“Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor” vs. “Invasion!”: Understanding Treatment of Immigrants in the United States by Examining International Laws of War
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Alexander, Laura E.
This paper engages in a thought experiment by applying the legal obligations set out in the Geneva Conventions of 1949 to the United States government’s treatment of Central American asylum seekers arriving at the southern border of the U.S. since 2013. It asks what legal obligations the U.S. government would have toward people who cross the border if those people were either civilian nationals, or soldiers, of a hostile power with whom the U.S. was at war. After demonstrating that current treatment of asylum seekers falls short even of legal obligations to prisoners of war, the essay argues that poor treatment of asylum seekers does not, as a practical matter, deter people from coming to the U.S. to seek asylum. It closes by describing how better cooperation is needed at a global level to deal with contemporary movement of human beings, especially the migration of refugees and asylum seekers.|Keywords: asylum, Geneva Conventions, laws of war, religious ethics, global migration
Rabbi Myer and Dorothy Kripke Center, Creighton University
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