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SpoonfulOSugar

European Refugee Crisis Redux

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SpoonfulOSugar

(Note:  I started a separate thread because I didn't want to dredge up old ugliness, plus I couldn't remember if that thread had to be locked.  If this needs to be merged, feel free.)

 

Various news sources are reporting that Europe has passed a milestone:  more than one million refugees entering in 2015.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-35158769

How do countries meet the needs of this population without adversely affecting other populations?

Has anyone read any material with workable solutions?

The infrastructure and logistical issues make my head spin, but the human element makes my heart ache.  I'm wondering where others are in their thinking?

 

(At the risk of being pedantic:  I'm interested in a discussion with facts and demonstrable information, along with well-developed personal opinions.  I have no interest in screeds or rants and would hope people would respect each other and humanity enough to think before posting.)

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Geechee Girl

From an American POV, I know our country should and could do more in accepting refugees for resettlement here. The 30 or so governors who want to keep refugees out of their states are an embarrassment to our country's ideals of welcoming immigrants. I don't understand why we can't follow Canada's example of hospitality. 

http://www.npr.org/2015/11/17/456336432/more-governors-oppose-u-s-resettlement-of-syrian-refugees 

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SpoonfulOSugar
32 minutes ago, Geechee Girl said:

From an American POV, I know our country should and could do more in accepting refugees for resettlement here. The 30 or so governors who want to keep refugees out of their states are an embarrassment to our country's ideals of welcoming immigrants. I don't understand why we can't follow Canada's example of hospitality. 

http://www.npr.org/2015/11/17/456336432/more-governors-oppose-u-s-resettlement-of-syrian-refugees 

This is not a new issue for the US, either.  The Lewiston-Auburn area of Maine has a substantial population of Somali refugees and the rhetoric has been . . . harsh, cruel, inhumane . . . I'm not really sure whether I can come up with a reasonable adjective.  It's been ugly.

I'm sure some of the negativity is simple fear of the "other," and also about shared resources (if they gain, I lose), but I'm a bit puzzled by some elements that are clearly ignorant.

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HerNameIsBuffy
6 hours ago, SpoonfulOSugar said:

The infrastructure and logistical issues make my head spin, but the human element makes my heart ache.  

Really well put and I feel the same way.  I have no answers but wanted to share some additional graphics from the BBC which do a nice job of showing the scope of the problem.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-34131911

 

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SpoonfulOSugar
30 minutes ago, HerNameIsBuffy said:

Really well put and I feel the same way.  I have no answers but wanted to share some additional graphics from the BBC which do a nice job of showing the scope of the problem.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-34131911

 

Thanks, Buffy.  Stats are always of interest to me.

Here's one graphic that caught my eye:

_86549138_eu_asylum_application_origi.pn

I found it interesting that several of the top ten are Balkan states.  I also hadn't thought much about the Ukraine, but that makes sense to me.

Here's an interesting position paper talking about using lessons from the Balkans in the current situation.  To summarize - offer temporary shelter, meet the basic human needs, stabilize the homelands ASAP and repatriate to the homelands as quickly as possible.

http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/europpblog/2015/12/22/the-eus-temporary-protection-directive-as-a-solution-to-europes-refugee-crisis/

Another piece of this appears to be the Roma population, which has a longer term issue of settlement.

I'll be doing some more reading.

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Mercer

I don't think there's a simple or easy answer, but I think the United States admitting more refugees would be a good start. We have the resources and available space to absorb many more than we have been.

Unfortunately, yes, there may be a handful of terrorists who will pose as refugees. There have also been terrorists who have posed as students, tourists, etc. but we don't ban higher education or sightseeing - rather we recognize that having a free and open society involves some inevitable risks, and we mitigate those risks as best we can by screening applicants carefully but not prohibitively. The government can't promise us perfect safety no matter what they do, but I have never heard a compelling argument that refugee resettlement poses an unacceptable risk.

