4 Arguments Against Accepting Syrian Refugees and Why They All Fail
by Benjamin Studebaker
Over the past few days, the public debate has turned toward the question of Syrian refugees. I’ve been wandering around the internet, reading the different arguments people have for refusing to accept refugees, and I have found all of them wanting. So today I’d like to run through the most common and pervasive anti-refugee arguments and the reasons they fail.
As I see it, there are several kinds of arguments people give against taking refugees:
- Security Arguments–the refugees pose a security risk to western societies that justifies rejecting them.
- Scarcity Arguments–the refugees will consume resources that are already in short supply (e.g. money, housing, etc.), and that justifies rejecting them.
- No Benefit Arguments–we only have duties to accept refugees where this benefits us, and refugees are not beneficial.
- No Responsibility Arguments–we are not to blame for the political conditions in the Middle East that have caused these people to be refugees, so we are justified in rejecting them irrespective of the benefits or harms involved.
To start, I’d like to offer a theory of when states have a moral obligation to accept immigrants and refugees and when they do not. As I see it, states should accept applicant who is willing and capable of reciprocity with the society that he or she joins. This reciprocity can be hard (i.e. economic or material benefits) or it can be soft (i.e. social or psychological benefits). States are justified in rejecting applicants who are not capable of reciprocity because accepting them would have exploitative consequences. So for instance, if a refugee or immigrant were coming to a country to commit acts of terrorism or to exploit that country’s welfare state or healthcare provision with no intention of making hard or soft contributions, a country would be justified in rejecting that refugee or immigrant. If a refugee or immigrant is coming to contribute labor or consumption or admitting the individual is important to extant citizens and will make them happy, this gives us an obligation to admit that refugee or immigrant so long as there is no countervailing exploitation. This is a relatively conservative framework–it allows states to make refugee decisions based on whether or not admitting those refugees is beneficial to their extant citizens without regard for the independent moral value of the refugees. Nevertheless, I can show that we should admit refugees operating within these theoretical constraints. Let’s run through each of our four argument types.
Donald Trump is perhaps the most prominent person making a security argument:
Contrary to what Donald Trump says, the current American plan is to take 10,000 Syrian refugees this year along with 75,000 from other countries. In the following year, the US will take 100,000 worldwide, and again only some of those will be from Syria. In ordinary years, the US often takes a significant number of refugees from around the world. In the 1970’s, the US took 500,000 from South Vietnam. The refugees are vetted both by the federal government and the UN in a process that takes 18-24 months before they are admitted. As a result of this, refugees are statistically extremely safe. Since the September 11 attack, the US has accepted 745,000 refugees from around the world. Zero of these refugees have been arrested on domestic terrorism charges. This means that refugees are less likely to engage or attempt to engage in domestic terrorism than ordinary American citizens. This jibes with previous research indicating that immigrants are 80% less likely to be incarcerated than native citizens.
Since native citizens are 5 times more likely to commit serious offences, increasing the percentage of immigrants and refugees in our society actually makes the average person less likely to engage in criminal activity and makes our society proportionally safer and more law-abiding. So the security argument abjectly fails–refugees and immigrants are significantly less likely to sympathize with ISIS or commit other crimes than native citizens. Indeed, because increasing the proportion of the population that is non-native reduces the crime rate and the terrorism risk, there is a strong security argument for accepting more refugees and immigrants than we presently do. This may strike folks like Donald Trump as incredibly counter-intuitive, but this is why we do statistical research in the first place–to see whether or not our preconceptions, stereotypes, and assumptions are correct. In this case, popular intuitions are completely mistaken. The relationship is the opposite of what most people expect.
We also see it argued that we cannot afford to accept refugees because they are expensive and will compete with native citizens for finite resources. This argument relies on an assumption that refugees and immigrants contribute less economically to western societies than native citizens do. If refugees and immigrants made contributions that are about even with native citizens, scarcity arguments would necessarily imply radical population control measures to prevent additional babies from being born. Most people who make refugee arguments do not see each additional infant that comes into the world as a burden on society–we see our children as the future, as beings that will make significant contributions and consequently as worthwhile social investments. So scarcity arguments necessarily rest on the claim that there is something specific about refugees and immigrants that makes them unworthy as investments.
This argument flies in the face of the evidence we have concerning the economic contributions of immigrants. In the United States, foreign born residents are estimated to contribute almost $19,000 more in tax receipts each decade than they consume in government benefits:
This means that refugees and immigrants more than pay for their own public services. We do not have to worry about schools being overcrowded with foreign children, because foreigners will contribute more than enough revenue to pay for additional teachers and classrooms. We don’t have to worry about immigrants and refugees scrounging for welfare benefits, because they will work and be net contributors to the tax system on average.
Now, there’s a more sophisticated form of the scarcity argument that holds that while it may be true that in the long-term, refugees and immigrants are cost-effective investments, in the short term there is a significant up front cost. Government estimates indicate that the immediate short-term cost of resettlement will be about $16,000 per refugee over a four year period. For the 10,000 Syrian refugees under consideration this year, that amounts to a total cost of $160 million over four years, with $40 million to be paid this year. If these refugees contribute as much as other immigrants do on average (many of whom are low skill undocumented immigrants from Latin America), the government will still make a net profit of about $3,000 per immigrant over the next decade for a gain of $30 million. In subsequent decades, those gains will be larger. The median Syrian is 23 years old, which means that more than half of Syrian refugees will continue to make significant positive economic contributions for four or five decades. This means that they should do at least as well as ordinary immigrants when it comes to generating revenue gains in subsequent decades. These Syrians will also have children who will make new contributions to America’s future. Even when we consider the up-front investment, Syrian refugees still look like very good investments.
