UC Santa Barbara
"Hospitality and the Immigration Crisis"
- Author(s): Tobin, RW
- et al.
The recent debate in the United States over the wisdom of “Sanctuary Cities” for undocumented immigrants has once again cast the spotlight on the multiple crises caused by immigration, whether forced or not. The reactions have been strikingly different at the national and international levels. Because the responses are from governments and, therefore, political in nature, they have been contradictory and unsatisfactory. The situation cries out for a return to a belief in and practice of an attitude of welcoming and sharing at the personal level that could then influence institutional and political beneficence. John S. W. Park points out the trite and true of the situation, “[…] when people born in poorer countries want to migrate to a wealthier one to change their circumstances, the reaction at the other end is often not neighborly” (Illegal Migrations and the Huckleberry Finn Problem, Philadelphia, 2013, p. 1). The fundamental fact remains that there are no foreigners, because we are all foreigners. (The pilgrim and the stranger both bear the same name in Latin: peregrinus.) If we can raise the level of debate about immigration above the viscerally political, we can place it in the context of the positive need for a global understanding of hospitality in its long and diverse history and appreciate as well its potential contribution to current discourse.