The United States can't fix the refugee crisis singlehandedly, but we can and should do our part.

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sawasdee

Just saw on the news that the US refused admittance to a Muslim family from the UK who were going on holiday to Disneyworld - no reason given. Keep thinking of excited kids, then being refused at check in.

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SpoonfulOSugar
11 hours ago, Mercer said:

I don't think there's a simple or easy answer, but I think the United States admitting more refugees would be a good start. We have the resources and available space to absorb many more than we have been.

Unfortunately, yes, there may be a handful of terrorists who will pose as refugees. There have also been terrorists who have posed as students, tourists, etc. but we don't ban higher education or sightseeing - rather we recognize that having a free and open society involves some inevitable risks, and we mitigate those risks as best we can by screening applicants carefully but not prohibitively. The government can't promise us perfect safety no matter what they do, but I have never heard a compelling argument that refugee resettlement poses an unacceptable risk.

The United States can't fix the refugee crisis singlehandedly, but we can and should do our part.

Yes, I think the US has abdicated much of our leadership and all the moral high ground by our refusal to engage.  

I keep thinking about the legal principle of innocence until proven guilty.  I am pretty sure that at one point, someone said it was better for 99 guilty to go free in order to protect one innocent.  It seems that is reversed - we'd allow 99 innocents to perish out of fear of the one.

And yes, your point about multiple avenues of entry for terrorists is well made.  isolationism seems impractical in the current global environment.

10 hours ago, sawasdee said:

Just saw on the news that the US refused admittance to a Muslim family from the UK who were going on holiday to Disneyworld - no reason given. Keep thinking of excited kids, then being refused at check in.

I have felt for those children, too.

Plus, there's a story today in the WaPo about a new effort to round up and expel undocumented immigrants from Central America.

Current US policy doesn't seem to have much worth emulating.

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LilMissMetaphor

Anyone believing that women are second-class citizens, or otherwise ultimately answerable to their husbands or male relatives, should not be welcomed into a host country.  I don't care if their kids want to go to Disneyland.

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SpoonfulOSugar

I don't know how I feel about some of these standards:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2016/01/25/the-ever-expanding-list-of-european-policies-that-target-refugees/

I understand the idea that refugees shouldn't profit from their host country, but if the country takes all their earthly goods, it just makes them that much more dependent on the country.  Wouldn't it make more sense to work with them to use those resources for their benefit?

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Anny Nym
20 hours ago, SpoonfulOSugar said:

I don't know how I feel about some of these standards:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2016/01/25/the-ever-expanding-list-of-european-policies-that-target-refugees/

I understand the idea that refugees shouldn't profit from their host country, but if the country takes all their earthly goods, it just makes them that much more dependent on the country.  Wouldn't it make more sense to work with them to use those resources for their benefit?

 

Taking goods like cash or gold that exceed a certain limit in value is most likely connected to the laws of  being eligible for basic welfare in the host country.

In many european countries, you need to spend your own valuables first before you will be granted welfare ( for example, you can´t own a house and get basic welfare at the same  time or own a car and get basic welfare- you have to sell it and use up the money first).

 

 

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sawasdee
7 minutes ago, Anny Nym said:

 

<snip>

In many european countries, you need to spend your own valuables first before you will be granted welfare ( for example, you can´t own a house and get basic welfare at the same  time or own a car and get basic welfare- you have to sell it and use up the money first).

 

 

This strikes me as crazy. if you sell your house  then the welfare has to include housing - you need somewhere to live. If you sell your car, in many places this will impact your ability to look for and then work - thus getting off welfare. I can understand being made to sell a second car, or to use savings or investments, but not being made to sell your shelter and transportation.

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Anny Nym
1 minute ago, sawasdee said:

This strikes me as crazy. if you sell your house  then the welfare has to include housing - you need somewhere to live. If you sell your car, in many places this will impact your ability to look for and then work - thus getting off welfare. I can understand being made to sell a second car, or to use savings or investments, but not being made to sell your shelter and transportation.

