The Refugee Crisis
How it works
Many people become refugees due to political conflict, religious persecution, and environmental degradation. Currently 25.4 million people have been forced to flee to other countries as refugees (Huber and Reid). Many refugees struggle to find a safe place to live once exiled from their country. Not all places welcome refugees; therefore, they are at risk. In the debate over the refugee crisis, one controversial issue has been that refugees be allowed to seek refuge in America. On the other hand, many conservatives contend that they should not be permitted to come to America at all.
Whereas the previous two solutions are extreme, others maintain the idea to help refugees by setting up camps in their countries, instead of moving them to new places. Everyone in America is trying to protect someone. Whether it is conservatives, liberals, politically moderates, or lawmakers, they all agree that they need to provide safety for others. On the contrary, they have different beliefs on who has the right to be protected by the United States government. There are several positions on whether or not refugees should be able to seek refuge in America.
How it works
The refugee crisis has recently been a major topic in the U.S. immigration court of law. On September 17, 2018, Trump announced that they would only be allowing 25,000 refugees into America, when in the previous year it was 45,000 (Davis). With this being such a contentious topic, many different groups have their own opinions. Some of the groups are the refugees, the federal government, and the political parties such as conservatives, liberals, and moderates. Many believe that allowing refugees into America will cause problems for the citizens there.
While the others, who are the complete opposite, believe that refugees will benefit the economy. The ones in the middle find a way to compromise. They want to provide aid to the refugees, just not in America… in their own countries. Each position is doing what they think is just. In order to figure out which one is the most reasonable, one must be mindful of all solutions, while being unbiased.
Most liberals support the idea that refugees should be allowed into America. For instance, the refugees are a low security risk. The refugees must go through a stringent “vetting process”. Specific laws have been set up that allow them to keep a careful eye on the refugees (Park and Buchanan). Evidence of this was in a study performed by New American Economy, they found that nine out of ten communities, who received a plethora of refugees between 2006 and 2015, had less crime (Rueckert).
Statistics have yet to prove that refugees cause an increase in violence and that they conduct terrorist attacks. In fact, there has “not been a [single] person accepted to the United States as a refugee [that] has been implicated in a major fatal terrorist attack since the Refugee Act of 1980” (Levenson). No certain evidence has stated that refugees directly correlate to terrorist attacks and crime. Another reason is that refugees coming to America provides more job opportunities. This in turn benefits the economy. Statistics show that most refugees are entrepreneurs that employ American citizens. In 2015, 180,000 refugees were entrepreneurs (“From Struggle to Resilience”).
Furthermore, statistics on employment rate show that in the year of 2015, the unemployment rate decreased by one million people (Kang). As seen above, there was an abundance of refugees in that year. In addition, the refugees pay taxes. Research finds that after eight years of paying taxes, refugees end up matching the amount that it cost to get them into the country along with their living expenses.
The total cost for them to stay in America is $107,000 and they end up paying $129,000 in taxes, which leaves the government with a $22,000 profit (Bondarenko). Not only does the government practically lose nothing, but they also gain extra money that can go towards benefiting refugees or American citizens. Those who agree with bringing refugees to America believe this option is the most optimal because it is the most ethical.
A majority of extremist conservatives believe that the United States should not allow refugees to receive care in their country. The major problem with having refugees in America is that crime and violence are increased. In 2015 through 2016, “violent crime rose by about ten percent and more than 90% [of those crimes] were attributed to young male refugees” (Alkousaa). Citizens lash out in retaliation for the refugees overrunning their cities, which brings about violence. In turn, the refugees feel the need to defend themselves and to fight back.
If two types of people do not want to be in the same area, then things can end up going badly. Secondly, bringing refugees over to America is expensive. Statistics show that it costs nearly $15,000 to bring in the refugees and to give them background checks. It costs an extra $92,000 to provide them with insurance and essential services (Bondarenko). A study done by FAIR shows that before 2016, taxpayers were only paying about $1.8 million; however, at the end of 2016, they were paying nearly $8.8 million in order to reach how much it costs to bring over refugees (O’Brien and Raley).
