Comment: Address the cause of the refugees, not the result (SOIA)

The Student Organisation on International Affairs (SOIA); encouraging political discussion and promoting student opinion on current affairs.  You can read the other opinion from a member of SOIA here.

By: Hamza Hussain

Some argued that it is a country’s moral duty to take in refugees, which sounds normal. However, the notion is very quixotic. When the government of a state assists a refugee they give said refugee financial aid, food and housing. In the case of Switzerland, the government gives a lot of aid to the unemployed, sometimes around 3000-3500 CHF a month; they also pay for French lessons and housing for the individual seeking the benefits. All of the money comes out of taxes. I believe strongly in the Swiss system, and I feel that it is necessary for the government to give help to those who need it, however, I believe that when help is given, it must be given from soup to nuts; there is no point giving inadequate help to hundreds of thousands, who will not be able to recover from the meager aid they have received, when you can whole-heartedly assimilate tens of thousands into society instead.

Furthermore, if the government of a country insists upon giving aid to more and more aid to foreign migrants, it will reach a point where it will have to increase taxes on its own citizens. This would lead to the dissatisfaction of the public and would in turn create strong xenophobia. If xenophobia starts in a country it will take multiple decades to get rid of, as such beliefs as racism are often passed down from generation to generation.

Why go through this when a country could have a medium-sized quota of migrants that they can aid properly, and without any bigotry from its citizens?

There is another question we need to ask ourselves; where is the root of the problem? Refugees are coming from places where terrorism and civil unrest has driven them away from everything that they know and love. There is obviously a limit to the space and economic resources a foreign country can provide to a refugee, so why doesn’t anyone address the cause? Housing refugees is a short-term solution for the countries of Europe, but we need long-term solutions. More aid must be given to countries like Syria and Somalia to lessen the need for migration.

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