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New U.S. poet laureate on migrant crisis: "We must respond"

Wednesday, September 16, 2015 - 01:00

New U.S. poet laureate Juan Felipe Herrera, the son of migrant farm workers in California, says the world must respond ''in whatever way'' to the plight of migrants and refugees in Europe. Display (no reporter narration).

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DISPLAY (NO REPORTER NARRATION) As the son of migrant farm workers, the new U.S. poet laureate Juan Felipe Herrera knows a thing or two about migration. Having spent his childhood in tents and trailers as his family moved around California, Herrera has been immersed in migrants community his entire life. It was this upbringing that has made Herrera sympathetic to the story of migrants - both here in the U.S. with last year's surge in unaccompanied minors and in Europe, where hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants have arrived this year, fleeing war and poverty. "It's very tragic. It's very tragic. And as human beings we must think about that. And we must respond to that in whatever way, in whatever way. Maybe it's a very personal way. Maybe it's a letter written. Maybe there's a community organization or committee. Or maybe as poets we can write something," Herrera said. The biggest flow of immigrants into Western Europe since World War Two has sown discord across the continent, fuelling the rise of far right political parties and jeopardizing the 20-year-old achievement of Schengen's border-free travel. The crisis has pitted countries that are comparatively open, led by Germany, against those, many in former Communist eastern Europe, who argue that the welcoming approach has made the problem worse by encouraging people to make dangerous voyages.

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New U.S. poet laureate on migrant crisis: "We must respond"

Wednesday, September 16, 2015 - 01:00