The Case Against Syrian Refugees
So much controversy exists among the countries that are currently debating whether Syrian refugees should receive asylum. Per different editors and bloggers, many reasons exist that determine whether a country will be more accepting of refugees. In this blog, I will be breaking down why some countries do not want refugees to come in as well as more general reasons being thrown around against Syrian refugees.
After multiple terrorist attacks since the last year, France has been persistently on high alert: In Paris and in the rest of the country, police officers and soldiers patrol the streets to prevent potential terror attacks. January’s attacks targeting a Jewish supermarket and editors critical of Islam have not helped to bridge the rift between France’s growing immigrant population and its white majority. Although only 7.5 percent of the French population is Muslim, conservative politicians are worried about changes in demographics: Jean-Francois Cope, who later became the president of France’s major UMP party, said in 2012: “There are areas where children cannot even eat their ‘pains au chocolat’ because it’s Ramadan.” Cope was referring to a story about a non-Muslim child whose chocolate pastry was snatched during the Muslim month of fasting.
Being confronted with such provocative statements, President François Hollande continued to follow the country’s guidelines to regard all citizens as equal. What might sound like a logical and supportive idea has worrying implications. Many French migrants feel neglected by the country’s government because the “all citizens are equal” approach has until recently limited most affirmative action programs. Such programs, which are common in the United States, would be necessary to help sons and daughters of migrants escape poverty and job discrimination. France, however, does not collect data on its citizens’ race, ethnicity or religion, which has made it difficult to prove discrimination.
However, smaller studies have shown that applicants with foreign-sounding names have much lower chances of getting jobs, and another survey documented a feeling among many children of immigrants that they are not considered as French by others.
In France, it might be not so much the absence of migrants that is a threat to its future, but rather the government’s difficulties in finding a way to assimilate and support a large share of the country’s neglected population. All this explains why the French willingness to accept more refugees will likely remain fairly limited.
Contrary to France, many Eastern European countries face a population decline. Nevertheless, they refuse to take in more refugees. Hungary, which has recently built a border fence, has become the most prominent case: The country’s prime minister claimed last week that he was defending European Christianity against a Muslim influx. “Everything which is now taking place before our eyes threatens to have explosive consequences for the whole of Europe,” he wrote in the op-ed. “We must acknowledge that the European Union’s misguided immigration policy is responsible for this situation.”
The country’s demographic decline, however, could also be considered critical: By 2030, Hungary’s population will have decreased by 5.8 percent. The country is among Eastern Europe’s most rapidly shrinking nations. Others are performing even worse: Demographic research institute Infostat recently concluded that Slovakia was rapidly aging and concluded its society had “to be prepared for … the integration of a higher number of foreigners (often from very different cultures).” In recent days, Slovakia made headlines for exactly the opposite approach: It publicly announced it would accept only Christian refugees — no Muslims. Other countries with similar demographic forecasts, among them Estonia and Bulgaria, also want to limit the influx of Muslim refugees.
There might be reasons for such thinking: high unemployment and weak economic performance, for instance. Academically, there’s no consensus on whether population growth always leads to economic growth. However, Eastern Europe’s policies will not simply be forgotten: countries like Hungary and Slovakia probably won’t attract many Muslim migrants in the future, even if they should suddenly realize they urgently need younger foreigners.
Looking at countries like France and Hungary gives us some of the reasons why Syrian refugees are not being adopted into some countries:
1. Europeans are still scared after several terrorist attacks. Apparently, terrorists are the torching automobiles and using violence against police and other agents of the state all across Europe. In addition, the pressure in Islamic enclaves to ignore the sovereignty of the Republic and conform to the rule of sharia.
Not long ago in Britain, a soldier was killed and nearly beheaded in broad daylight by jihadists known to the intelligence services; dozens of sharia courts now operate throughout the country, even as Muslim activists demand more accommodations. And it was in Germany, which green-lighted Europe’s ongoing influx of Muslim migrants, that Turkey’s Islamist strongman, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, proclaimed that pressuring Muslims to assimilate in their new Western countries is “a crime against humanity.”
2. Having immigrants coming in does not guarantee economic growth. Even though some European countries are slowly suffering population-wise, the question still stands — can they accommodate so many refugees flooding in? How will the people react? In France, signs of discrimination based on name or ethnic background may designate whether a refugee may even get a job.
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