Thousands of men, women and children from the Middle East and Africa are fleeing to Europe as their countries are embroiled in conflict and war. We are now in the midst of the world’s worst refugee crisis since the Second World War. Within the past few months, the number of refugees has increased drastically, thereby triggering a dilemma for Europe. With hundreds arriving to countries such as Greece and Italy daily, the European Union is hoping to find a way to distribute these refugees across Europe to avoid putting a heavy burden on one nation. However, European Union countries are not keen on taking in refugees as the influx would strain their economies. Germany and France, which are expected to receive the highest number of immigrants, have already argued that an emphasis should be placed on how many asylum seekers they have already accepted. Spain has argued that its economic crisis should be taken into consideration with regards to receiving immigrants. While none of the European Union countries are keen on accepting these immigrants, compromises must be made in order to save the lives of thousands escaping from violence in their home countries.
An important fact to note is that while European leaders refer to these groups as “migrants,” they should actually be called refugees. Families arriving on Europe’s coastlines everyday are not choosing to leave their home countries in search of a more comfortable life. Rather, they are forced to leave their homes to escape war and persecution. If they choose to stay in their home countries, they face the possibility of death and poverty. Hence, the risk of avoiding danger outweighs the risk of migrating to a new country. A large percentage of these refugees come from Syria, Afghanistan and Eritrea. Syrian refugees have been forced to flee their country because of a civil war that has crippled the country since 2011. While Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey have opened refugee camps, they are at full capacity and are facing an economic drought. Eritrean refugees have fled a totalitarian society where gross human rights violations are committed. The government conducts hundreds of arbitrary arrests and initiates public torture of its own citizens. Furthermore, military conscription is compulsory for both men and women. Often individuals are abused and forced to serve longer sentences than the required eighteen months.
It is, however, not surprising that when refugees arrive in a new country, they are disappointed with the reality. While they expect life in Europe to be easy and fulfilling, the opposite usually ensues. Settling in a new country means that refugees will face financial struggles and discrimination. Realizing that one’s degree from back home does not equate to a degree from one’s new country results in lower paying, lower skilled jobs. In addition, some Europeans have pursued an anti-immigrant policy stance that makes refugee settlements even more difficult.
The refugee crisis has proved to be costly for Europe. Although many refugees arrive each day, European leaders are unsure as to how to distribute them. Some countries are weary of burdening their own economies and henceforth, accept only a small number of refugees. However, accepting less refugees does not abate the problem of continued war and persecution in certain parts of the world. Instead, it only leaves refugees stranded and desperate. Hence, giving them a safe home is the only solution to this crisis.