Refugees and Statistics

 

Jewish refugeesThe death of one man is a tragedy, the death of millions is a statistic.

–Usually attributed, but probably erroneously, to Joseph Stalin

In the comments on a number of posts concerning the global refugee crisis, some Ricochet members have asked me questions about the refugees’ demographics. A rumor has been circulating that they’re mostly men, and that most are not legally refugees, but migrants. Let me do my best to explain some of what I know.

Begin with legal definitions. The 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights was mostly drawn up by US diplomats; the drafting committee was chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt. The United States voted for it in the General Assembly. The Declaration isn’t a treaty, but it’s considered a customary part of international law. From Article 14(1) of the declaration: “Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.”

The most important documents devolving from it are the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees. The US ratified the 1967 Protocol in 1968. The Refugee Act of 1980 is modeled on the 1951 Convention and in places uses identical language. The key passage is Article 1A(2):

… the term “refugee” shall apply to any person who: … owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country …

Most states that are party to the 1951 Convention or the 1967 Protocol — including the US and all of the EU member states — have incorporated the Convention’s definition of a refugee into their domestic law. People who have been compelled to leave their country of origin as a result of international or national armed conflicts aren’t normally considered refugees under the 1951 Convention or 1967 Protocol, but they’re provided similar protection through other instruments such as the 1949 Geneva Conventions and its associated protocols on the Protection of War Victims and Victims of International Armed Conflicts.

So the definition of a “refugee” is fairly settled and clear. It hinges on “well-founded fear of persecution.” And it is the law in the signatory countries, until it’s legally and constitutionally repealed.

The states in question apply the laws. Typically, the determination is made by an official from a designated government department or agency; the process usually involves interviewing the person who’s seeking asylum to evaluate his evidence and credibility. The burden of proof is on the asylum seeker. He has to prove that he meets the definition of a refugee, and if he doesn’t, too bad. Since refugees often flee with, literally, nothing but the clothes on their backs, my guess would be that more legitimate refugees are turned away than phony refugees admitted, although I do not know this for sure.

Economic immigrants, or migrants, on the other hand, are people who are seeking better jobs and economic security. I’m a migrant. The key distinction is that they can return to their native country, without fear of persecution, whenever they want. Individual states deal with migrants under their own immigration laws and processes, which, obviously, vary considerably. But countries that have signed the 1951 Convention or the 1967 Protocol have committed to dealing with refugees through particular norms of refugee protection and asylum; they have already undertaken specific responsibilities to anyone seeking asylum on their territories or at their borders.

So a great deal of the debate you might be hearing about whether Europe should admit these refugees is nonsense and lip-flapping. It’s not a matter of debate. Countries that have signed these documents but refuse to accept asylum-seekers who meet the established definition of a refugee are breaking their own laws.

Here’s the latest update from the UNHCR on Syrian refugees. It dates from September 6. Now, the UN does have a tendency to exaggerate numbers in emergencies, as we saw during the Ebola epidemic. But even assuming, and this is highly unlikely, that they’ve outright trebled the numbers, we’d still be looking at a massive crisis. In fact, given that these numbers refer to registered refugees, it seems more likely to me that this is an undercount of the number of people who would be eligible for refugee status were they all registered:

Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 10.34.27

The ratio of men to women is almost the same in every age bracket, and more than half are children.

The way the UNHCR determines refugee status parallels the way asylum adjudications are conducted by states party to the Convention or Protocol. Asylum-seekers register with the local UNHCR office; then they’re interviewed by a UN Eligibility Officer who examines their application and supporting documentation.

It’s entirely possible that some or even many are not genuinely eligible, and may well be found ineligible by the states where they eventually seek refuge. They will then be sent back. Naturally, when you’re processing applications in such huge numbers, the interview and intake process will not be as thorough as they would be if you were dealing with a smaller pool of people.

Here’s the 2011 Handbook and Guidelines on Procedures and Criteria for Determining Refugee Status, if you’re curious about the way the UN assesses this. But definitely, when they say “refugee,” they mean “refugee,” not “economic migrant.” You can see from the questions they use that the distinction is precisely the one they’re seeking to establish.

