Thursday, June 28, 2018

Mike Pence's False Immigration Distinction

Mike Pence visited Venezuelan refugees in Brazil, offering them rhetorical support, along with a small amount of aid for countries receiving them. That's tricky because he is also attacking refugees coming to the United States. Check out how he distinguishes between them:

"Back in our country we face a crisis on our southern border as many seek to come into America for a better life," Pence said. "The families that Karen and I met today who have fled from Venezuela came here to Brazil not to seek a better life; they came here to live, to survive. And the families we spoke to today told us again and again how you desire to return to Venezuela and restore freedom in your land."
Somehow, immigrants in the United States are not trying to "live" or "survive." 

"So I think there is a clear distinction between people in Central America who make an often dangerous journey attempting to enter our country and the people who are literally fleeing from Venezuela to survive," he said.
We know very well that thousands of Latin American migrants are fleeing to survive. The United Nations has documented it. Human Right Watch has documented it. Amnesty International has documented it. (Sarah Bermeo also has a nice blog post on the non-economic reasons for emigration from Central America).

There is no distinction to make. The conditions in Venezuela and, say, Honduras are not exactly the same. But in both cases, individuals and families are making the wrenching decision that they are no longer safe in their country. Jobs are scarce and violence is high. They are all trying to live and survive, and feel they cannot do so at home.


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