One particularly bizarre variant of the scarcity argument I sometimes see looks something like this:
This is deeply misleading because it presents you with a false choice–the government could certainly do both of these things. The US government budget for 2015 is $3.688 trillion. The cost for 2015 of taking in Syrian refugees is $40 million. This amounts to 0.001% of the federal budget. Farm subsidies cost 500 times more. The development of the F-35 Lightning II cost 32,500 times more over the course of its lifespan. There are plenty of government programs that are less worthwhile, less efficient, and far more expensive than taking care of both Syrian refugees and homeless veterans. These folks are creating a false dichotomy between spending on vets and spending on refugees to manipulate folks into opposing refugees for no good reason.
No Benefits Arguments
In the course of the previous two discussions, we have answered the no benefits argument. We’ve shown both that refugees and immigrants are a positive economic investment for society and that refugees and immigrants help create a safer society with lower crime and incarceration rates. But even if refugees were neutral on both of these respects, there would be a significant social and psychological gain from admitting refugees because there are significant numbers of Americans who feel deep moral and psychological commitments to refugees irrespective of any economic or security advantages or disadvantages they have. Many of these people are motivated by deeply held religious or moral philosophical beliefs, such as those expressed in Matthew 25:35-40:
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
These people of conviction have a social and psychological interest in accepting refugees. If the refugees were exploitative, if there were significant economic or security losses we would incur from accepting them, those concerns might outweigh these social and psychological benefits. But since we have shown that refugees are at least neutral if not positive on economic and security grounds, the convictions of these people give our government another reason to admit the refugees.
No Responsibility Arguments
The no responsibility arguments have two key problems, either of which would be sufficient to dismiss it:
- It is false to claim that we had nothing at all to do with the conditions that caused these people to become refugees, as the rise of the Islamic State was facilitated both by the Iraq War, which created regional instability and created a regional safe haven for terrorists, and by our efforts to arm moderate Syrian rebels (IS managed to seize many of the weapons we sent).
- Even if it were true that we had nothing to do with these refugees’ situation, we have independent reasons to accept the refugees–they will make our society safer, they will pay their own way and even contribute a net surplus in tax revenue, and they will help many people of conscious in our society self-actualize and act in accordance with their religious and moral principles. The question of whether or not we are responsible is a red herring and is irrelevant to the question at hand.
I can successfully demonstrate the reasonableness of accepting refugees within a theoretical framework that explicitly only provides grounds for accepting refugees if they are willing and capable of reciprocity and will not exploit our societies either deliberately or inadvertently. I’ve set very tough standards for proving that refugees ought to be entitled to enter, and they’ve met those standards. Many people would go much further and claim that these refugees have independent moral value and that we have duties to them even if they don’t reciprocate and will exploit us. You don’t have to believe that to believe that we should take these refugees. They are good for our security and our prosperity, they do reciprocate, and we are better off accepting them even if we do not take their moral value into account at all.
Interesting comments as I have come to expect from reading your blogs. In Europe which we both are, huge waves of migrants are pouring in through the Libyan and Turkish gateways. The overwhelming majority, last time I looked at the data, were economic migrants from Nigeria, Ghana, Iran, Bangladesh, Albania, Kosova, Eritrea etc etc. My question is why are Syrian refugees trying to get into Europe also not regarded as economic migrants? Clearly they are refugees from war when they flee from Syria to Turkey, but they are safe and housed in Turkey. Their decision to leave Turkey is purely an economic decision, one which is entirely reasonable to make, and one I would do if I were in their position. Why then should both the U.S. and Europe treat Syrians as refugees and not migrants like any other that must meet certain criteria for entry.
Second question is on the small percentage of Syrian refugees that will inevitably be ISIS sleeper terrorists. This is perhaps more of an issue for Europe where the flow is uncontrolled where as in the U.S. the Syrians are vetted throughly. The Lebanese Home Secretary thinks from his own experience that it could be 1-2%. If I were ISIS leadership I would try and get as many fighters into Europe’s welcoming arms as possible. I take your point above on the stats on general criminality but terrorist infiltration is I think a bit different. Should you refuse to accept the 99% even if you know 1% are likely to be terrorists? If yes, what about 5%. At what point do you say, no we do not want to tolerate the risk and our doors are shut?
Turkey does not have the resources or infrastructure to house all of them them and deliberately pushes them on to Europe. The Europeans are negotiating with Turkey to effectively pay Turkey to house more refugees, but the numbers are too large for Turkey to realistically do all of the work.
Most EU terrorists are homegrown. The Lebanese Home Secretary’s numbers are way off–Lebanon is an ally of the Assad regime and has a strong incentive to overstate the threat posed by IS to get breathing space for Assad. Many EU countries do vet the refugees they take as well, though some have been overwhelmed and can’t really do so effectively. If so much as 1% of the refugees were terrorists, there would be an immense amount of violence already ongoing in Europe on a daily basis. The Syrian refugee total is 4 million, so 1% would be 40,000, which would range from more than half of all IS fighters to twice as many as they have, depending on whether you believe Russia (estimates 70k fighters) or the US (estimates 20-30k). I think the risk of terrorism from these refugees approaches zero, especially if countries vet. If I were wrong and a significant number were radicalized, I would rather make the investment necessary to vet refugees than make the much bigger investment necessary to close the border tight enough to prevent everyone from getting in.
Benjamin, I think the assertion that the risk of terrorism, especially in Europe where the influx is totally unvetted is a triumph of hope and optimism over reality. I hope you are right but fear you are not.
I have read the interesting comments below as well and understand the probability might approach zero in the U.S. but that is due is to heavy vetting. Your comment below is based on the fact that terror attacks have not occurred in Germany….yet. Look at the pictures of the refugees, which are mainly young men. Do you really think ISIS would not have taken advantage of the migrant chaos in Europe to send sleepers. The thing about sleepers is that they don’t engage in activity immediately. They form networks with home grown potential terrorists and do research on targets. You cannot possible say the probability approaches zero and you are glib to dismiss the warning of the Lebanese cabinet minister who actually is not part of the Hezbollah party which are fighting alongside Assad. He is talking about Lebenan’s own experience from terrorists coming out of the camps in his country and kidnapping government soldiers.