That the UN has declared someone a refugee doesn’t mean every individual state must agree. Every state retains its sovereign right to conduct its own inquiry and assess the petitioners’ claims — and does. But the idea that many of those considered eligible by the UN — or even a substantial minority of them — wouldn’t be eligible in the signatory states seems extremely far-fetched, for the simple reason that the number of Syrians seeking asylum is correlated to the known and rising scale of the disaster in Syria — and likewise with other refugee populations.

Fighting has intensified in almost all Syrian governorates. There’s been a rise in rocket and mortar attacks on Damascus; a rise in vehicle explosions in Lattakia, Aleppo, Homs, Hassakeh, and Qamishli; heavy bombardment in Zabadani and rural Damascus — of course such things turn people into real refugees, not just people seeking better jobs.

Now, is it true that having reached Turkey, the refugees are safe and should thus stay put? Yes for some, no for others. Turkey’s refugee camps have been widely lauded as the best in the world. But the refugees lack legal status, which increases their vulnerability to a range of abuses. Forced and early marriages have reportedly risen compared to the pre-crisis period, for example. Domestic violence and violence against children are high in the three countries (Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq) that accept the most refugees per capita; these risks are increased by crowded living conditions. There is a great deal of prejudice against the refugees, too, as you might expect.

Even those dismissed as mere “economic migrants” are hardly taking these nightmarish risks to flee toward Germany because they reckon they’ll be given a Ducati or a ticket to EuroDisney on arrival. Acute malnutrition among refugee children — five-years-old or younger — is a growing concern across the region, given the collapse of Syria’s health service. Large numbers of children have been out of school during their time in exile; capacity in local schools is overstretched; many families rely on their children to support their households. Thus much discussion of a so-called lost generation of Syrians, who, even if they can ever safely return to Syria (unlikely in our lifetime), will return illiterate, possibly brain-damaged from trauma and malnutrition, and utterly unable to participate in the rebuilding of the country. Unsurprisingly, parents want to get their kids to countries where they might have a shot, at least, at having access to food and medical care, and where they might be able, at least, to learn to read and write.

Today’s legal protections for refugees were drawn up in response to the Holocaust, “barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind.” In other words they were designed, God help us, with exactly the situation we now confront in mind.

Yesterday, according to the usually-reliable Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 161 Syrians were killed. Among them were eight civilians, including a child and an old woman.

Here’s the news from today, from the same source:

Damascus Province:

Mortar shell fell on near the Damascus Citadel, which caused injuries, also two citizens died today and others were wounded by a mortar shell landed at al-Amara area in the King Faisal Street at the center of the capital, while clashes continue between the regime forces and members of the popular committee – General Command against the Islamic Factions in the northeastern areas of al-Yarmouk camp, and information about casualties among both parties, amid shelling by the regime forces on areas in the camp.

Al-Quneitra Province:

The regime forces opened fire of heavy machine guns on the areas in the town od Om Batneh in the mid-sector countryside of Al-Quneitra, while the regime forces renewed the targeting  using heavy machine guns on places in the villages of al-Ajraf and Western al-Samadaniyya in the countryside of Quneitra, no information about casualties.

Homs Province:

The regime forces targeted using heavy machine guns areas in the city of Talbiseh in the northern countryside of Homs, no information about casualties, the countryside is witnessing ongoing shelling and airstrikes carried out by the regime air force where a lot of people were killed and wounded.

If you have the time, listen to this radio interview with a Syrian mother of three in Budapest. It reminds me of my grandmother’s story. She too crossed every border in Europe, while pregnant with my father, trying to find safety. My grandmother didn’t want to go to Germany, of course — even though she too had relatives there. She wanted to go to America. She made it. Her relatives in Germany perished in Auschwitz.

Here we are, still alive. I cannot say I that I intuitively understand why some people feel contempt for these refugees because they’re fleeing a nightmare of savagery beyond all imagination and trying to get their kids to a country where they might have a future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  1. Pleated Pants Forever Inactive
    Pleated Pants Forever
    @PleatedPantsForever

    The statistics in this post are based on all Syrian refugees, not on who is actually travelling to Europe. According to the UN, of those migrating to Europe only about half are from Syria and over 70% are adult men. There is unimaginable suffering occurring in Syria but the statistics of what is happening in Europe do not fit the media storyline.

