One of the many problems that society faces today is the rise of xenophobic and anti-refugee sentiment. This is a particular issue in the United States in recent years, because the Trump administration is undeniably anti-immigration, especially concerning the migrant caravans traveling to the Mexico-United States border, in response to which President Trump has sent troops to the border. Supporters of this action might argue that it is a merely a precaution to keep dangerous people out of the country. However, the majority of those making up this caravan are not criminals, and most are in fact families with children. This viewpoint of immigrants is dangerous, because it creates a narrative that all foreigners (especially those from less developed countries) are dangerous criminals who must be prevented from entering the country at all costs. In Orwell’s 1984, this kind of thought led to the kind of zealous anti-foreigner that allowed Oceania to bomb boats full of refugees and film it for entertainment purposes. Although real-world society will hopefully never reach this kind of fever pitch, fear-mongering about refugees and foreigners is very much a real occurrence.
One possible partial solution to this problem is simply education. Knowing the truth about what refugees may do to the economy, or about what people are fleeing from, or about whether refugees are really a “threat to society”, would show citizens that although there are still valid concerns about immigration, the strawman being presented by many is not true. One of the ways this can be implemented is insuring the use of free press, and pushing more people to be vocal about the true nature of the issue. Another implementation is informing students about the issues. Social studies classes could inform students of the numbers: how many people are immigrating, who they are, and how they are treated here. If children, teens, and young adults can be taught about immigration early in their lives, they can grow into more informed citizens. Schools should not be leading students to any conclusions, however. They should be presented with clear evidence and form their own opinions about refugees and immigration.
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In the end, people’s concerns come from valid places. It’s a gut fear, that people coming in from outside might push the current residents out, or take their jobs, or cost too much money to take care of. But these fears shouldn’t stop citizens from considering what immigration will truly do or bring to their country, instead of being convinced by fear-mongering done by people who just want more power. The inscription on the Statue of Liberty reads, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me”.