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Thou shall not return a refugee to persecution. Nation-states declared they had learned that critical lesson from the tragedy of the Holocaust by enacting international refugee conventions and protocols. Today, as refugees seek safety, they find fortress-like liberal democracies building walls of steel interlaced with legal strategies that undermine the international protections forged from the fires of the Holocaust. Consequently, refugees drown in the Mediterranean, die in the Mexico-United States desert, become detained in overcrowded refugee camps and unofficial street shelters, or become victims of criminal gangs. Nation-states have all too often abdicated their responsibility to refugees. This chapter explores this interlocking struggle between Christian hospitality toward the outsider and Christian refusal to offer that hospitality in support of national security. Christian beliefs that encourage submission to governing authorities and prioritize the nation undermine international law to the detriment of not just refugees but also citizens and the world community.
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