    • #1
  2. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: Thus much discussion of a so-called lost generation of Syrians, who, even if they can ever safely return to Syria (unlikely in our lifetime), will return illiterate, possibly brain-damaged from trauma and malnutrition, and utterly unable to participate in the rebuilding of the country.

    How would they ever return?  Who will do the fighting to create a safe place to which to return?  There is an older and far more successful law here, and that is “women and children first”.  Those men who would be fighting for their country if they wish to reclaim it, ever, and admit that they are economic migrants if they will not.

    Our own fecklessness is one reason this disaster is unfolding — the cowardice of those who never even fought is another.

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: I cannot say I that I intuitively understand why some people feel contempt for these refugees because they’re fleeing a nightmare of savagery beyond all imagination and trying to get their kids to a country where they might have a future.

    We are all fleeing a nightmare of savagery.  Some of us realize it.   Whose future shall we liquidate?

    Continued below.

    • #2
  3. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    Continued.

    Whose turn is it to provide “a future” to those who will not fight for themselves?  Just as open borders, amnesty and a welfare state are a recipe for collapse, this easily avoidable refugee crisis is just another weapon aimed at us.  Not that the people caught up in it are bad or even that there is a master plan in some bad guy’s desk drawer.  It’s just on more of a class of things working against us, and it is aided by those who mean us harm, including this treacherous administration.

    They want the refugees, the illegal immigrants, the cultural upheaval, the race riots, the economic stress, and the building resentment.  If we were not already being abused out of house and home by ridiculous redistributive and economy-killing policies, perhaps we could do more without signing our death warrants.  And that’s assuming that this wave of humanity is not just another Islamist weapon to mow us down.  But that is not where we find ourselves.

    The right answer is to send fighting age men back home and tell them to get busy.  By these presumed-understated numbers, that’s a half a million men.  For that kind of non-US commitment, I would support using US air power to flatten anything that moves without checking with us first, via our very expensive air power.

    • #3
  4. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    Are most of the women staying in Turkey or something?  If the presumed-understated numbers are representative, why are we seeing clip after pic after report of predominantly well-dressed young men?

    • #4
  5. Jojo Inactive
    Jojo
    @TheDowagerJojo

    Pleated Pants Forever:The statistics in this post are based on all Syrian refugees, not on who is actually travelling to Europe. According to the UN, of those migrating to Europe only about half are from Syria and over 70% are adult men. There is unimaginable suffering occurring in Syria but the statistics of what is happening in Europe do not fit the media storyline.

    This is an important point.  Claire, your explanations are very helpful.  But the 72% adult men statistic is from the UN also, as PPF says and supports with his link showing UN statistics on people arriving by boat to Europe.

    • #5
  6. Israel P. Inactive
    Israel P.
    @IsraelP

    No country who signed the 1951 accord anticpated any kind of invasion on the scale of what is happening now. (And the next one will be even bigger.)

    The “breaking-their-own-laws” arguement is more than a bit harsh. The 1951 treaty was not a mutual suicide pact and cannot be enforced as such.

    • #6
  7. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Jojo:

    Pleated Pants Forever:The statistics in this post are based on all Syrian refugees, not on who is actually travelling to Europe. According to the UN, of those migrating to Europe only about half are from Syria and over 70% are adult men. There is unimaginable suffering occurring in Syria but the statistics of what is happening in Europe do not fit the media storyline.

    This is an important point. Claire, your explanations are very helpful. But the 72% adult men statistic is from the UN also, as PPF says and supports with his link showing UN statistics on people arriving by boat to Europe.

    Asylum seekers are arriving by boat in Europe from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan (via Turkey and Greece) and from a lot of other places via North Africa (Libya to ??).

    Perhaps Claire is talking specifically about Syrian refugees and the UN stats are about the total?

    The whole thing really brings home that truism: injustice and violence anywhere threaten justice and peace everywhere.

    (I may have paraphrased, but that’s the heart of it.)

    • #7
  8. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Ball Diamond Ball:The right answer is to send fighting age men back home and tell them to get busy.