Ha, see- now I just looked it up properly and it is quite a bit more complicated - I have to correct myself!

 

Apparently for basic welfare, if you own a a second house or a second flat/any land, you have to sell it. For the house you live in, you don´t have to sell it but the state takes part-ownership after 6 months.

A single car you have not to sell if you are disabled or live in a remote area.
 

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samurai_sarah
On 26.1.2016 at 9:56 PM, SpoonfulOSugar said:

I don't know how I feel about some of these standards:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2016/01/25/the-ever-expanding-list-of-european-policies-that-target-refugees/

I understand the idea that refugees shouldn't profit from their host country, but if the country takes all their earthly goods, it just makes them that much more dependent on the country.  Wouldn't it make more sense to work with them to use those resources for their benefit?

@Anny Nym has already mentioned some issues. Another is that the asylum application process can take a very long time, sometimes years. During that time, applicants aren't allowed to work, hence rely wholly on their host country. The backlog is enormous and resources are strained. In some EU countries applicants are allowed to work, but no one hires them, because what's the point of training someone who might get deported any day?

Basically, the taxpayers of the host countries foot the bill. Not only for living expenses, but also for more staff to deal with refugees. And the bill is enormous, which doesn't look good to the taxpayer, who is -after all- the electorate. So, you get measures like this to pacify said electorate for the next election.

It's a futile measure, if you ask me. It's window-dressing for the electorate. And heartless towards refugees. If I had crossed the Med in a dinghy, to save my life, and had brought my family's antique gold and silver spoons (the most valuable thing I possess), then I would be heartbroken to have them taken from me. It's not about their monetary value, it's about my family and memories.

Sure, one could argue that it's only fair that they  pay up for hospitality and safety, but that isn't what asylum is about. Anyone gets asylum, if they're in danger. To ask someone in need for their worldly possessions is extortion, in my opinion.

But I'm not trying to win an election, so I can afford an unpopular opinion.

Edited by samurai_sarah
Typo

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samurai_sarah

And, because the world is a horrible place, this happened: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3422445/HAND-GRENADE-thrown-migrant-centre-Germany-violence-against-refugees-escalates.html

Some criminals threw a live hand-grenade into asylum-seekers' accommodation. Thankfully, the grenade didn't go off- even though the pin was pulled-, so none of the 250 inhabitants got hurt.

This is attempted murder! I hope the police gets whoever did this, and that those criminals get hit with the full force of the law! I'm just so glad that that grenade didn't go off.

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laPapessaGiovanna

I am at the point where I don't read the news anymore.  I can't. Yesterday 25 people drowned in the Aegean Sea , 18 of them were children. 

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samurai_sarah
11 minutes ago, laPapessaGiovanna said:

I am at the point where I don't read the news anymore.  I can't. Yesterday 25 people drowned in the Aegean Sea , 18 of them were children

That's too horrible for words.

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Gobbles

T

2 hours ago, samurai_sarah said:

And, because the world is a horrible place, this happened: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3422445/HAND-GRENADE-thrown-migrant-centre-Germany-violence-against-refugees-escalates.html

Some criminals threw a live hand-grenade into asylum-seekers' accommodation. Thankfully, the grenade didn't go off- even though the pin was pulled-, so none of the 250 inhabitants got hurt.

This is attempted murder! I hope the police gets whoever did this, and that those criminals get hit with the full force of the law! I'm just so glad that that grenade didn't go off.

This happened really close to were I live (by US standards). It is all over the news.

The following is not related to the situation above!

It really is a complicated situation. We have a lot of asylum seekers here and yes, crime went up for the whole town. (I'm not in a position to judge, but the statistic said that mild things like pickpocketing went up a lot during the last year.) I'm a voter for the Green party (pro refugees), so I'm just stating some facts. Take them as you will. There were also attacks on women here during new years, but in my opinion those are terror acts, not some normal refugees with problems. Targeting both, Germans and refugees. 