Not only does it cost the government money, but it also causes the citizens to pay out of pocket. Lastly, the refugees take the jobs of Americans. A little over 67% of male refugees and 54% of female refugees are currently holding a job in the Unites States (Rush 1). In order to do that, many of them take available jobs that were originally set up for American citizens. The refugees must be willing to take the jobs that most Americans will not do. Many conservatives see that as refugees wanting to take the rights of the citizens, when they are not citizens of America.
The male, American born citizens are only at a 60% employment rate, while male refugees are at a 67% employment rate (Capps and Newland 16). The refugees are holding more jobs than the Americans are, which makes it seem like they are taking the jobs of the U.S. people. Overall, the advantages for not having refugees in the United States are that there will be less crime, there will be more money for the government, and more open jobs for American citizens.
The people in between the two extreme parties’ claim that the best option is to help the refugees by setting up camps in their countries. Another important factor is that it would cost less if Americans were to set up camps rather than paying for transportation to the U.S. Research shows that it costs “$3,000 per refugee to set up a camp in Jordan, when in America it would cost over $30,000 per refugee” (Williams). Setting up camps in their home country is almost a tenth of the cost of bringing refugees to America.
Part of the money saved could help improve the refugee camps, making them more suitable. Most refugees end up going back when their country is safe again. Studies show that about two out of three refugees end up going back to their home countries when the violence is over (Huber, Reid, and Koenig). If the refugees were in their country in the first place, returning to their homes is less complicated. A thirteen-year-old boy named Adeed Ayoub, told his refugee story and said that he loves his home country because the people there are his friends and just like him (“Safe or Not, Syrian Refugees Slowly Start Coming Home”). He cannot just abandon his people and leave parts of his family in Syria; he must go back to them.
The last reason is that the majority of refugees feel more comfortable staying in their own country. There are multiple accounts of refugees who do not know how to speak English and would rather stay in surroundings familiar to them. Being in a place where they feel safe allows them to “cope with having to be exiled” (Shearlaw). They are forced to leave their countries, which makes most refugees fearful. Research shows that most refugees, if given the choice, would like to stay in their countries, rather than to go far away (Swanson).
Making the refugees as content as possible is the most effective way to help them. Even a six-year-old girl, named Rukia, said that the most difficult thing about being a refugee was that her and her family had no real place to call their home (Miller). Most of them do not feel welcomed or free in America. This position allows the refugees to feel more comfortable and safe without the U.S. government having to worry about the costs to bring them to America.
While there are many valid positions on where refugees should find protection, the most just solution is to provide camps in the countries of the refugees. Conservatives are happy with this decision because this eliminates foreign refugees coming into America. Liberals are able to contribute aid by providing a safe shelter and the refugees benefit by being able to stay in their own countries where they are able to keep their own culture and language. Since no one can prove whether refugees benefit or hurt the economy, the best thing to do is to find the least problematic option. This solution finds the common ground between most everyone related to this topic.
Choosing the middle solution between two extremes allows for the best of both worlds. It is most often the correct one too. Furthermore, the other two options fall short in their reasoning for being the optimal solution. For example, how can the government be sure to protect the people of the United States one-hundred percent of the time? In addition, are refugees really taking the jobs of American citizens or is that just what conservatives like say? In order to accommodate the refugees, people need to understand the consequences of each side’s plan of action. They need background information and will need to decide which option is more just for them, but only after they hear what each side has to say.
- Alkousaa, Riham. “Violent Crime Rises in Germany and Is Attributed to Refugees.” Reuters, Thomson Reuters, 3 Jan. 2018, www.reuters.com/article/us-europe-migrants-germany-crime/violent-crime-rises-in-germany-and-is-attributed-to-refugees-idUSKBN1ES16J. Accessed 28 Sept. 2018.
- Bondarenko, Veronika. “Study Finds Refugees Actually Pay the US Government Thousands More than They Get from It.” Business Insider, Business Insider, 13 June 2017, nordic.businessinsider.com/how-much-do-refugees-cost-us-taxpayers-2017-6/. Accessed 28 Sept. 2018.
- Capps, Randy, et al. “The Integration Outcomes of U.S. Refugees.” Migration Policy Institute, June 2015.
- Davis, Julie Hirschfeld. “White House Weighs Another Reduction in Refugees Admitted to U.S.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 1 Aug. 2018, www.nytimes.com/2018/08/01/us/politics/trump-refugees-reduction.html. Accessed 28 Sept. 2018.