    I see your point, but on whose side should they fight?  Assad?  The FSA? JaN? God forbid ISIS?

    Syria has been destroyed by fighting, not by not enough fighting.  You can see why they don’t instinctively want to go and do that – especially if there is no obvious ‘good guy’ in the field.

    • #8
  9. Austin Murrey Inactive
    Austin Murrey
    @AustinMurrey

    Claire, I’ve been told that 39% of the refugees are entering Western Europe from the Balkans (link here from FT, I don’t have a subscription so I can’t see the source article).

    Via Breitbart (boo, hiss!) the UNHRC also notes that 72% of the refugees coming through the Mediterranean are male, in direct contrast to the overall percentages who fled Syria and are officially refugees.

    Germany’s saying that they’ll take 800,000 refugees this year and up to 500,000 per year thereafter.

    Supposing those were all genuine refugees of the Syrian crisis, to keep that in perspective you could take every single African American in L.A. and replace them with two Syrians just this year. How is that sustainable?

    I don’t believe the proper response for Europe is to simply open the gates to people who do not share their countries’ values, cross their fingers and hope for the best.

    Countries that are closer or equidistant to Syria than Germany, in particular, appear to include: Turkey, Lebanon, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iraq, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Egypt, Greece, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Russia, Moldova, Serbia, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Slovenia, Hungary, Austria, Italy, Cyprus, Bahrain, Qatar, the UAE, Oman, Turkmenistan and Yemen. Eritrea and the Sudan may in fact be closer at points.

    Over half of those countries are undesirable not because of lack of safety (although Georgia, Ukraine, Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen, Israel and Jordan are not what I’d consider “safe” for many of the reasons people are fleeing Syria in particular) but because they’re not economically advantageous.

    I know you remember the heartbreaking photo of Aylan Kurdi/Alan Shenu. His father and the family appear to have been living in Turkey for three years – what was the boy doing crossing the Aegean?  Was he fleeing a Turkish civil war I’ve heard nothing about?

    The Syrian refugee crisis is a crisis, but if it is the West’s responsibility at all it is because of the West’s weakness, not because of a lack of compassion.

    If Europe hadn’t retreated under the umbrella of American military power and then elected a succession of politicians whose primary concern was handing out goodies like an indulgent emperor throwing munera to placate the mob they could do the truly humanitarian work of entering Syria, killing the bad actors in that country and return the nation to the peaceful Syrians who have been forced to flee.

    Sadly for all involved that won’t happen, hundreds of thousands of people totally unprepared for a first world economy will enter Europe, migrate to the most advantageous location for work or benefits, form an underclass and then the rot of the welfare states will accelerate.

    • #9
  10. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    Zafar:

    Ball Diamond Ball:The right answer is to send fighting age men back home and tell them to get busy.

    I see your point, but on whose side should they fight? Assad? The FSA? JaN? God forbid ISIS?

    Syria has been destroyed by fighting, not by not enough fighting. You can see why they don’t instinctively want to go and do that – especially if there is no obvious ‘good guy’ in the field.

    If the people of a region or country cannot form a good guy bloc, why on earth would I want them here?

    • #10
  11. Jojo Inactive
    Jojo
    @TheDowagerJojo

    Zafar:

    Jojo:

    Pleated Pants Forever:The statistics in this post are based on all Syrian refugees, not on who is actually travelling to Europe. According to the UN, of those migrating to Europe only about half are from Syria and over 70% are adult men. […]

    [….]

    Asylum seekers are arriving by boat in Europe from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan (via Turkey and Greece) and from a lot of other places via North Africa (Libya to ??).

    Perhaps Claire is talking specifically about Syrian refugees and the UN stats are about the total?

    Right, I think Claire is talking about Syrian refugees registered with the UN, who are mostly in neighboring countries.  No one disputes the crisis there. The controversial issue is more the refugees/migrants who are coming to Europe, and the little drowned Syrian boy got everyone’s attention.  Claire has explained that that boy and his family meet the accepted definition of refugees, because they rightly fear to go back to their own country.  The fact that they had some tiny degree of stability in Turkey doesn’t make them not-refugees.  However, Claire did not make this point, but it would seem to relieve much of the moral pressure on other countries to accept them.

