The Caribbean Roots of European Maritime Interdiction

One thing that I really liked about this reading was the way in which Jeffrey Kahn connected the stories of refugees that fled to the US, as well as those that fled to Europe. When we were discussing migration in class today, we learned that there are thousands of refugees who are pretty much in limbo…they fled their country only to find themselves in yet another terrible situation. An example of this is when Kahn discussed the bodies of Haitians that washed ashore on the Florida coast. It’s almost as if they’re in a lose-lose situation. You risk your life to flee your country, only to pass away on that journey to “freedom.”

One question that I had while reading this story was about interdiction and how exactly that works. In this reading, it was stated that only six of nearly 22,000 Haitians who were attempting to flee their country were permitted entry into the United States to pursue asylum over an eight-year period. In class, Smoki explained that a refugee can be defined as anyone who fears of being persecuted for race, religion, nationality, political opinion, etc, and is unable to “avail himself of the protection of that country” With that being said, my question is what is the exact criteria that The United States was using to allow some refugees in while turning others away? How exactly does a refugee prove that they are in dire need of asylum? And how in the world did only 6 out of 22,000 people get chosen? That’s .027%

Kahn ended this piece by talking about terrorist attacks (Paris and Brussels) and how that fear can fuel interdiction. I think that’s definitely a valid argument, but how much longer are we going to allow fear to keep us from helping people? He stated that hospitality (housing refugees) can leave a country vulnerable, of course. But, I personally believe that conducting a terrorist attack is probably NOT in the top 100 things refugees are thinking about when they are seeking asylum in the United States and Europe.

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