Personally I think the UK should take more Syrian refugees (although as I said they are safe, housed and clothed in Turkey and are in all intent and purposes economic migrants). UK PM Cameron is, for once, doing the right thing and taking refugees from the camps in Turkey rather than those who have forced their way into Europe. But my point remains, it defies logic that a small % of the unregulated influx will not be ISIS terrorists. The numbers you give above are false because it is not 1% of the 4 million refugees, but 1% who are getting into Europe (mainly young men) which might put the total in the 100s. What % should German/French society be willing to tolerate before they shut the door totally. If you think 1% is too high, then what about if you know with reasonable certainty the rate was 0.1%? I take you point entirely about most terrorists being home grown, but it’s a very important question and when, inevitably, a Syrian migrant is involved with terror activities, the attitude of the indigious population is likely to sour against both the blameless Syrian migrant and the politicians like Merkel who have ripped up treaty agreements and allowed this free for all.
Even if we looked at just the number Germany itself has admitted this year (800,000), 1% would be 8,000, which would be a large chunk of IS’ forces and would clearly be observed by military intelligence services operating in Syria and Iraq. Even in the Paris attack, the attackers were on the radar of EU governments and intelligence services (perhaps the biggest EU security failing is a failing to make different national intelligence services share data–had they done so even the Paris attack might have been averted). We are much, much safer than we think we are. Even if some infinitesimal percentage of refugees are radicalized, the odds are overwhelming that the intelligence services will catch them before they are able to stage a successful attack. A similar percentage of the Muslims already living in western countries are radicalized, and far more often than not these people either never go through with staging an attack or are caught before they are successful. We really ought not be concerned. There have only been four major attacks (fatalities in double figures) by Muslim radicals in the west in the last 15 years–9/11, 7/7, the Madrid train bombings, and the Paris attack. That’s one attack in each of those four countries in a 15 year period, with no attacks between the 7/7 attack in 2005 and this Paris attack in 2015. Each time people claim that everything has changed and the risk of terrorism is significant, each time the event is an aberration and the country in question goes untouched for a very long time, despite continued Muslim immigration.
Generally I would agree with all your comments and I think the chances of terror attacks are small. But I have lived in London all my life and now I live in a Muslim area where second generation not fully knowing whether they are British or Bengali have latched onto radical Islam for an identity and are shipping themselves out to Iraq and Syria unless the police can stop them first. Personally I would prefer they were allowed to go rather than stay around where I live!
Your point that terrorists in Europe are almost wholly domestically generated is correct, but Germany has opened to floodgates 800,000 on your estimate, to potential disaster. Personally I like Syrians and Syria and have been to Aleppo in the early 1980s. Syria was one o ft he most secular of the Middle Eastern countries. The people as you say will be a net benefit to the host societies, but Europe has done the screening that the U.S. has done and this will end badly. The U.S. has no problem at all and will find these migrants very valuable wealth generators indeed.
Turkey does not have the resources or infrastructure to house all of them them… WELL NEITHER DO WE IN AMERICA!! Deport ALL the illegals including so-called “Dreamers.” We the American citizens have dreams of our own and it does NOT include paying for sponging able-bodied illegal invading aliens who STEAL from American citizens including our disabled, who live in pain 24/7.
A small country like the U.K. is different from the U.S. (not only in its inability to process large numbers of immigrants requesting asylum
but also in its publicly funded services, like the NHS which is at crisis point). There should be some central globally-funded organization that humanely administers & disperses refugees so that the burden is shared.
The following FB post from an Immigration Lawyer would seem to confirm this:
“Finally, the process in Europe is different. I would be much more concerned that terrorists are infiltrating the European system because they are not nearly so extensive and thorough in their process.”
Quote from FB post below:
November 19, 2015 at 2:54pm • Edited •
“Most of my friends know I practice Immigration law. As such, I have worked with the refugee community for over two decades. This post is long, but if you want actual information about the process, keep reading.
I can not tell you how frustrating it is to see the misinformation and outright lies that are being perpetuated about the refugee process and the Syrian refugees. So, here is a bit of information from the real world of someone who actually works and deals with this issue.
The refugee screening process is multi-layered and is very difficult to get through. Most people languish in temporary camps for months to years while their story is evaluated and checked.
First, you do not get to choose what country you might be resettled into. If you already have family (legal) in a country, that makes it more likely that you will go there to be with family, but other than that it is random. So, you can not simply walk into a refugee camp, show a document, and say, I want to go to America. Instead, the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees) works with the local authorities to try to take care of basic needs. Once the person/family is registered to receive basic necessities, they can be processed for resettlement. Many people are not interested in resettlement as they hope to return to their country and are hoping that the turmoil they fled will be resolved soon. In fact, most refugees in refugee events never resettle to a third country. Those that do want to resettle have to go through an extensive process.
Resettlement in the U.S. is a long process and takes many steps. The Refugee Admissions Program is jointly administered by the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) in the Department of State, the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and offices within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) within DHS conducts refugee interviews and determines individual eligibility for refugee status in the United States.
We evaluate refugees on a tiered system with three levels of priority.
First Priority are people who have suffered compelling persecution or for whom no other durable solution exists. These individuals are referred to the United States by UNHCR, or they are identified by the U.S. embassy or a non-governmental organization (NGO).
Second priority are groups of “special concern” to the United States. The Department of State determines these groups, with input from USCIS, UNHCR, and designated NGOs. At present, we prioritize certain persons from the former Soviet Union, Cuba, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Iran, Burma, and Bhutan.
