Antipathy toward refugees isn't new [Letter]

Dan Rodricks' report about Marylanders who are less than welcoming of Central American refugee children is not surprising ("Refugee crisis comes to Md.'s doorstep," July 22).

Refugees have always faced a mixed reception in their host countries. Hannah Arendt wrote movingly of the European refugee crisis during the 1920s and 1930s, when millions of displaced persons were set loose in every direction following the devastation of World War I. They suffered greatly in their host countries because many local citizens felt threatened by the influx of so many outsiders.

Today's refugees are no different. Their presence puts similar pressure on our boundaries (and those of many other nations), and like their predecessors, they reflect the failed politics, the failed economics, and the resulting violence of their home countries.

The reason we're having so much trouble preventing refugees from streaming across our borders is that the utter desperation prevailing in their home countries is far weightier than any enforcement efforts we may bring to bear.

Until that desperation is ameliorated, these refugees will never stop searching for a better life elsewhere.

Howard Bluth, Baltimore

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