While the American media continues to obsess over the latest inanities coming from the presidential campaigns, especially that of the current Republican front-runner, one of modern history's greatest moral and humanitarian catastrophes continues to play out in Europe, as UN officials estimate that another 500 refugees, mainly from Sub-Saharan Africa, died trying to reach Europe last month. See Daniel Denvir's article in salon.com - Europe is a moral wasteland (April 24)


Denvir writes:

"The tragedy won't make headlines for long, and fresh ones are sure to follow. Sub-Saharan Africans, who may represent the bulk of last week's mass drowning, never won much sympathy to begin with. Now Europe, under siege from an insurgent far right, is trying to slam its doors shut on Syrians as well...

...France has imposed a draconian and alienating state of emrgency...and Europe has cut a deal with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, exchanging cash and political legitimacy in return for accepting refugees returned from Greece in contravention of international and European law.

Denvir's article continues:

"The accord is purportedly about safety, but the notion that refugees belong in Turkey and not Europe is simply a racist one. They are mostly Muslims like in Turkey, not Christians like in Europe. Ironically, it is Turkey's Muslim population and it terrible human rights record that have long frustrated its desired ascension to the European Union. Now, Europe has proven willing to trade quite a lot to Turkey, where the human rights situation has deteriorated in recent years, for the sake of ethno-national homogeneity."

What does this all have to do with America? Denvir states:

"The U.S., of course, has behaved even more horribly, accepting roughly total 3.100 Syrian refugees since 2011...That included just about 1.200 of the mere 10,000 refugees that President Obama had pledged to settle by this October."

And, finally:

"The leading Republican presidential candidate, of course, wants to bar Muslims from the country."

Daniel Denvir might well have added that this same leading Republican presidential candidate has pledged to send all Syrian refugees who are already in the US back to that war-torn country, divided between a brutal Russian-backed dictatorship and a monstrous, equally violent and inhuman (if not even more so) militant Islamist terrorist organization.

What does this say about America, a country that was founded as a refuge for people seeking a better life of freedom from persecution, based on the principle of equal opportunity for all, that this same candidate appears to have the overwhelming support of voters in his own party (if not convention delegates, who are facing death threats and intimidation unprecedented in this country's modern history if they vote according to their conscience)?

This same front-running candidate now has a serious chance of becoming America's next president and imposing authoritarian government similar to that which other extreme far right anti-immigrant leaders have brought about in Europe and elsewhere within living memory.

Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School who has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants obtain work visas and green cards for more than 35 years. Roger believes that immigration law is not only concerned with the details of applicable laws and regulations, important as these are, but with basic human rights. Roger's email address is algaselex@gmail.com