Why We Should Help The Refugees

Since the beginning of the Syrian Civil War, in 2011, four million people have left the country, looking for better conditions of life elsewhere. To this day, countries like Turkey and Lebanon, which are geographically located near the war-torn country, have received and helped the great majority of the refugees. But now they are coming to Europe, and it is time for us to make an important decision, that will change Europe, and very likely the world.

At the moment, Europe is divided on whether we should help these people. A growing, loud sector of society demands action. Hungary, Slovakia, and Poland especially, with nationalist governments in power, are against any help. Their concerns about economy, security, and cultural and racial tensions are close to xenophobic behaviour, but the truth is, as sovereign states, they are making a statement
Now, is their stance on this issue true to the actual reality? Is it actually true refugees are here to disgrace our countries, and bring ISIS over? As you might have guessed, no.
An article written in The Frontier Post, an independent English newspaper, makes a great argument out of the refugee crisis. Citing various studies, they have found no links between "so called" nationalists main arguments and reality. Let us look at a few examples:
  • Immigration benefits host countries: immigrants bring new skills with them, and an entrepreneurial spirit, often creating jobs themselves; In Denmark, an influx of refugees in the 90s actually increased the average wage of the natives, as the Danish would move on to more skilled jobs;
  • Immigration and fertility rates: Europe is dying out. Countries like Germany and Portugal for example, might lose a huge chunk of their population by 2100, and the sustainability of their social security systems is already at threat. Germany already relies on workers from other EU European Union nations to fill many jobs. Historically, these immigrants have higher fertility rates and are very young when coming to Europe (51% of Syrian refugees are less than 18 years old), and can be a part of the solution;
  • Healthcare benefits: there is little evidence to support the claim that immigrants will move simply to take advantage of generous government benefits. In Britain, for example, immigrants pay more in taxes than they receive in benefits;
  • Debt: An US Congressional Budget Office report in 2013 estimated that facilitating the path to citizenship and making "more employment-based visas available to foreigners" would raise GDP by 5.4% and "lower the federal budget deficit by $897 billion over 20 years".
Friends, you now have the facts. Use them well. More than the economic benefits of accepting refugees, we are humans after all. Compassion is what distinguishes us from animals, apart from intelligence (which is always questionable ). Let us be like Lebanon, and save this people from suffering. Let us save Syria.

by Afonso Boavida


Edited by Juliana Gonçalves Saunders

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