It is such a complicated situation. I'm glad that I'm not in Merkel's (or any other) position. I have no idea what to do. You have to help the people, but obviously you also have to make sure that they can go back in their countries and end the war there.  

 

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SpoonfulOSugar

@ everyone - I am still thinking about confiscating valuables.  (It really bothers me.)

This story just breaks my heart.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2016/01/30/masked-men-threaten-to-attack-refugee-children-in-stockholm/

05131192.jpg&w=1484

I'm not sure this is a fair image to use - since it's not related to the story, but it makes me maudlin.

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laPapessaGiovanna

This EU is a total failure.

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Arete
On January 31, 2016 at 7:07 PM, SpoonfulOSugar said:

 

I have been in a rage ever since I found out the elitist countries of the EU want to kick Greece out of the passport free border agreement because they feel Greece does not do enough to both stop refugees from coming and processing them when they get there.  Fuck them.  Just fuck them all.  How's that for constructive criticism?

Do they expect Greece to start firing on boats full of refugees trying to cross over?  Because short of doing that, I don't see how Greece is expected to "secure it's borders".  Greece also has no interest in turning itself into a penal colony for refugees in order to "process them" to other EU countries' standards.  They are a very poor country in extreme economic distress who rightly believe that they shouldn't be holding the bag alone for securing the EU's eastern sea border.  Those fools in Brussels can kick Greece out of the Common Border agreement, but desperate refugees will still find other ways in.  Going to suggest kicking Italy out next?

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samurai_sarah
4 hours ago, AreteJo said:

I have been in a rage ever since I found out the elitist countries of the EU want to kick Greece out of the passport free border agreement because they feel Greece does not do enough to both stop refugees from coming and processing them when they get there.  Fuck them.  Just fuck them all.  How's that for constructive criticism?

Do they expect Greece to start firing on boats full of refugees trying to cross over?  Because short of doing that, I don't see how Greece is expected to "secure it's borders".  Greece also has no interest in turning itself into a penal colony for refugees in order to "process them" to other EU countries' standards.  They are a very poor country in extreme economic distress who rightly believe that they shouldn't be holding the bag alone for securing the EU's eastern sea border.  Those fools in Brussels can kick Greece out of the Common Border agreement, but desperate refugees will still find other ways in.  Going to suggest kicking Italy out next?

If you ask me, I think that's very valid criticism.

The Dublin Agreement is, cynically, all about using the Med countries as buffer-zones for the richer countries to the north. And those on the Med, which are harder to reach. Plus, the bitter beauty to this agreement is that throwing Greece and Italy out of Schengen turns our richer nations into fortresses. Sucks to be you.

This whole thing makes me stabby. In conjunction with the Greek debt crisis, it's basically making Greece responsible, when Greece has no resources left. How many times can she cut pensions? But yeah, sucks to be you. Also, we want our money back, once you're done with protecting our borders- at your own expense. Because...sucks to be you /end cynicism

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Arete

I would rather Greece keep it's reputation as the incompetent of the EU than actually start securing its sea borders against refugees.  Because the only way to do that is either kill people or jail people coming over.  No, just no!  

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SpoonfulOSugar
1 hour ago, AreteJo said:

I would rather Greece keep it's reputation as the incompetent of the EU than actually start securing its sea borders against refugees.  Because the only way to do that is either kill people or jail people coming over.  No, just no!  

I think one reason Americans aren't engaging is because we know we don't have a good border solution.  The stuff on our southern border is just grotesque.

Seems to me the EU should be rushing to Greece's side, not treating them like an unwanted stepchild.

I keep having this image of a refugee (I have no clue where I got this romantic notion) sewing loose jewels into the hem of a garment in preparation for escape ahead of an attack.  And then the refugee gets wherever, and the government takes it all away.  It sees like a recipe for black market, bribery and abuse.

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