Should Countries Receive Refugees?
November 15, 2017
It is our moral obligation to help these people who are suffering from the many hardships they have to go through.
According to the UN Refugee Agency 65.6 million people are forcibly displaced worldwide and 22.5of those people are refugees. This means if we stop receiving refugees, these people will be forced back into their war-torn home.
Refugees can also become a benefit to society. Almost six million jobs are unfilled in the US (Advisor Perspectives). Refugees could take advantage of this and create a new life for themselves while contributing to society.
Many refugees are also well-educated individuals who have many useful skills they wish to contribute to their new home. However, their chances of doing so are being prevented by living in refugee camps. Many of these camps have horrible conditions.
For example, the Kakuma Refugee camp in Kenya is home to 184,550 people. Malnutrition is rampant and overcrowding has led to the spread of many diseases. Resources are overtaxed and the occupants have small opportunities to further their education. Not only are these refugees living poorly, they also take up a lot of the government’s money and are unable to contribute to society.
If we can help these refugees become assimilated into society, we not only fulfill our moral obligation, but also allow the refugees to earn themselves a new life while contributing to society.
With the ongoing refugee crisis in Syria and Myanmar, there have been countless stories of the brutal and inhumane conditions that the refugees have to go through. Public furor and moral responsibility has pressured many countries to take in a countless number of refugees, some, more than they can handle.
“If [refugees] aren’t assimilated then they can’t be working productive members of society and then they become a burden to taxpayers…” says Mrs. Anderson, history teacher.
In the US, a developed country, each Middle Eastern refugee is estimated to cost American taxpayers $64,370 in their first five years living here. Though this is not a huge burden on the US, this same number can cause disastrous consequences in the less developed countries surrounding Syria and Myanmar where a large number of the refugees are gathered.These countries have to divert their attention from developing to keeping the refugees alive and comfortable.
Refugees also compete with local citizens for resources, like food, land, housing, and medical supplies. This sudden and massive demand for natural resources disrupts the balance between consumption and regeneration of resources.
In Somalia, it is estimated (by the UNHCR) that a camp of four thousand refugees needs approximately 10,000m of wood each year for cooking. The standard volume of wood in Somalia is about 50m per hectare. This means that the average refugee camp will clear about 500 hectares every year. Many who live in three to four year-old camps have to walk several hours just to get wood because all the trees around and in the settlement have been cleared.
Many less developed countries also have a hard time integrating refugees into society. This creates social problems. Forced idleness leads to criminal tendencies among young men and it’s no surprise that there have been many complaints about rising crime rates in refugee areas.
Michael Glenn (‘19) says, “Any large influx in the population definitely can bring problems, there definitely can be crime and it can be hard to maintain such a large influx in population in such a short time.”
So, is it really fair for a local citizen to have to share resources and pay to take in refugees, who not only fail to contribute to society, but also create security problems?
The answer is, it’s not. But the main problem does not lie with the refugees. Refugees can become a great benefit to society if they are integrated properly. However, in less developed countries, this is hard to do. So, though it seems morally wrong to close the borders on refugees, it is understandable and sometimes necessary.
From a moral standpoint, it is definitely our responsibility as global citizens to help fellow people in need. However, we cannot blindly pressure countries to take in refugees at the expense of the development of the country or the local citizens. If a country has the capability to take in refugees, then they definitely should. But if not, then rather than pointing fingers, we must do our part and lend a helping hand.