    PPF’s link shows refugees and migrants from all sources coming by boat to Europe, and they show that the little boy’s family was not typical of people trying to enter Europe that way.  Those are overwhelmingly adult men and only half are Syrian.

    • #11
  12. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    Islam has a problem.  Islam is killing Muslims along with everybody else.  If Muslims do not fix Islam, America’s next effort will not be so much of the “assistance” variety.  Now would be a good time to get working on that whole fixing Islam thing.

    This invasion of Muslims driven by Muslims is not at all comparable to a people being wiped out by an enemy, unless you mean Western Civ getting wiped out.  This nation on the move may be composed of sympathetic individuals, but seen from some perspective, in the totally Leigh sense, it is a conquering outgrowth of the most  murderous culture on earth.

    Violent expansionist Islam is back, and it is winning.  What do you think happens in the subject countries after ten, twenty, fifty years?  Why should we accept that?

    • #12
  13. carcat74 Member
    carcat74
    @carcat74

    I just keep in mind this—“figures lie and liars figure”.

    • #13
  14. Marion Evans Inactive
    Marion Evans
    @MarionEvans

    If I were a Syrian, of course, I would do whatever I could to work my way with my family to Germany or Sweden and I would try to settle there permanently.

    But if I were a European, I would worry that my country has not been so successful in the past at assimilating people from different cultures, religions etc, and that this mass immigration is going to cause problems down the road.

    It is better to work on a Syria solution and make these people return to their land after things calm down and the future looks more promising. Their homes may be gone but there will be much work rebuilding.

    • #14
  15. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Claire,

    I commented on the original post about the number of refugees in Turkey 3.5 million and the number in Lebanon 2.1 million only as a barometer of the crisis in Syria. If 1/4 of the population of a country feel the need to flee it with few possessions and into not completely welcoming environments this suggests just how dangerous and awful it is. I was suggesting that this had become evident some years ago yet no action was taken. It is hard to imagine even a shock & awe intervention killing as many people or displacing them. I am not advocating any policy on this basis. However, those who imagine that military non-intervention is a magic formula for humanitarian ends must think again.

    The Holocaust is different as the Jews were dispersed over many different countries in Europe though the majority were in Poland and Lithuania. The only way to get a hold on the enormity of the Holocaust is to realize that there were only 6.5 million Jews in Europe and Hitler killed 6 million. As effective a genocide as there has ever been.

    Again I think that the statistics only provide the context of the relative size of a problem. Of course, to ignore a problem of immense size suggests a severe mental dysfunction of some kind.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #15
  16. Marion Evans Inactive
    Marion Evans
    @MarionEvans

    Pleated Pants Forever:The statistics in this post are based on all Syrian refugees, not on who is actually travelling to Europe. According to the UN, of those migrating to Europe only about half are from Syria and over 70% are adult men. There is unimaginable suffering occurring in Syria but the statistics of what is happening in Europe do not fit the media storyline.

    So the drowned boy on the beach, horrific as it was, does not reflect the actual picture. The 70% (actually 72% per this report) figure gives credence to the notion that the European influx are mainly economic migrants.

    • #16
  17. Mike LaRoche Inactive
    Mike LaRoche
    @MikeLaRoche

    Send them back.

    • #17
  18. Arizona Patriot Member
    Arizona Patriot
    @ArizonaPatriot

    I am a lawyer but have no special experience regarding refugee laws in particular, so I’d like input from someone with more knowledge.  As a matter of legal analysis, I have three initial reactions to Claire’s discussion:

    1.  The quoted definition of refugee refers to a person who “is outside the country of his nationality.”  This wording suggests to me that a potential refugee only obtains that status once he reaches the destination country.  There is nothing obliging the destination country to let the potential refugee enter in the first place.

    This is consistent with shows that I have seen (including a particular NCIS episode) in which characters could not seek asylum while on a ship at a US port.  They would have to get off the ship before the rules governing asylum would apply.  I realize that this is fiction, but it is consistent with the plain meaning of the refugee definition.

    2.  Under domestic US law, and I imagine under international law as well, a treaty obligation may or may not be self-executing.  Thus, even if a country has a treaty obligation to do something, such as harboring refugees, it may not have a legal obligation under its internal laws.

