Too often, migrants and refugees are viewed as "other" - not like us. In recent days Donald Trump Jr. compared the Syrian refugee problem to a bowl of Skittles
In this episode, Leonard Doyle of the International Organization for Migration walks us through the worldwide crisis of tens of millions of displaced people, from families fleeing from war and terrorism to young men and women who overstay their visas in search of a better life. We look at the definitions of these terms - so often glossed over in our discussions of the crisis.
Using personal stories and speaking from years of experience working with migrants, Leonard makes a powerful case for all of us to see migrants as people like ourselves. This is the first small step we can take in responding immense humanitarian challenge.
"When you say the word 'migrant' people tend to have an image in their head," Leonard tells us. That may be a negative image "because there is so much toxic discourse about them from our quite opportunistic political leaders."
Established in 1951, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has offices in more than 100 nations and works with governments and non-governmental organizations to promote humane and orderly migration, for the benefit of all.
The movement of peoples from much of Africa, West Asia and The Middle East “is the global phenomenon of our time," says Leonard. "It's kind of the last flick of the globalization monster in a way. We had free trade in global goods and services. This is the bit they didn't plan very well... But people aren't stupid. They watch television and see a better lifestyle happening somewhere else. We've kind of empowered them with our globalized media and globalized trade."
A summit of world leaders at The United Nations this week put the migrant crisis more firmly on the global agenda. In his address to the U.N. General Assembly, President Obama called the refugee and migrant crisis "a test of our humanity."
This episode also considers the views of voters in the U.S. and other nations who are fearful that the rising numbers of immigrants from nations with distinctly different cultures could lead to lower wages, rising unemployment and higher crime. Dismissing or marginalizing their concerns can lead to to populist anti-immigrant rage.
Join Richard, Jim and Leonard for a lively and often moving conversation.