Third priority are relatives of refugees (parents, spouses, and unmarried children under 21) who are already settled in the United States may be admitted as refugees. The U.S.-based relative must file an Affidavit of Relationship (AOR) and must be processed by DHS.
Before being allowed to come to the United States, each refugee must undergo an extensive interviewing, screening, and security clearance process conducted by Regional Refugee Coordinators and overseas Resettlement Support Centers (RSCs). Individuals generally must not already be firmly resettled (a legal term of art that would be a separate article). Just because one falls into the three priorities above does not guarantee admission to the United States.
The Immigration laws require that the individuals prove that they have a “well-founded fear,” (another legal term which would be a book.) This fear must be proved regardless of the person’s country, circumstance, or classification in a priority category. There are multiple interviews and people are challenged on discrepancies. I had a client who was not telling the truth on her age and the agency challenged her on it. Refugees are not simply admitted because they have a well founded fear. They still must show that they are not subject to exclusion under Section 212(a) of the INA. These grounds include serious health matters, moral or criminal matters, as well as security issues. In addition, they can be excluded for such things as polygamy, misrepresentation of facts on visa applications, smuggling, or previous deportations. Under some circumstances, the person may be eligible to have the ground waived.
At this point, a refugee can be conditionally accepted for resettlement. Then, the RSC sends a request for assurance of placement to the United States, and the Refugee Processing Center (RPC) works with private voluntary agencies (VOLAG) to determine where the refugee will live. If the refugee does have family in the U.S., efforts will be made to resettle close to that family.
Every person accepted as a refugee for planned admission to the United States is conditional upon passing a medical examination and passing all security checks. Frankly, there is more screening of refugees than ever happens to get on an airplane. Of course, yes, no system can be 100% foolproof. But if that is your standard, then you better shut down the entire airline industry, close the borders, and stop all international commerce and shipping. Every one of those has been the source of entry of people and are much easier ways to gain access to the U.S. Only upon passing all of these checks (which involve basically every agency of the government involved in terrorist identification) can the person actually be approved to travel.
Before departing, refugees sign a promissory note to repay the United States for their travel costs. This travel loan is an interest-free loan that refugees begin to pay back six months after arriving in the country.
Once the VOLAG is notified of the travel plans, it must arrange for the reception of refugees at the airport and transportation to their housing at their final destination.
This process from start to finish averages 18 to 24 months, but I have seen it take years.
The reality is that about half of the refugees are children, another quarter are elderly. Almost all of the adults are either moms or couples coming with children. Each year the President, in consultation with Congress, determines the numerical ceiling for refugee admissions. For Fiscal Year (FY) 2016, the proposed ceiling is 85,000. We have been averaging about 70,000 a year for the last number of years. (Source: Refugee Processing Center)
Over one-third of all refugee arrivals (35.1 percent, or 24,579) in FY 2015 came from the Near East/South Asia—a region that includes Iraq, Iran, Bhutan, and Afghanistan.
Another third of all refugee arrivals (32.1 percent, or 22,472) in FY 2015 came from Africa.
Over a quarter of all refugee arrivals (26.4 percent, or 18,469) in FY 2015 came from East Asia — a region that includes China, Vietnam, and Indonesia. (Source: Refugee Processing Center)
Finally, the process in Europe is different. I would be much more concerned that terrorists are infiltrating the European system because they are not nearly so extensive and thorough in their process.”
Contrary to what many might think non-EEA immigrants are economically a better deal for the UK than native British citizens are. From 2001-2011, non-EEA immigrants netted the UK government a net £5.2 billion:
Now, I’m happy to say that European member states should tighten up vetting processes where they can do so at relatively minimal cost, but hundreds of thousands of refugees have entered Europe with very little fanfare. As a percentage the number involved in domestic terror approaches zero, and since the refugees began entering the vast majority of radical violence perpetrated in Europe continues to be committed by homegrown terrorists. So even in countries like Germany where there’s virtually no vetting at all, 800,000 refugees have entered and no attacks at all have occurred in Germany. That’s an incredibly good safety record. The threat is simply massively overstated, and the economic benefits are there for many EU countries to the same extent and in some cases to greater extents than in the US.
By “homegrown terrorists” do you mean 2nd or 3rd generation immigrant progeny?
If taking in large numbers of immigrants is such a good thing why is there a sense of displacement & unrest among so many within the host nation? They are accused of undercutting natives & being willing to work without the rights Unions worked so hard to achieve. Their desperation is exploited.
8 years ago, a very good-natured work colleague working in the NHS (who happened to wear a hijab) shocked me by making the remark that immigration was “getting ridiculous now” & felt that “there are too many being let in”! I had not yet experienced the unrest that seems to exist now all over London & laughingly told her that “It’s all one planet” & that we should be allowed to live wherever we wanted, unless we were criminals. I would like again to be less fearful, but what you are saying & what I have observed & experienced 1st hand just do not co-incide.
Even when I cannot agree with you, Benjamin, I am glad that you are giving people an opportunity to discuss these sensitive issues.
I like cheese and I think you should to. My favorite football team is the Green Bay Packers because they are the cheeseheads. My dream is to live in a house made of cheese. If you want to be my friend you can add me on snapchat at “mbeach138”. Thanks for reading my comment and don’t ever be haters. Here is a cool video I thought might cheer you up –
Sorry I meant nbeach138 not mbeach138
I hate the whole “don’t help refugees, help the homeless” argument as if it has to be one or the other, as if it’s impossible to help both. Usually made by people who don’t give two fucks about homeless people usually, who walk by them without even so much as an acknowledgement they exist.
It’s like saying “We shouldn’t help people with cancer while people have HIV” “We can’t help hungry kids while there are old people without medicine”
carlygolightly you used the “f” word and that is too profane for a public site. Not to shabby. Wanna be friends? Reply back.