    3.  Under US law, a treaty and an Act of Congress have equal status, and in the event of conflict, the most recent one governs.  Thus, domestic laws enacted after the treaties referenced in the OP may override the treaty provisions regarding refugees.

    • #18
  19. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    “… the term “refugee” shall apply to any person who: … owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country …”

    Ok, so once they get out of their country, the first country they reach where they do not have  such “well founded fear” is where they stop.  There’s no stated right to keep on going to yet another country that they might prefer (i.e. leaving Turkey to go to Germany).

    It may be nice for other countries to agree to take them to reduce the pressure on the first sanctuary reached.  But I don’t see any such obligation.

    • #19
  20. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    Mike LaRoche: Send them back.

    Many will die if they’re sent back. Not all, not necessarily, but surely many will. My family would have. Surely that is not what you wish?

    • #20
  21. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: The death of one man is a tragedy, the death of millions is a statistic. –Usually attributed, but probably erroneously, to Joseph Stalin

    “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” –Usually attributed, but probably erroneously, to Benjamin Disraeli

    These statistics are ALSO directly from the UNHCR:

    screenshot.1

    There’s jiggery-pokery going on with the stats one way or the other.

    • #21
  22. Marion Evans Inactive
    Marion Evans
    @MarionEvans

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:

    Mike LaRoche: Send them back.

    Many will die if they’re sent back. Not all, not necessarily, but surely many will. My family would have. Surely that is not what you wish?

    It is a bit of a lifeboat ethics discussion. In a lifeboat, you want to save the people who are in the water, but not so many that the entire lifeboat will end up sinking. Already before this crisis, some parts of Europe struggled to integrate their immigrants.

    • #22
  23. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    It seems the west is reacting to a crisis that has been unfolding for some time and seems surprised and unprepared. The innocent people fleeing the Holocaust were not  part of a religious system that has been silent while beheadings, rapes, flying planes into buildings, torture, upheaval, slavery, destruction of ancient historical ruins, and calls for elimination of western civilization are an arm of its beliefs – they don’t stand up and renounce it in their mosques and in the media. Islamic leaders have not dealt with the destructive beliefs that has brought this about. How many refugees is China willing to take, or Russia – is not Iran and Russia arming Assad, with Russia stirring the pot again? US policy was to take a back seat – we see the results – this is scary and as usual, women and children suffer. Somehow I think there is much manipulation here and the big picture is in the shadows. Decent people want to alieve suffering, but we are witnessing a clash of civilizations.

    • #23
  24. Ontheleftcoast Member
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    Denmark is trying to enforce the law, and the migrants are revolting and heading for Sweden where, much to the chagrin of the leftist bloc, the Sweden Democrats are polling better than any other party. Maybe the Left is looking to import some new voters?

    And just in case you think Denmark is being unreasonable, Germany has just intercepted 10,000 Syrian passports both real and forged, arrested an ISIS recruiter in Germany on false documents, and

     “It is not only Syrians who are interested in Syrian passports. Refugees from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan want to become Syrian in order to secure their recognition as asylum seekers in Western Europe. According to press reports, nine out of ten refugees who came from Macedonia to Serbia claimed they were Syrians.”

    The trade in fake Syrian passports was also confirmed by the head of the EU frontier police, Fabrice Leggeri, in arecent interview with the Europe 1 TV station.

    Leggeri told Europe 1 that the trade in fake Syrian passports originated in Turkey. “There are people who are now in Turkey, buying false Syrian passports because they have obviously realized that it is a windfall since Syrians get asylum in all Member States in the European Union,” he said.

    Also, a question for Claire: it looks as though the Turkish government has ramped up attacks on its opposition. Are they also involved with getting Syrian and “Syrian” refugees into Europe? Passport fraud?

    • #24
  25. Mike LaRoche Inactive
    Mike LaRoche
    @MikeLaRoche

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:

    Mike LaRoche: Send them back.

    Many will die if they’re sent back. Not all, not necessarily, but surely many will. My family would have. Surely that is not what you wish?

