America's Own Refugees: Our 4,000,000 Homeless Migrants

America's Own Refugees: Our 4,000,000 Homeless Migrants

America's Own Refugees: Our 4,000,000 Homeless Migrants

America's Own Refugees: Our 4,000,000 Homeless Migrants

Excerpt

LASHING them southward in panic from the fierce thrusts of the panzer divisions, World War II overnight transformed established citizens of Belgium and France, of Yugoslavia and Greece into vast refugee armies. Since 1937 millions of settled Chinese have had to seek in the hinterland of the Celestial Republic a haven from the Japanese invaders. Sleepless and footsore, unshaven Loyalist soldiers in 1939 defended their last foothold in Republican Spain, while the rear-guard of 150,000 refugees from Franco poured over the Pyrenees into France. And now the vast horizons of Russia and the gloomy marshes of Poland, as well as England's green and pleasant land harbor a multitude of refugees from the destruction and terrors of modern warfare. So it goes also in many another nation and empire of the stricken Older World. All these fugitives from home, safety and wonted work are fugitives from Mars. They are the fugitives of Europe and Asia.

Meanwhile, the purple mountains of our own land look down upon a different army of refugees: 4,000,000 of them. They are refugees of another kind, refugees from the silent gnawing of depression, from the inexorable constriction of a retarded economy. For ten years this army has been growing. Today it is growing still. These are America's Refugees. Not clipper-flown titled exiles; not Old World economic aristocrats. Just plain Americans, mostly young, mostly families; more whites and fewer aliens than in the rest of the population; 1,300,000 of them children. Poor in pocket, but pioneers in spirit. Exiles in the land of their birth -- 4,000,000 of them.

Let not the roaring tramp of youth surging to army camps or defense industries drown out the clamor of these forty hundred thousand; nor let the dust from their martial tread blind our minds with the illusion that defense jobs will soon soak up all . . .

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