Wednesday, September 21, 2016

"Flashpoint: Refugees in America" on ABC Nightline: David Muir covers a Syrian family in California facing backlash out of fear


ABC Nightline aired a 19-minute report “Flashpoint: Refugees in America” late Tuesday, Sept. 20, with a preview (with investigative reporter David Muir) on World News Tonight.  The link to watch (requires cable provider login) is here.

The documentary film showed a Syrian family settling in southern California, in an apartment, getting some assistance from volunteers and social services, and then focused on a girl going to kindergarten or first grade class.  Since I have worked as a substitute teacher, I’m familiar with the way kids often sit on rugs in class in lower grades.  The female teacher was very sympathetic and talked in “baby talk” explaining the country of the new pupil.  (She did not need to say to Gary Johnson, “Aleppo is in Syria.”)

The documentary moves ahead three months to the Paris attacks on 2015/11/13.  The townspeople start to become suspicious of refugees, while right-wing political candidates, especially Donald Trump talk about sending everyone back.  Obviously, the Syrian family would get very frightened. Muir interviews people who pose existential questions as to how much risk individual Americans should take to help others overseas.  There is definitely a sentiment, if you want to help people, take care of your own first.

Muir then travels to Jordan, where he reports on how the US State Department vets the refugees who may be let in.



The last section of the documentary shows the girl getting an award (“Spartan”) for proficiency in ESL form the school.

Wikipedia attribution link for picture from Azraq Refugee Camp, Jordan, by Ewan Stoves, under CCSA 2.0

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