Hi Gretta, sure! I hardly even remember writing that comment now!
Yea I agree with you. And even if a small percentage of the Syrians are terrorists if they ACTUALLY have the stupidity to attack Americans than they will be looking at a war with the U.S. And probably Canada and Britain not to mention France (wich has done an AMAZING job fighting ISIS). In fact ISIS would probably end up at war with most of the first world not to mention the militas that are already fighting ISIS.
The #1 Reason why we should NOT accept any refugees, from any country.
-Government funding should be spent on the homeless and/or those in need, in local communities.
NOT some foreign nation, who somehow takes precedence over members of your local community?
Refugees are net economic beneficiaries–over their lifetimes, they provide more in revenue than they consume in public services. So by taking refugees, we increase the amount of government funding available to be spent on the homeless and those in need in local communities.
Baloney!! Illegals, even the able-bodied ones, come in and sponge and steal from our citizens including our disabled, who live in pain 24/7. We are in financial slavery being forced to pay against our will via taxes. We do NOT need anyone else, refugee or otherwise!
This is 30 years experience witness in Emergency Rooms and the county welfare dept. Politicians and illegals = sponges off the taxpayers.
DEPORT all ‘refugees’ and illegals and let them work, fight, sacrifice, live and die in their own country to improve their own country! NOT HERE. And for all the bleeding hearts out there, focus on helping our disabled and veterans. Take care of those in our own country and let other countries deal with their own people. And stop the OVERBREEDING!
Prayers go to Lebanon and France with their innocent death tolls; it proves extremists can conceal themselves within refugees crowds. Why do so oppose these pusillanimous Syrians with their immensely costly baggage that will hemorrhage us like other cancerous areas: Iraq, Afghanistan,Libya and others? Are we all racist or uncaring like they would unintelligently and cowardly claim? No! Why does India, China, Russia, Iceland, Iran, Peru or others not take them? They all see the dangers, debts, and the wrong in focusing on these evacuees while betraying their own needy. Why do these Arabs not fight their own battles only to migrate abroad to take hundreds of billions of dollars out of worlds they invade to spread their population and religion while getting an unearned welcome mat while we fight their ugly battles? What do we get out of it? – Scout badges and debts while they are greeted like big shot celebrities. To all the bleeding hearts: you are disingenuous hypocrites with these strangers who think they are entitled to our charity and we owe them a better life. You shame our own marginalized born citizens who suffer visible destitution with their daily struggles. Some of our own displaced homeless or poverty stricken are 2,300 soldiers, ex-RCMP police or off springs of war veterans who fought for our freedoms including immigration and religious rights, et cetera. Fact, Syria and other refugee nations did zip against Hitler or Japan in world wars and now we are a door mat and a babysitting service? These Syrian and Armenian migrants are not more worthy than our own indigent folks. Bravo for Japan and others to say, “No”. Japan wants to help their disadvantaged, first and foremost but donates cash – that is moral leadership – something others can aspire to follow. Why do Arab oil rich nations not take them: Kuwait, Uae, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, etc? Syrians are from their culture, ethnic race, sectarian religions and regional neighborhood; not ours! Sad, Saudi Arabia can give sanctuary to international fugitives like the Ben Ali family and others, but will not help the Syrians byu opening their doors?
Why are we all disturbed about a dead 2 year old Alan Kurdi (refugee child who sadly drowned) and yet, we do not shed a tear for documented cases, and not alone; of a vagrant who perished on the Toronto street years ago? His body could not be extricated by local police because it was frozen to the ground and the authorities had to wait until the winter thaw to remove it. How many more inhumanely die who do not get the media coverage or help like these freeloading drifters? In both cases, we should be emotional but in the latter, who cares because he was homeless, shame on mankind! Why do these Middle Easterners get housing, new clothes, food, medicine, jobs, costs, etc. from worlds 15,000 miles away? Host nations don’t give the same resources to their homeless, penurious first nations, poor, unwaged, seniors, war veterans and disabled. We are snubbing our own to pacify these refugee minorities. Contrary to a Minister’s comment, not everyone welcomes nor wants them in Canada! How much was donated by Syria to help sufferers of Hurricane Katrina, Alberta’s flooding, California Wildfires, Tibet’s landslides, Taiwans earthquake or others? Very little but their mess becomes ours to shoulder and fix? It is hoped the world’s opposition to refugees will peacefully spread like wildfire against their surging numbers and those protests will be lawful and organized. Never target races or religious groups with hatred, intolerances, racism, violence or prejudice. Ottawa will spend nearly a billion dollars on them – that cash is needed for job growth, our economy and a need for affordable medical plans, etc. or our CPP. Whose next to go foaming at the mouth while we weather their stormy calamity?
The “Arab Spring” is now all year around. Worlds, including Canada are better because of pluralism but we need to help our own instead of forsaking them for privileged others like these refugees. This humanitarian crisis was even an election topic to “upsell each other” to tap into minority and religious votes, gutter politics. Justin Trudeau plays the media like a fiddle in showing up to greet Syrian refugees and a photo opportunity at a food bank, big deal! The PM thinks he and his wife are the north’s version of JFK’s Camelot. It is a `perverted joke` that our headship frets about rising household debts and yet they spend imprudently on these refugees? They will suck us for child tax benefits and GST credits, etc. while small families get crumbs. Arab families are usually big and many of these invaders will get $1,000.00/month or more. Their acceptance in Canada came off the backs of all races, not just Middle Easterners living here! Our economy is depressed with high jobless numbers and poverty levels and we allow so many more to add to our full plate? That makes about as much sense as buying a new car after just being fired or laid off from a job. What is Justin going to do if our streets bleed if one cell causes chaos from these 35,000+ Syrians? Will he resign or merely fork over the lawsuit money? Good for US Homeland Security to be concerned about these refugees! If one bad guy slides across the border and causes mayhem, we will get the blame. Its been attempted before. It is also a slap in the face that some whining refugees are griping about a housing crisis when staying in a Toronto hotel. Some even suggested they were better off back at distant refugee camps – unashamed ingrates. Wer had a housing crisis before they came and now it is far worst including cities like Vancouver.
