Sunday, April 14, 2024
HomeGlobalThe Ukrainian refugee crisis is already the biggest since World War II

The Ukrainian refugee crisis is already the biggest since World War II

Biden hugs a girl during his visit to Warsaw, Poland. / AFP

The image of Biden hugging a girl in Warsaw arouses resentment among Hispanics and Haitians due to the contrast with the southern border of the United States

Ukraine has beaten all predictions. In just over a month, the country that Russia wants to annex has spit out four million refugees, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reported on Wednesday, which had initially estimated that figure for the total of the war. .

This is the largest refugee movement in modern history, at least in terms of speed. Syria, another country that has slowly bled to death before the eyes of the world and Russian bombs, took four years to generate four million refugees. For them the border with Iraq was not an option. Europe could not be reached by train, but by raft, through the cemetery of the Aegean Sea or the Mediterranean. And in Lebanon, Jordan or Turkey there were already more than enough refugees, because the latter alone is home to 3.6 million Syrians. However, no one is aware of what the main difference was: those children were not blond, light-skinned and blue-eyed. They weren’t wearing Zara feathers and there were no Leroy-Merlin posters under the rubble of their cities.

The empathy that Ukrainians generate in the West was evident on Saturday in the bright smile of President Joe Biden as he held in his arms a little girl dressed in a pink jacket, just as smiling. “Look at those children! Aren’t they wonderful? They make me feel so proud!”, the North American president cried with satisfaction, who has promised to receive them “with open arms”. One hundred thousand Ukrainians will have political asylum in the United States, compared to the few hundred Haitians that the president allowed to enter after the scandalous images of the border patrolmen chasing them on horseback and whipping them with the bridles last September. Immigration judges took over after deporting them.

Russia attack, live |  Last minute of the war in Ukraine

The photo of Biden in Warsaw with which the White House hoped to move Americans was especially traumatic for some. “The pain of seeing this beautiful photo is unbearable,” Guerline M Joef, executive director of the Alliance to Build Bridges with Haiti, wrote on Twitter. (Haitian Bridge Alliance). “The well-deserved love, kindness, dignity, protection, and compassion given to this little girl was never offered to black Haitian girls at America’s doorstep. Trump said it, Biden showed it.”

Carol Anne Donohoe, executive attorney for the Family Reunification Project, put it another way: “This is beautiful, Mr. President. Now come to the southern border and feel the roller coaster of emotions that you will see in the eyes of Central American and Haitian children. Precisely there the Biden government is preparing to deport a new wave of migrants. The end of the pandemic also ends the emergency measures that Trump appealed to by invoking Title 42, which allows migrants to be returned without further judicial process for public health reasons.

CDC Center for Infectious Disease Control spokeswoman Kathleen Conley is expected to announce this week whether to end the measure or extend it. Since March 2020, an estimated 1.7 million immigrants have been returned to Mexico or their country of origin. Between 30,000 and 60,000 are waiting at the southern border, so the Department of Homeland Security fears a veritable avalanche of 18,000 people a day when the pause is lifted.

Despite the promises, Biden has maintained a good part of the measures implemented by the Trump government without addressing the crises in each country. To Haiti, a place so dangerous that even the president was assassinated in his bedroom last July, the Biden administration has deported 20,000 people, 17,000 after the brutal images of September. At least 45% were women and children, according to the accounts of Steve Forester, coordinator of Migration Policy of the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti.

Even Ivanka Trump boasts these days of having delivered more than a million meals to refugees in Poland. Belkis Wille, a researcher at Human Rights Watch, couldn’t help but gasp when she finally made it to the Polish side of the border last month. “It was amazing,” she told the Democracy Now program. “A man handed me a cup of hot chocolate, a woman a bowl of soup, and someone else a free SIM card. There were people offering diapers, baby food, free transport to other cities… The only thing I hope is that now that we have seen how refugees should be welcomed, we start to extend it to everyone.

Recent posts