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Mistreatment of asylum seekers is part of a long history of anti-Honduran sentiments

According+to+Politifact%2C+tear+gas+is+considered+a+chemical+weapon+when+used+as+a+non-domestic+method+of+warfare.+
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Mistreatment of asylum seekers is part of a long history of anti-Honduran sentiments

According to Politifact, tear gas is considered a chemical weapon when used as a non-domestic method of warfare.

According to Politifact, tear gas is considered a chemical weapon when used as a non-domestic method of warfare.

Courtesy of Creative Commons

According to Politifact, tear gas is considered a chemical weapon when used as a non-domestic method of warfare.

Courtesy of Creative Commons

Courtesy of Creative Commons

According to Politifact, tear gas is considered a chemical weapon when used as a non-domestic method of warfare.

Samantha Cienfuegos

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Border patrol agents released tear gas among a large group of men, women and children after a large group of migrants tried to cross the border. There were multiple videos taken at the scene that show multiple adults and children running after being exposed to such a harmful chemical weapon. There were also many photographs taken at the scene.

The most popular ones are of a young girl crying after being exposed to tear gas, and one with that same little girl alongside another child being pulled away from the gas by a woman. These images were enough for me to understand that what was taking place was not okay. A major violation of human rights was committed that day.

Many questions came up after these video clips were released. Questions like: Is it ethical to treat human beings like this? Why is it so wrong to want to seek asylum? Is it even legal to release teargas across a border?

Then, there are other, less desirable questions being asked, such as: why don’t they fix what’s happening in their own country and stay there? Hearing things like that is like listening to microphone feedback at full volume for two hours straight. Both are way too loud and way too wrong.

What went down last Sunday was truly dehumanizing. Treating those people who only wanted a better life for themselves like criminals was ridiculous. All these people wanted was to flee their life of poverty and violence. They just wanted a place where they could start over and improve their lives and the lives of their children.

Still, many Americans believe that it is not our responsibility to help and that they should stay where they belong. They’ve never been more wrong, and that’s saying something because we’ve been wrong about a lot of things. Asylum seekers are in their current situations because of the cycle of poverty and violence that has been placed upon them by the U.S. government.

Their situations are a direct result of the U.S.’s role in their countries. An example of this would be how in 2009, a U.S. military official met with Honduran coup plotters the night before it happened which indicates prior knowledge of the event.

The U.S. was also revealed to have trained Honduran soldiers, which was what ultimately helped the Honduran military drive out President Manuel Zelaya from his position. The U.S. interfering in other countries goes all the way back to 1954, when the CIA plotted to overthrow the democratic President Jacobo Arbenz whose plan was to redistribute land to peasant farmers.

This threatened the massive amount of money the U.S. received from the United Fruit Company, so the U.S. couldn’t let him go through with his intended plans. Their coup eventually triggered a civil war in Guatemala. Both Republican and Democratic administrations are guilty of this, but our current administration is doing us no favors.  I don’t see how America is being made great by closing its borders on people who need it the most. To see how these kind-hearted and fearful people are being treated is absolutely heartbreaking.

I would say, “This isn’t the America we all know and love,” and join many others in this hopeful cheer, but I’d be lying through my teeth. This IS the America that we know and may or may not love. This is the country we live in, and these are the backwards beliefs that America’s foundation is made up of. To make America great again is an impossible cause, because it was never great to begin with. To make America great, we need to tear up the foundation of this country we call home and alter it to create a safer, more accepting place.

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The Student News Site of St. Edward's University
Mistreatment of asylum seekers is part of a long history of anti-Honduran sentiments