Focus on Immigration, Fourth Perspective: Hospitality


(gentle piano music) (old time music) ♪ It’s now quite a nation
of wondrous population ♪ ♪ And free from every king ♪ – [Man] There’s an international
human right to hospitality. This is what references claim. Nations have a duty to
welcome such people. ♪ America ♪ In addition, I think
that nations also have a special duty towards people
who are claiming hospitality to offer possibilities, to offer
procedures and institutions to which people seeking
hospitality can be integrated into that society. ♪ You’re like a
sweetheart of mine ♪ ♪ From ocean to ocean,
for you my devotion ♪ (calming music) – I think the best
example of this goes back to Immanuel Kant, who
in 1795 published a book called Perpetual Peace. In it, he posed a plan to
eliminate war and conflict among nations, and one
of the requirements that he said had to be
satisfied was there must be a condition of, as he put
it, universal hospitality where everybody has the
freedom to walk the earth and to be received
in foreign nations without danger to them. So, it’s really a
sense that in a world of many different nations and
then many different peoples, you have to have a means of
dealing with those outside precisely to avoid larger
dangers of conflict. – Pennsylvania’s history
is one of welcome. William Penn sets up this
new space to welcome people who don’t have a home. He goes out of his
way to include people who are feeling marginalized
in other parts of the world. People who have been persecuted, especially for their religious
beliefs, like the Quakers, the Mennonites, are offered
a home here in this new land to be more welcome, to be
more hospitable to the people who are most in need of that. I think it’s a part of our
origins story in this state, and we don’t necessarily
always remember that. My Mennonite fore bearers
came here speaking German, for the most part. They came here as rural
farmers, and they found rural places to farm and to
continue to speak German. They were given space
to simply continue to be who they were best at being,
rural people, quite people, people who held on to their
ethnic and religious traditions, and continued to do
so for many years. We understand more
about the people that we’ve been
hospitable to than we did before we offered
that hospitality. And I think that’s how
you create a better world, is by understanding stories,
by getting some sense of connection with the
people who we other or who we keep
ourselves distant from. Those kinds of things
are very transformative. (calming music) – Poland was invaded, and the entire eastern half
was taken by the Soviet Union. And the entire western
half was taken by Germany, so there wasn’t
a Poland anymore. And some people on both
sides of what became an international border chose
to flee to the other side. It was a calculation that
my chances of survival, my chances of a good
life are gonna be better on one side or the other. So this initial choice
to leave their homes basically means that these
people become full time refugees and they keep getting moved for the next five to
seven years or so. As you can imagine, there’s
huge variety of responses to these people in the places
where they end up settling until the war is over. And some of the ones that
come up a lot in their memoirs are the Central Asian people,
Uzbeks, Kazaks, Tajiks, very distant culturally from
these rather urban Polish Jews. But there’s a lot
of beautiful moments that Central Asian culture
is known for hospitality. And a lot of people
describe getting invited into homes where everyone
sits on the floor around a shared pot of dinner. And the family life,
the patriarchy of it, but also the kind
of closeness of it. So there’s a certain
appreciation of beauty
in that culture. They don’t speak a language
in common, but yet they have this shared ritual language. So there’s also some
meaningful interactions that take place there. – Most Americans, if they
trace their lineage back far enough, come from some
other part of the world in which they were not
welcomed, and they come here seeking a better life. We all once benefited
from the hospitality that this land has to offer. – Around refugees, I do think
the policy is unprecedented. We are looking at the
lowest number of refugees allowed to be admitted
since the history of the Refugee Act of 1980. Contrast that to the
Obama Administration where there was a road
map provided to the public about how a refugee enters
and a commitment to increase the number of Syrian
refugees allowed into the United States. – Many small cities in the
US have really benefited from hard working refugee
and immigrant populations. And that’s part of
our national story, and it shouldn’t be forgotten
that what we’re seeing today in small cities is part
of an American heritage. In the ’90s, Somalis starting
arriving in Columbus. And right now, there
are many refugees from many other parts
of Africa and elsewhere. The refugee communities
in that city have done wonderful things for
revitalizing and developing and creating this really
cosmopolitan sphere. And I think the city of Columbus
has really recognized that and celebrated it. So it is a really wonderful
success story in many ways. ♪ From all sorts of places
they welcomed all the races ♪ ♪ To settle on ♪ – [Woman] I think
that hospitality plays
an important role in our national story and
in our national history. You know, the symbol of
the Statue of Liberty as a beacon of freedom and
of welcome and of hospitality to people in need
from around the world, I think is a central symbol
of our national culture and our national heritage. ♪ America, I love you ♪ – I think every person on US
soil is important to culture. We sometimes hear the phrase: “We are a nation of immigrants.” Immigrants really
enhance American culture and improve it, improve American
culture in their own right. – [Man] But it all comes back
to that idea that hospitality is sometimes just taking those
first small, simple steps and watching the ripples kind
of unfold from that point. ♪ Hundred millions
others like me ♪

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