- Fleming, Melissa. “3 Real Stories from Refugees.” World Economic Forum, 17 Dec. 2015, www.weforum.org/agenda/2015/12/3-real-stories-from-refugees/. Accessed 21 Sept. 2018.
- “From Struggle to Resilience: The Economic Impact of Refugees in America.” New American Economy, research.newamericaneconomy.org/report/from-struggle-to-resilience-the-economic-impact-of-refugees-in-america/. Accessed 21 Sept. 2018.
- Huber, Chris, and Kathryn Reid. “Forced to Flee: Top Countries Refugees Are Coming From.” World Vision, World Vision Inc., 26 June 2018, www.worldvision.org/refugees-news-stories/forced-to-flee-top-countries-refugees-coming-from. Accessed 21 Sept. 2018.
- Huber, Chris, et al. “Syrian Refugee Crisis: Facts, FAQs, and How to Help.” World Vision, 10 Sept. 2018, www.worldvision.org/refugees-news-stories/syrian-refugee-crisis-facts. Accessed 28 Sept. 2018.
- Kang, Janie-Lynn. “Unemployment Rate Nears Prerecession Level by End of 2015 : Monthly Labor Review.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1 Apr. 2016, www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2016/article/unemployment-rate-nears-prerecession-level-by-end-of-2015.htm. Accessed 21 Sept. 2018.
- Levenson, Eric. “How Many Fatal Terror Attacks Have Refugees Carried out in the US? None.” CNN, Cable News Network, 29 Jan. 2017, www.cnn.com/2017/01/29/us/refugee-terrorism-trnd/. Accessed 28 Sept. 2018.
- Miller, Tamara. “Refugees Share Their Stories of Loss, Hope and Survival.” Mercy Corps, 28 Oct. 2016, www.mercycorps.org/articles/refugees-share-their-stories-loss-hope-and-survival. Accessed 28 Sept. 2018.
- O’Brien , Matthew, and Spencer Raley. “The Fiscal Cost of Resettling Refugees in the United States.” Federation for American Immigration Reform, 5 Feb. 2018, fairus.org/issue/legal-immigration/fiscal-cost-resettling-refugees-united-states. Accessed 28 Sept. 2018.
- Park, Haeyoun, and Larry Buchanan. “Refugees Entering the U.S. Already Face a Rigorous Vetting Process.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 29 Jan. 2017, www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/01/29/us/refugee-vetting-process.html. Accessed 21 Sept. 2018.
- Rueckert, Phineas. “Do Refugees Cause More Crime? The Facts Say Probably Not.” Global Citizen, 21 Feb. 2017, www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/these-are-the-facts-on-refugees-and-crime/. Accessed 28 Sept. 2018.
- Rush, Nayla. “Fact-Checking a Fact Sheet On Refugee Resettlement.” Center For Immigration Studies, Nov. 2015, cis.org/sites/default/files/rush-refugees-mpi.pdf. Accessed 21 Sept. 2018.
- “Safe or Not, Syrian Refugees Slowly Start Coming Home.” CBS News, CBS Interactive, 2 Feb. 2018, 6:44 a.m., www.cbsnews.com/news/syrian-refugees-returning-aleppo-isis-beaten-lingering-dangers/. Accessed 28 Sept. 2018.
- Shearlaw, Maeve. “Are Refugee Camps the Best Solution for People Fleeing a Crisis? | Maeve Shearlaw.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 25 July 2013, www.theguardian.com/global-development/2013/jul/25/refugee-camps-solution-people-fleeing-crisis. Accessed 1 Oct. 2018.
- Swanson, Ana. “The Big Myth about Refugees.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 10 Sept. 2015, www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/09/10/the-big-myth-about-refugees/. Accessed 1 Oct. 2018.
- Williams, Rob. “This Is the One Thing Britain Got Right about the Refugee Crisis.” The Independent, Independent Digital News and Media, 14 Mar. 2016, www.independent.co.uk/voices/syrian-refugees-will-cost-ten-times-more-to-care-for-in-europe-than-in-neighboring-countries-a6928676.html. Accessed 1 Oct. 2018.