ATLANTIC: "How Should We Talk About Migration Policy?"
May 06, 2018, 10:51 AM
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Back in March, I cited Graeme Wood’s article in The Atlantic, The Refugee Detectives,” about what a scam the refugee racket in Europe is. Now, there are three letters complaining, but Wood is allowed the last word:

Letters: How Should We Talk About Migration Policy?

Readers respond to an article on Germany’s effort to distinguish refugees from economic migrants

MAY 5, 2018

I research refugee flows in the Middle East and teach courses about refugees and human rights at Johns Hopkins, and I found Graeme Wood’s recent article to have some important problems that I wish to draw your attention to. … The tone of the article struck me as deeply suspicious and mean-spirited about migrants’ motives …

Ilil Benjamin
Baltimore, Md.

As program director at the Heinrich Boell Foundation, a German political foundation, I have spent the past two years working with refugees and city officials across Germany and the U.S. on the issue of refugee integration. …

Yet Wood repeatedly describes migrants coming to Europe as a “tsunami,” seemingly unaware of the political minefield he has entered. A tsunami must be stopped before it floods the homeland; the idea of building a wall closely follows.

Most of all, it is troubling that the editorial process did not question Wood’s overarching argument, which employs, deliberately or not, a right-wing, anti-immigrant trope of “good” and “bad” migrants. …

At a time when political parties are shoring up anti-immigrant sentiment among voters across Europe and the U.S., Wood’s piece is irresponsible journalism and should not have been published by The Atlantic.

Hannah Winnick
Director, Transatlantic Dialogue on Democracy & Social Policy
Heinrich Boell Foundation North America
Washington, D.C.

But Wood responds:

Graeme Wood replies:

My article was written to infuriate exactly the class of letter-writer that has responded in tedious triplicate here. They consider it “mean-spirited” or “dehumanizing” to describe the asylum process in anything but the pious language of victimhood. They pretend, feebly, that the distinction between refugees and economic migrants—one enshrined in international law for the protection of the most vulnerable—is morally irrelevant. Refugees’ fates depend on our caring about these distinctions, and it is curious that people claiming to be their champions are most eager to cheapen the categories that protect them.

Ilil Benjamin says asylum-seekers burn off their fingerprints to avoid being identified and removed from Germany to the EU country where they first arrived. In other words, the asylum-seekers do not fear being sent back to Syria; they fear being sent to Italy. …

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