Einbinder, Nicole. 2017. This Woman Fled a Brutal Civil War, and She Knows Today’s Refugees Aren’t So Lucky. Bustle 6 July. <https://www.bustle.com/p/this-woman-fled-a-brutal-civil-war-she-knows-todays-refugees-arent-so-lucky-68239>.
“My experience is that most people want to stay in their homes. I’ve gotten a number of phone calls from people crying because they want to be back home and would be killed if they return,” Elizabeth Kennedy, a social scientist at San Diego State University who researches youth and forced migrants and their families from the region, tells Bustle. “If someone risks their life to make a dangerous journey, there is a fear based upon reality. So, when the courts deny their asylum application there should be knowledge that some of those people will be killed when they’re sent back.”
In 2014, and based on Kennedy’s research, she estimates that 83 people deported back to their home countries by the U.S. were ultimately murdered.
“We’re repeating history,” she explains to Bustle about today’s refugee crisis. “With low-income populations, it seems to be that war has been declared on those groups even though they have the least responsibility in the problem. I feel like those who most like Trump say, ‘don’t think about those consequences because they are outside our borders,’ and don’t realize it also affects us in the long-run.”
On Trump’s pledge to build a border wall, Kennedy acknowledges such a wall does already exist. During President Obama’s tenure in office, deportations reached an all-time high, with over 400,000 peopledeported in 2012. But, they also declined in his last two years, and in 2014 he issued a memorandum to avoid deportations involving people with a status as victim or humanitarian factors like poor health or young children. “A wall is never sufficient to keep people out when you’re fleeing for your life,” Kennedy says. “Your only alternative is death so you’ll do whatever to survive.”