The European Immigration Crisis is the moral dilemma that has been plaguing the minds of British public for the past several weeks. Everywhere I venture, both in person and electronically, people never seem to stop talking about it. When I’m visiting my 86 year old Grandmother, my family are talking about it. When I’m looking on my Facebook news feed, people are posting relevant news articles about it. I talk to my friends about it over lunch, and over text. I switch on the TV and news presenters are talking to “political experts” on the “crisis” which is disrupting the Euro Tunnel, railway stations and sea ports.
Whilst I don’t want to go into any specific details about the events that have been occurring all over the continent (that’s a newspapers job). I would like to point out that most of the immigrants trying to reach Western Europe are fleeing their home countries because of war or conflict, and that reaching their desired destination is by no means an easy or pleasant task.
Nevertheless what I do find interesting, is that everyone seems to have a different opinion on what should be done about the problem. If you think it’s politically correct to call it that of course. There is literally no right or wrong answer regarding an issue which affects so many people from all over the world. However most opinions seem to fall into one of two categories: Those who think it’s a good idea for Britain to provide refuge, and those who don’t.
Prior to writing this blog post I gathered some useful opinions from my university friends, and my family members. You could argue that this is not a diverse enough audience, but actually as it happens, my peers are very left-wing whilst my family are much more right-wing. Thus I was provided with both sides of a very large coin.
Below are some quotes of their viewpoints:
“Inhumane nonsense overriding compassion. There is space in Eastern Europe, Hungary, and many other EU nations who have a moral duty to take migrants. The people in Syria/Libya are being destroyed and the people of Britain are worried about a 1% rise in immigration.”
“Britain hasn’t taken even remotely anywhere near a respectable amount yet acts undignified whilst Germany show the way in how to respond to a global refugee crisis: by treating them as humans in a state of suffering.”
“I think it’s awful that mothers feel the need to put their children on a dingy to travel across the Mediterranean, to try and escape the horrors of war. But at the same time, when do we draw the line? The government need to exercise a stricter border policy in order to sort the refugee from the economic migrant. Australia have the right idea, and they’re not being criticised for taking a step back.”
“There’s many countries between here and Syria and/or other war-zones. They should be assisted there. Shouldn’t be the need for unsafe, or unregulated transport to Western Europe. Admittedly we should help but via charities, and helping them in countries closer to their homeland. As for the Calais crisis? More security is needed at the rail terminal and any attempt to enter the country illegally without legitimate reason or cause should be dealt with with accordingly. I’m pretty sure if I felt that France offered me better jobs, security etc, and I attempted to walk through the tunnel I’d be arrested. However my belief is that we deal with the main issues closer to (their) home.”
“I personally think we should be doing way more to provide support, both here and there. However, please tell me if I am missing something, (because I feel like everyone is talking about the EU), but why is everyone focused on the EU providing relief? Yes they are entering the EU but that is really the only place they CAN go. I feel like there must be a major reason no one is talking about the relief America, Canada and Australia could provide. If not by accepting a refugee quota then by donating clothes and financial aid? I don’t see why some of the poorer EU countries are taking the majority of the burden, just because they are situated near borders that people want to cross.”
“Reflecting on previous wars, we have always lionised people who have helped those fleeing war and yet now there is a contrast to those days of empathy. There is a sense of self-interest in the air, we cannot help these families because they may take ‘our’ jobs, ‘our’ benefits, ‘our’ healthcare system. I believe it’s a matter of doing the right thing and sharing refugees between countries. By doing that we are giving other EU countries the support they need.”
“I think it’s a tragedy we are even debating the how we should treat people fleeing war and oppression. The only difference between us and them is that they were born somewhere different. It galls and outrages me that David Cameron has been reluctant to let in not even enough refugees to fill a tube train, after months of pressure from people, he’s let in a minuscule amount over 5 years. Then the Prime Minister acts as if he was always in support of providing refuge. I think it is a terrible critique of our lack of compassion as a society that we have been so reluctant, and we have been put to shame by countries such as Iceland by how woefully we have acted. We are also isolating ourselves from the international community by not taking in our fair share.”
As you can see, there is a large variety of opinion amongst these paragraphs, and I could quite easily respond to every point in turn. The fact of the matter is, everyone is united on at least one front; that these people do require help regardless of their intentions. I agree that more needs to be done in order to provide these people with an escape from the horrors they face in their home countries. It is heart breaking to think that whole families risk losing one another, and are being put to these extremes just to try and rid themselves of such suffering.
However I do not believe that Britain should face the brunt of the crisis, and whilst we are the country with the best resources, those resources would not cope under a mass strain of immigrants. I am disappointed that David Cameron has done nothing more than put up a few fences, hire a few security guards and let loose some sniffer dogs. This is definitely a problem that needs to be tackled head on, and perhaps if Cameron had decided against bombing ISIS we wouldn’t be faced with this problem. Thus it is safe to say that all EU countries should help in the effort to provide refuge, and that more needs to be done in order to prevent people feeling the need to risk their lives crossing Europe in search of asylum.
Please comment below if you would like to share your own opinion on the Immigration Crisis, or have any responses to the viewpoints I have provided.