    If I were the king of the world, tell you what I’d do: I would remove the problem that is causing the migration/invasion – radical Islam.  Then they could return without fear of death.  I’m beginning to think Ann Coulter had the right of it when she made those intemperate comments after 9/11 that resulted in her dismissal from NRO.

    Also, like Front Seat Cat mentioned, I don’t believe there is an equivalence between what your family went through and the status of the Syrian/Muslim wave flowing into Europe.  The Jews of Europe who sought refuge in the United States were not bringing with them a primitive, violent ideology which commanded them to regard all infidels as subhuman.  Not all refugees are the same; such differences must be accounted for.

    • #25
  26. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    Ontheleftcoast: Also, a question for Claire: it looks as though the Turkish government has ramped up attacks on its opposition. Are they also involved with getting Syrian and “Syrian” refugees into Europe? Passport fraud

    These are two different issues. The Turkish government has unquestionably, gravely, ramped up attacks on the opposition, mostly the offices of the Kurdish-rooted HDP party. Although it’s not impossible, I’ve seen no reports that they’re involved in efforts to get Syrians into Europe, and don’t see what their motivation for doing that would be.  Do you have a theory?

    • #26
  27. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    Ball Diamond Ball

    Islam has a problem. Islam is killing Muslims along with everybody else. If Muslims do not fix Islam, America’s next effort will not be so much of the “assistance” variety.

    BDB is absolutely right.  How can you expect Christian countries to fix a Muslim problem?  Plus the sheer numbers will overwhelm a culture, so that it will no longer be the culture it has historically been.  I don’t think the general population of any country wants that.  I’m for humanitarian aid, but ultimately repatriation has to be back in their homeland.

    Claire, your Jewish analogy doesn’t hold.  Jews were already integrated into Christian European countries for millennia.  Muslims haven’t and we’re talking over a billion muslims who would come to European countries if they could.

    • #27
  28. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    Mike LaRoche: The Jews of Europe who sought refuge in the United States were not bringing with them a primitive, violent ideology which commanded them to regard all infidels as subhuman

    Many were certainly believed to be purveyors of a dangerous ideology or disease, or to be basically unassimilable — I can document that for you extensively, and it’s an important part of the story of why so few were saved. And as it happens — this is a family secret, but they’re dead, so I’ll share it with you now — both of my grandparents, like many Jews of the time, were communists. They got over that very quickly when they set foot on American soil. As for the percentage of refugees from the Middle East who are dangerous Islamists, the only thing anyone honest can say is, “We don’t know.” It certainly isn’t all of them — not by any means. Why would the Islamists flee? After all, they’ve got a caliphate to stay in, if that’s what floats their boats, so to speak; why go to Europe if you want to live under sharia? Most of the refugees I meet (and I meet a lot of them) want to be as far from that as possible; it’s hard to find people who hate Islamists more than the people who’ve been forced out of their homes by them. I don’t at all discount the high likelihood that among these refugees are ISIS sleeper agents, but I very much doubt they’re anything but a tiny minority. Is that enough to do huge damage? Sure.

    Am I willing to live with that risk? Yes. And since it really is me who would be living with it, I’m not saying this as an abstract exercise in offering someone else’s magnanimity. If it’s a choice between living with an elevated but unquantifiable risk of being blown up by ISIS and the certainty of sending millions of men, women, and children to drown, be ripped up by Assad’s barrel bombs, be gassed, raped, enslaved, tortured, or buried in mass graves — I prefer to take the risk. I hope Europe will rise to the occasion and conduct careful scrutiny of the incoming population, but I’m not counting on it. I’m simply willing to live with the risk. The alternative is sentencing millions of people to death. I want no part of that.

    • #28
  29. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    Front Seat Cat: – they don’t stand up and renounce it in their mosques and in the media.

    They do, but no matter how often or how loudly they do, some people refuse to hear it.

    • #29
  30. BThompson Inactive
    BThompson
    @BThompson

    Claire, you haven’t responded to the UN reports that over 70% of the refugees are in fact fighting age men nor the fact that only a portion of the refugees are from Syria. Do those facts matter to you at all? Should free riders be allowed to exploit the generosity of the West on the backs of Syrians who are truly suffering?

    • #30

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