From a talk this week by David Miliband, head of the International Rescue Committee and former British Foreign Secretary:
- 20 million refugees have fled their country in fear of persecution for racial, ethnic or political reasons.
- 40 million people are internally displaced within their country.
- 200+ million migrants have left their country in search of a better life.
- 1% of all refugees went home last year.
- 17 years is the average duration of exile.
- 86% of refugees and displaced people are in poor countries.
With states collapsing, particularly in the Middle East and Africa, the increase in horrendous violence and disrespect for humanitarian law, and “the absence of legal routes to hope and dignity,” this is a crisis no wall can contain. Globalization isn’t just a political policy, it’s an international reality; and “America First” code language is not the answer – particularly if you consider these numbers from Steve Phillips’ Brown is the New Black:
- In the last 50 years, people of color have increased from 12% to 37% of the U.S. population.
- Latinos have grown from 9 million to 54 million; Asians from 2 million to 18 million.
- Our population increases by 8,000 people a day, 90% of whom are non-white.
Clearly these are unsettling numbers for the dwindling white majority – even if they are a fulfillment of America’s self-image: a melting pot; a nation of immigrants; a land where all men are created equal and anyone can grow up to be president. Maybe it’s a cause for celebration instead of fear. And it seems a good time to recognize how much we have in common with the rest of the world.