To the spineless criminal act of pepper spraying many refugees in Vancouver or the hurtful Charlie Hedbo cartoon of dead Alan Kurdi; those dastardly deeds are indefensible and fuels bigotries. That callousness gives the grieving family more heartaches and craving media attention – enough! What’s next, giving Tima or the father jobs as advisors to Immigration and Refugee Canada? Let them mourn their losses and lets move forward instead of an ongoing saga! We are congested with the depressing and neverending news of these refugees and their incredible costs. There are other worthy new stories to cover. Nice to know who our politicians represent – not us, their constituents. While I feel for their struggles, we need to help our own first before others and that is not the case.
Btw, Canada is supposed to be a democratic nation so, why not have a referendum on these refugees and let the voters decide? Trudeau and his flunkies know they will lose….We cannot police or piggy bank the world and that is why India and China are the new dangerous superpowers because they do not get involved in cuddling others, oil wars, refugees while we act before thinking…..
Sorry “Help our own first”, but first off, you may want to refer to some of the factual arguments made in the article rather than exclusively relying on your intuitions. Your assertions are largely false.
Secondly, the election of PM Trudeau was, in large measure, a referendum on Canadian attitudes towards the treatment of refugees, and Trudeau won.
While, like all things, the resettlement of refugees has had some challenges, they have been minor by any relative measure, and by and large, programs have been effective and successful. Be careful not to be sucked into a vortex of hate and I’ll informed judgement by the sad theatre that masquerades for political discourse today. The populist fear mongering being propogated by the extreme right globally is just that, I.e. Fear mongering, and is too little associated with anything remotely resembling truth or fact. The great irony is that these disseminators of untruth are themselves branding those who expose them as fake news.
Thank you for this well-written article.
I feel sorry for you and your lack of humanity
If you want to turn away these people, you are the one with no humanity.
if you believe ignoring other oppressed people in North America to accept new refugee than you do no humanity.
Raj, did you actually read the atricle? Do you know what a false dichotomy is? Letting people anywhere suffer and potentially die because of ones own fear or prejudice demonstrates a lack of humanity, empathy and compassion.
I ask you this. If the refugees included your own family, how would you want the world to respond?
Now try to act that way towards others….
Our freeways are full, our Emergency Rooms are full, our schoolrooms are full and we are experiencing a shortage of water and housing. Our aquifers deep in the earth are being siphoned at an alarming rate to provide water – which was at the surface 600,000 years ago and is not easily replaced. NO MORE PEOPLE! If they choose to overbreed in their own countries then let them suffer the consequences. Let them work, fight, sacrifice, liv and die in their country FOR their country! But keep them OUT.
Reblogged this on Perspectives From My Window .
[…] 4 Arguments Against Accepting Syrian Refugees and Why They All Fail (November 20, 2015, 40,397 hits) […]
What idiot wrote this shit. We already have enough blacks on welfare, why do we need more arabs and blacks not to mention they are all muslim thieves
I can’t believe that u are using such words to describe those people. Brain is good stuff. hope you have it.
What are you doing reading it then? I suggest that you stop going on the pages that you hate. Also, stop being such an idiot yourself.
My friend Morgan is not being very nice to me. She is also a Trump supporter. She is being not very nice and that makes me sad. When I am sad I listen cats playing the keyboard on youtube. If you are sad watch this video it always makes me happy…
Thank you for exposing your hatred and prejudice. It makes it so much easier to discredit and ignore everything that you say. cheers!
A generalization but spot on re the muslims. Remember, they come in, go on welfare, and each muslim man has multiple wives so they start spewing out children. The American taxpayers, including our disabled who live in pain 24/7, are forced against our will to pay for these able-bodied invaders who are perfectly capable of paying their own bills and working in their own countries to make them better. We are in financial slavery via our taxes. And please note that only members of Congress and illegals are allowed to be exempt from the COVID shots.
someone should ship your ass to outer space racist. prick
[…] country. What’s more, despite the sad anecdotes, statistically the foreign-born population is less likely to commit crimes than native […]
[…] Studebaker. (2015). 4 Arguments Against Accepting Syrian Refugees and Why They All Fail. Retrieved 20 October, 2016, from https://benjaminstudebaker.com/2015/11/20/4-arguments-against-accepting-syrian-refugees-and-why-they… […]
The problem with this argument is it applies not only to refugees, but anyone. It can be summarized by the statement “any immigrant is a net advantage to the host nation.” Taking this logic to it’s end, the conclusion is you should have unlimited, universal immigration and basically open boarders. After all, each immigrant makes you money and has next to zero risk, right? So why don’t we do it? Because we know it’s stupid.
Don’t tell me importing folks where a full 25% believe in killing gays and sharia law won’t lead to problems downstream. You have to be pretty naive to think the Paris riots by Muslim youths are just a fluke, that Islamic schools in the UK aren’t teaching dangerous ideology, despite story after story testifying to that very fact. Democracy survives only when secularism is the norm. Importing more than you can absorb/assimilate will undermine and destabilize the system. There is more at work here than just economics. If islamic culture was conducive to western values, they would not be a war torn hellhole which throws gays off buildings and beheads women for the slightest infraction. This is their culture, and importing that culture is a bad idea.
