Another Refugee Crisis

Let’s go back to March 1938. Fortunately, the Chicago Tribune made their archives available online, so we can see what the newspaper reported at that time.

Setting the scene, Germany has already annexed Austria and well on its way to its other deeds that we don’t have to rehash.  Meanwhile, President Roosevelt and Secretary of State Cordell Hull are appealing to the other nations for asylum for the Jews.


Well, the editors at the Trib had something to say about that.

The Abuse of Asylum

Translation: We don’t want more of those Commie Jew Bastards here.  They are a complete threat to us and our clean American way of life!

Then, the Trib strikes the balance with its letters to the editor with pro and anti viewpoints.

Voice of the People

And President Roosevelt was getting flak from Congress over the idea of extending visas to Jews already in the country.

Roosevelt Plan

We know the outcome to this story.

I guess nothing changes.

Or can it?

15 thoughts on “Another Refugee Crisis

  1. As a percent of population, the small towns of Southern Minnesota have taken in a larger number of refugees than what is being proposed for Europe. It has put a tremendous burden on our schools, health system and social service system. That is okay, we can handle it.

    While it is charitable to take in refugees, one has to ask a hard question. A question that is rarely asked -what effect does immigration have on the countries of origin?

    The people who can get out of places like Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Burma, Laos, Sri Lanka and to some extent, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Colombia and Venezuela are often those with the best resources to leave – in other words, the very people who are necessary to maintain an affluent stable society.

    What is troubling about American and European immigration policy is the way it strip-mines the talent of the world and in times of crisis – digs deeper into the talent.

    This is no excuse for nativists to say, “keep them out” or “send them back when it is over”, but then neither is the blustering of the nativists an excuse to avoid the question.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It is a good question. The Boffin and I have discussed that extensively. After all, he is part of the U.K.’s STEM brain drain that has been going on since the demise of the U.K.’s technical and manufacturing sectors. The U.K. does an excellent job of educating its STEM stars, but it does not know how to employ and bring out the best in them. Many of them go off to greener pastures in Australia, the U.S., Canada, New Zealand, and a host of other places. The Boffin describes himself as “failed Englishman,” if you want to hear his summation of his feelings about growing up in England.

      The same thing is happening with the “freedom of movement” within the E.U. Bulgarians, Polish people, Romanians, etc. are moving to places like the U.K., Germany, France, etc. to get the higher paying jobs and better quality of life and backfilling the jobs that the natives do not want to take. So this is also happening between North America and Europe.

      But back to your point, it is an emigration problem just as much as an immigration problem. I agree. All the countries who are losing their best and brightest need them the most. Our refugee policies have to be measured and thought out, but we can’t just twiddle our thumbs and do nothing.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I completely agree.

        My first exposure to this problem dawned on me while visiting a mountain village in Mexico populated only by old people and their grandchildren. There was hardly anyone between the ages of 20 and 50. One can understand why people move for a better life – even if it means the destruction of their community.

        I don’t have any answers…

        Liked by 1 person

        1. The one benefit I can think of to the countries of origin is that so many immigrants send money back to their families. But the cost is terrible–especially when parents have to leave their children behind.

          One aspect of this that not many people are talking about is that Europe (and I believe the US) have aging populations. The immigrants tend to be young and dynamic–only the strongest can face that sort of journey–(and in some migrant groups, well educated), and for all the nativist screaming, the US and Europe should really be saying thank you, we need you.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Good point, Ellen.

            And in an odd riff on that idea, hundreds of thousands of American seniors are going abroad to retire. It is like, we will swap your kids for our seniors. I, for one, would like to see Medicaid cover all treatment abroad, it would save a bundle.

            Liked by 2 people

            1. Some people are saving Medicaid a bundle. They are living abroad and already have ties to those countries in question. For example, The Boffin and I could retire to somewhere in the E.U. (if the U.K. decides to stay a part of it), and we would pay into our new country’s benefit system to get the healthcare we need. So we would not be touching Medicaid at all.

              Liked by 2 people

    1. It is understandable being a diverse, manufacturing city full of immigrants during 1938, and it had and still has its fair share of conservatives too. If you are referring to Chicago politics, the only “ism” that really ran and runs it is “cronyism”. It just happens to be flavored by the Democratic party, and people of all ideologies can come and play ball with the right connections and payoffs.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. So much of history feels like rinse, recycle and repeat. Too many “never against” that become hollow. I truly hope that something has changed that makes a definitive difference this time. I hope a groundswell of compassion can translate into compelling political action.

    Liked by 1 person

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