By CHRISTOPHER XIE, political columnist
What do you do when you are confronted with millions of refugees who want, or possibly desperately need, your help? That is the crisis that the nations in Europe are facing right now. Over the last few years, the Middle East, namely Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, has been torn apart by conflicts. Consequently, millions of refugees have fled towards western and central Europe, inundating the nations there. Despite the plight of these refugees, the European Union cannot and should not allow them to pass their borders. Western countries have neither the resources nor the capability to assist and support so many refugees. Likewise, such large numbers of refugees will inevitably be unable to assimilate into western society, creating enormous social, political, and financial problems.
Before we can judge the overall situation, we must first look at the underlying motivations of these refugees. A refugee, as defined by the United Nations, is someone fleeing persecution or war. Most of the people fleeing the wars in Syria and Iraq initially fit this description. However, many of these so-called “refugees” have already passed by safe countries such as Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan, where settlement was also possible. Instead of doing so, these “refugees” paid up to tens of thousands of dollars to smugglers to be transported deeper into Europe where they hoped to reach countries like Germany and Sweden that provide extremely generous welfare benefits. At this point, these people can no longer be considered refugees but rather economic migrants looking to take advantage of better opportunities. While looking for better economic opportunities is certainly reasonable, there is a legal immigration process that has been created for this specific purpose. These migrants are forcing and rioting their way, as seen in uproars in Hungary, into central Europe, acts that are clearly illegal. If these migrants are allowed to push their way into Germany, they will simply be giving a sign of encouragement to millions of other refugees and assuring them that they can do the same with minimal consequences.
At the same time, the most popularly targeted areas for these migrants are France, Germany, and the Nordic countries. These nations are among the wealthiest in the European Union. Even so, as per the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, over half of a million migrants have already relocated to Europe, with another million due to arrive there before the end of 2016. Attempting to support these large numbers of migrants would cause the welfare systems of even the wealthiest of European nations to collapse.
There are also several other potential long-term hazards in accepting these migrants. Currently, migrants are being let into central Europe without identification, background checks, or any sort of documentation. With most of these migrants originating from Syria and Iraq, ISIS’s main area of operation, there are likely to be ISIS operatives among them. In fact, this is corroborated by reports of unidentified male migrants jumping off trains bound to Berlin and running off in order to avoid passing through registration. These undocumented migrants would be impossible to track and detain should they actually be affiliated with ISIS.
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, nearly 70% of migrants in Europe are young single males, most of whom are unskilled. Many of these migrants are accustomed to living in countries governed by Sharia Law, the Islamic legal system. Sharia law, among other things, allows polygamy and restricts the rights of women, rules that would directly clash with those of western society. In one specific case, a male migrant even spoke to a New York Times reporter about his hopes to bring his two wives into Europe with him in the future. Of course, not all of the migrants entering Europe are the same but more than enough of them are strict followers of Sharia Law which is clearly enough to cause an enormous cultural clash within Europe.
As the future generation of policymakers and citizens, we must understand the pros and cons of unregulated immigration. All nations have a cohesive cultural identity that must be protected. Likewise, we know by now how social welfare programs can be stretched to push and exceed their limits, in a detrimental fashion. Because of this, we must understand and respect that in some situations, giving aid may result in only exacerbating the problem rather than alleviating it.