre-determined nature of the migrant crisis. We are most often concerned with how to alleviate the problems migrants face, but it is so important to look into why they are put in these situations in the first place. This crisis is so difficult to alleviate because the underlying factors are impossible to change: a person is born where they are born, and no one can change that. It is also incredibly challenging to change the associated stigmas with a person’s home country, which contribute greatly to their ability to move about the globe. However, one thing that is able to change is what defines a country’s border.

The term “border” is widely considered to be a specific line (as I have always thought) that separates two areas, but in reality, it can take on a multitude of different forms. Many countries are now expanding their borders out onto the seas or into other countries, in order to prevent migrants from obtaining asylum closer to the main population. The two assigned articles discussed how the U.S., Australia, and the E.U. have adopted policies that permit the coast guard to patrol the surrounding waters and either apprehend and detain them or send them back to the country that they came from. I was astonished to learn that Guantanamo Bay actually serves as a migrant detention center, in addition to holding war prisoners. This is just another example of how powerful nations are able to cover up any acts that might diminish the way they are perceived. Human rights are violated when these migrants are routinely being tortured via waterboarding and cable-tying, and general public has no idea. The statistics are even more astonishing, but nonetheless reflect the general trends seen throughout the migrant crisis worldwide. In 1990, only 6 out of the 21,461 Haitians who were interdicted were allowed into the US to pursue asylum claims over the next 8 years. It is evident that in extending the scope of borders, the US has successfully been able to limit the impact that migrants are having on their mainland.