America is facing an identity crisis. It’s a crisis that threatens to undermine an identity painstakingly forged over hundreds of years — years during which America became a haven of hope for those seeking a safer, more promising place to build a future.
This Wednesday is World Refugee Day. For many, if not most of us, it will pass by largely unnoticed, especially in the midst of such turbulent times. We are in the middle of a global refugee crisis of unparalleled scale, yet often, it seems we have become accustomed to the pictures and stories of suffering and immune to the pain. Perhaps this is understandable.
Over the past several decades, small cities throughout upstate New York and mid-America have counted on refugees to fill jobs left open as more Americans flock to the coasts and bigger cities. Now, with the refugee cap at a historic low, economic development in these cities is stalling.
Many of us were horrified on Tuesday to see the picture of the bodies of a Salvadoran father, Oscar Martinez Ramirez, and his 2-year-old daughter, Valeria, washed up on the banks of the Rio Grande in Mexico.