A group of 3,000 people goes by different names depending upon where they are, and what they are doing. It also depends upon who is doing the naming.
A group of 3,000 people sitting in classrooms inside a large building could be called high school students. A crowd walking down a street, could be called a parade. Crowds can also be a group of sports fans, protestors, evacuees, …. or refugees fleeing violence or poverty.
Not all students are straight A students. Not all workers protesting working conditions are peaceful resisters…. It has always been part of our human nature that people become the names we call them.
“You can call me any name you like. The only name I respond to is the name I call myself.” An African Saying
So here’s a BOLD idea: What if the refugees, now housed in a large building at the U.S. Mexico border were to be organized like students assigned to classrooms in a high school. Adult students seeking education and opportunity.
All the women, single and traveling with children report to one set of classrooms. All of the men and women traveling together as families report to a different set of classrooms. Single men please check in here.
Is there anyone left outside?
Inside the building, trained instructors in each classroom guide them through a writing assignment, speaking in the language the students understand. Anyone who asks gets help in completing the assignment.
The instructors have been selected for this job because they reflect the skill sets the job requires. They have also been selected because they have exhibited the patience, compassion and empathy needed to help anxious, travel weary individuals take this first, necessary step.
Like high school students, this Class of 2018 is shown how to fill out the necessary paper work for requesting asylum.
Some in the class will be sent out of the room to a “counselor” for disruptive behavior. Some will be fidgety and not pay attention. Some will sit in the front row. Some will stand along the back wall of the classroom. Their goal is the same.
Those who complete this first step will “graduate” to another classroom with another instructor with a another set of skill sets, that includes creative thinking.
What happens to those who graduate from this New School for Asylum Seekers? And, who pays for this simple, direct method of processing large numbers of people who share a common need?
I think you know the answer.
Paying the salaries of instructors guiding a group of asylum seekers through a standard process costs a lot less than housing and arming U.S. soldiers at the border.
In reality, this is a standard process that happens every day at every point of entry into the country. Education and opportunity is what everyone in the world seeks regardless of the country.