Open borders would be tremendously good for the economy–obviously you can’t take people faster than your infrastructure can accommodate them, but yes, the benefits will far outweigh the costs and the overwhelming majority will be law-abiding. We know this because we have decades of data on Muslim immigrants to Europe. The cultural stereotypes of Muslims we hear in newspaper headlines do not reflect that data–they are sensationalism. Now, you can certainly argue that we ought to do a better job of integrating Muslim immigrants–that would likely reduce the incidence of negative outcomes. But even if our policy did not improve in this area, they are an overwhelming net benefit, especially as the birth rate decreases, people live longer, and Britain needs an enlarged working age population to support its growing pensioner class.
” you can’t take people faster than your infrastructure can accommodate them” You just said the reason why open borders are a bad idea
Only on the assumption that open borders would result in immigration of that kind of volume. If it did so, I would support some controls. But currently we are in nothing like that situation–it is perfectly feasible for governments to fund the necessary infrastructure to accommodate these relatively low population growth rates (and this infrastructure spending would create jobs and generate economic growth for the native population). The UK’s population grew by only 0.6% last year.
You live in a fantasy land. Open borders is incredibly idiotic and dangerous.
[…] be happy to have in our society. Fascists think immigrants bring crime, but they’re much less likely to commit crimes than native citizens […]
WRONG. Ask the border patrol. Simply by illegally invading the illegal aliens have already committed a crime. They have absolute contempt for our laws, our people, and our country. They even have a name for it: Reconquista.
[…] An excerpt from Benjamin Studebaker: […]
Where are your sources? I would like to see the same numbers elsewhere before I can believe this.
Follow the hyperlinks in the post for sources. If any are broken, ask me for a specific citation and I’ll dig it up for you.
[…] true. Fraud rates for most welfare programs are in the low single digits. Foreign born Americans pay taxes and commit fewer crimes than native born citizens do. It doesn’t matter–people […]
[…] to build a wall, increase military spending, and cut taxes on the rich, as we’ve argued before in prior posts that none of these policies are necessary. We’ll also throw in the cost of the […]
I like it
I love it
I read the article and the comments below. And yet I don’t feel any calmer. Perhaps it is not all in the economics. Maybe this statistic applies to bigger countries? Maybe the effects are “felt” only by bigger financial entities? I live in Slovenia. During and after the war in Yugoslavia 25 years ago we received some 70.000 refugees – mostly from Bosnia. That was some 3.5% of slovenian population. Now 25 years later some of them returned, some stayed here and had children which are now “assimilated”. The angry children are now angry young adults. I think mostly young male adults that is. They developed a “new language” which is… I think a bit similar to “african american ghetto” sleng. It sounds aggresive and if you are stupid enough to mention that they will quickly support it with an assault. They can speak fluent slovene if they choose to. I’m not saying all are the same. I actually have some frends that came here as refugees or were born here to refugee parents and they turned out to be wondrefull people. But you can hear the language every day. By the cashiers in supermakets, arround schools, in bars and night clubs, on the street,.. Oh and at football events. But that is another story. Now I think we did “welcome” them as much as we could – they were family so to speak. We were a part of the same country for 40 years. But you cannot not notice/feel the difrerence. You can feel the resent. Even 25 years later. They did have a different culture even if we lived in the same country. They stil do.
Well perhaps it was us who didn’t assimilate to them? 🙂
Anyway today they are the are statistically most likely to be wellfare recepients. Perhaps that is why they are still angry. And mind you they did have the same chance with schooling and they were encouraged to learn the language. And bare in mind, that we spoke similar languages. I know it must have been still harder for them. In the end we can see that they are less educated, “poorer” and angrier.
A couple of observations on Slovenians. I think we are “colder” with our feelings. We don’t mingle that well. Especially in “bigger” cities. When we talk to our friends we tend to keep a greater “personal distance”. This last one proves to be a big problem. We don’t invite frends over that much. We don’t invite foreigners into our homes at all. There are exceptions to that rule, but we do tend to keep to ourselfs more. We like to build walls around our property. And everyone has That one neighbour..
Anyway if you are still reading this comment you can see my thoughts are faster than my fingers and they tend to veer off 🙂
Now where was I?
Yes a bit on our history. Slovenia declared independce in 1991. Before we were always someones servant so to speak. Personally I think we chose to became servants again when we joined EU in 2004 but that is another story. A lot of historical artefacts date back to Turkish invasions during the Ottoman empire and we learned a lot about that in schools and from our parents. I mention this as it comes up when we try to rationalize our fear of refugees from islamic countries. And this was 500 years ago 🙂
Nevertheless they have a very different culture, different customs, different moral values and they are hurt and angry. So we fear the difference. We fear the anger. We are affraid to loose our way of living. Although the statistics says differently we cannot accept it. We don’t see it. We see angry young men that need a lot of support financially and psychologically. With very little or no working habits.
And beacuse they lost everything they tend to turn to religion and even worse violence. This is what we see. I fail to see the financial, cultural, social benefit to the community. We know Yugoslavia was a multireligious, multiethnical and multicultural country. Even though religion was not really supported (strong communists party) it was practised privatelly. We got along so well that we chose to kill, rape and torture ourselves over religion, ethnicity, culture,…
The last refugee wave didn’t stay in Slovenia. With couple of 100 exceptions. Germany still has a higher benefits cheque 🙂
And now with the politics between EU and Erdoğan we fear we might recieve a signifficantly higher number of refugees. Austria will close the border like it did before https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMLJyhcrELQ
and Croatia will lead the refugees into Slovenia hidden in the night like it did before https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCh5s_VzeOE
And we will be to blame…
I probably missed the point so think I better stop my rant 🙂
In the end I would say that those statistics how true they might be don’t matter. Not to the extent that they would calm us down. Not to the extent that we could notice a positive difference. I think way to many aspects are overlooked.
