The current US administration is deliberately conflating Central American refugees fleeing terror with economic immigrants. AG Sessions has even decided that gang violence and domestic abuse do not equate to terror in order to justify sending refugees back to the countries from which they’ve fled.
The actions of the administration finally hit the consciousness of Americans and the World when we became aware of the policy to take children from their parents, sending them hundreds of miles away, making contact difficult, if not impossible. The backlash forced a backtrack on that policy, but it now appears that the children are being used as bargaining chips and hostages. If the parents want to be re-united with their children, they must give up their legitimate claims to asylum and be sent back to the terror from which they fled.
To learn more about the conditions in Central America that are creating refugees and the stories of several refugees, check out this website on the Central American Refugee Crisis.
As an Anthropologist, I try to create activities and projects for students in my college classes that encourage them to learn more about themselves and others. Last semester, I decided to take that a step further by having the students do a Capstone Project that would also serve the community.
On the first day of class, the students are randomly assorted into groups. The name of each group is that of one of the world’s remaining foraging populations. Their first activity is to learn about the group and share that information with their fellow group members. They will sit with their group members throughout the semester and do activities with their group.
The Capstone Project is the final group activity. Each group is assigned a different aspect of a current refugee crisis. Using an anthropological perspective, they must research that crisis. From their research, they create a slide presentation that will be shown to the class during the final exam period. All students evaluate each presentation as part of their final exam grade.
During the semester break, I select from the information the groups have gathered to create a blog page devoted to that refugee crisis. The page is part of a new blog devoted to Refugee Crises. Each semester, students will study a new crisis and new pages will be added to the blog.
This Capstone Project provides students with a tangible result that helps embed in their memories the most important theme of Anthropology: Build Bridges, Not Walls.