It is a fact of life that has been taking place all around the world since the emergence of humanity. We must not forget that the United States is an immigrant society. The native Indian population was forced to surrender their rights at gun point as the new immigrants moved from the east to west, particularly during the 18th-19th centuries. In 2016, Pope Francis seized the crux of the immigration crisis in the starkest of words, saying that migrants ‘are not dangerous but are in danger.’ It seems that the world immigration crisis is in a cultural and moral tragedy. In the West, where wealth and power reside, the attitude toward immigrants is a not simply a philosophical moral crisis but a political crisis as well. The irony is that the imminent problem for the immigrants has been caused in great depth by the foreign policies of the United States and its allies in war-torn countries of Northern Africa, the Middle East and the Southern part of the Western hemisphere over the last 60 years
The inference is clear. The crisis of immigration is tied to wealthy countries of the West. These are societies that have the capitals and the ability to assist those who are in imminent danger and to alleviate the circumstances that are at the roots of their predicament; however, these same rich societies must take significant responsibility for constructing the crises to begin with and have profited from the circumstances that lie behind the quandary that these expatriates have faced. These circumstances have only deepened this immoral crisis. Compassionate consideration on these matters is critical if we are to manage the crises fairly and realistically, with a humanitarian, compassionate and constructive reaction to the massive human problems that we are witnessing now.
Migrants are frequently in extremely dire circumstances of life and death. That is not to deny that occasionally migrants can become a burden on the society that accepts them. The most extreme case is a devastating catastrophe that is rarely studied: that of settler-colonial societies. Here is where the migrants arrive with the full intention of displacing or removing the indigenous population off the land. This is the most vicious form of imperialism, and the groundwork of much of modern global society. Another crisis of immigration is forced migration of slaves, again not usually described as a crisis of immigration. The practice reached its most vicious model in the plantation economy of the American south through the 19th century.
The United States is not only the richest and most powerful country in world history, with incomparable advantages, but also has major responsibility for generating the refugees who have been fleeing, and still are: millions from Iraq alone, not to speak of consequences of the US-UK invasion elsewhere in the region. The record of Britain is hardly better, and part of the motive for Brexit seems to be to make the record even worse. And we should be devoting ourselves to remedying their plight in all of the many ways that we can: by addressing the causes of their flight, by greatly increasing humanitarian aid, by welcoming them into our midst.