I always smile when I hear this one:
Life is like peeing in the snow on a dark winter night. You probably made a difference, but it’s really hard to tell. 🙂
[…] research indicate that immigrants–even poor, uneducated, low skill immigrants–generate more in tax revenue than they consume in government benefits, are less likely to commit crimes than native-born […]
This is an invasion. American citizens, including our disabled who live in pain 24/7 yet don’t receive the same level of care as the invading illegal aliens, are tired of it. Deport all illegals including the so-called Dreamers. Let them ‘dream’ in their own country and work to improve it. We neither need nor want them.
The problem with this article and most social justice warriors. Is that they only think short term. If they had learnt history they would know most scenario’s have already happened before.
It all comes down to first aid. Because that is basically what this all is.
The first rule of first aid is to not endanger yourself -the first aider-. And I definitely see a danger.
First of all I am not against helping people in need at all. I am against the entire title of this article though. “Syrian refugees”. It follows the mainstream idea that all immigrants are Syrian refugees. That is just plain wrong
I am against letting all people in, because in those numbers it dilutes the culture of a country instead of strengthening it. Even more so if we are talking about importing Islam.
By the way,the security argument and the no responsibility argument both hold, perhaps you should do some better research.
Here is an apetizer for you:
Alternatively you can open your naieve eyes and count the number of terrorist attacks and casualties that have been the consequence of (illegal) immigrants in the last 10 years opposed to all the years before that. In almost every single incident nowadays the perpetrator is a muslim.
Learn what happened to the Roman empire (too much immigration). Learn what happened to Lebanon (lefties helped muslims rebel against the rest of the population).
Basically if you let everyone in, the dominant ones or the ones with the higher numbers will take over eventually. Thus not only endangering the first aider, but making him/her unable to help further or in the future.
1) We already have vetting to determine if one is actually a refugee.
2) When the perpetrator is a white christian, we tend to call them differently.
3) The Roman empire fell because it was impossible to maintain, what with possessing half of the known world and all.
4) The West has a history of exploiting nations AND installing authoritarian regimes (so much for democracy btw). We are at fault for creating many of these refugees.
Bulljive. They overbreed when they can’t even support themselves. Don’t bring that crap here!
Hey, sometimes I see a 500 server error when I arrive at this website. Just a heads up, cheers
Your arguments are specious at best. You must be a government troll.
You never answer the basic question: “Why is it so damn important for the U.S. government to be taking in all these “refugees” in the first place? Why?
Nobody pushing all these “refugees” on American Citizens — not the MSM, the NYT, WASHPO, HUFFPO, all of MSM — answer this question. As an American Citizen I want to know. I demand to know. Why is it so damn important for the U.S. government to be taking in all these “refugees” in the first place? Why?
These people will be vetted? Are you kidding me? To say that Immigration in the U.S. is completely broken would be kind — if a policy for legal immigration even existed. Forget about legal immigration when we have “illegals, the undocumented, the boat people, the unescorted children, the migrants” all flooding into the country. Are they going to compete with your “refugees?”
The situation is made even worse as the majority of these people come from third world countries that never created education, political, and technology, even the weapons necessary, to prevent their homelands from being destroyed by all these coalitions of the willing. Your “refugees” will never fully integrate. They will be like the Somalis I see at the bank trying to figure out how to operate an ATM.
The reason people emigrated to the “new world’ was to escape the “old world.” Indeed, there is even more reason to keep the “old world” out today, since there is no more escaping it. That reason is even more real today than it was when my family escaped a corrupt and evil English Monarchy in the 1850s.
By your reasoning, the new world and the old world are to become one world. And this can only mean one thing, a worldwide one world of lowered standards over all.
Where are people suppose to escape to after the United States has been turned into a Third World country?
From what I have seen and witnessed, the common means of employment for these “refugees” is in some 24-hour gas station and quickie mart. Just how many 7 Elevens, and Speedy Marts, and AM PMs will the country need when driverless cars take over by 2030?
Just how many “refugees” will be displaced along with your so-called “indigenous citizens” when the robots move 30-million people to the unemployable line by 2050?
The pejorative way talk about “native citizens,” as though we were the a nation of deadbeat losers is disgraceful. Your outright contempt for the homeless — and yes, over 20-percent of the homeless in America are veterans — is revolting.
I can’t wait for a robot to displace you.
Don’t talk when America ruined so many nations. Remember Iraq? Or if you want to go back in history, remember Vietnam?
We were ASKED to come to the aid of Vietnam. They owe us – and all those young men who lost their lives. We do NOT owe taking in Vietnamese into our country. Deport them all.
Why they dont go and work they have hand brain legs they have a language to talk with each other and you but syrian people who escaping from war cant do this he is not able to do this all about what are you talking men?
[…] 4 Arguments Against Accepting Syrian Refugees and Why They All Fail (November 20, 2015, 99,465 hits) […]
Where did you get your information in the “Scarcity Argument” section that the cost for accepting Syrian Refugees was $40 million dollars in 2015? I’m writing a paper and that would be a great piece of information to use if I could have your source. Thanks
Why or how could you say that about Syrian refugees? What have they ever done to you? They are people who have managed to get out of the war alive. I am a Syrian and my grandmother, grandfather, aunt, aunt’s husband, two cousins, and dad’s brother are living there and every night and day they would hear bombs. imagine you are in that situation would you stay there to die or would you want to leave the country and guess what, on top of that people would be hating on you and wanting you to get out. How would you feel?
He can say it because its an opinion we all have one.
Well don’t bring all that crap here. We don’t want them. They need to FIGHT for their own country, not run away like cowards. The English were the people resisting Hitler and they did endure bombing, etc. .
[…] https://benjaminstudebaker.com […]
What fact-checking have you done?
all refuges pose danger and we don’t need that time of danger in are own homes
Idk bout you guys but a bacon and cheese sub, would go down real smoth like right now.
nah meatball and cheese man