Is Europe allowing its compassion to sacrifice its security by allowing refugees to stay.
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I am not here to propose a solution, merely to dissipate the idea that these refugees pose a security threat to Europe. This scale of migration of refugees is largely unprecedented, and therefore there are few protocols in place to deal effectively with it. The main line of argument seems to be that refugees must seek asylum in the first EU member state they reach. (1) This is a fairly regular happening, only this time, there's an awful lot of them, and they are on the move.
We have seen scenes of chaos; refugees in Hungary breaking out into violence, and tensions on Lesvos have reached peak point. But these are common scenes when large parties become disgruntled or wrongly treated; in the London riots of 2011 or the Brixton riots in 1981. We have recovered from these sorts of things, as we will do now. So as far as the immediate threat goes, there seems to be no pressing danger.
Now for a more pressing matter; should the migrants be here in the first place? There have been concerns over the legitimacy of asylum claims, with some suggesting this is an IS plot to infiltrate Europe. (2) In my opinion, this is dangerous, a total scaremongering tactic and an unfair accusation to stamp on people who have had their sons and daughters washed up on beaches in the name of refuge. But if we put that aside, and somehow entertain the idea that this bizarre notion held a kernel of truth, then it is a rather frightening concept. But they're here now. And they're not leaving. So all the while we ignore them, or try to give them to another state, we don't know who they are or where they are. So surely, logic screams at us to identify them, help them, give them refuge, because if we know who and where they are, and they do turn out to be militants; we can secure a conviction, approval to imprison or deport them. So they only pose a security threat if we allow this situation to continue unrecorded.
Now onto the idea of compassion. The best examples of this can be seen at the German border; people welcoming the refugees with open arms, food, and blankets. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been the voice of calm, confident welcoming, offering up to 500,000 refugees asylum a year. (3) Compassion is something the world needs yet cannot afford. The world also seems to be obsessed with the idea that kindness and diplomacy are two mutually exclusive events. They are not. Germany is not scared, nor under threat. Angela Merkel is not scared, and her idea of structural kindness should be the aim of every EU member state, not least the UK. If Germany, with her influx of migrants, can go forth so confidently, what are the rest of Europe so scared of?
Firstly, I want to clarify if it wasn't already clear before, I'm not anti-refugee. I'm completely in favour of rich western country taking people who are in compliance with the UNHCR definition of a refugee.
"a person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster."
The points I'm making and one you seemed to just gloss over is that we don't know who these people are, which in fairness you addressed with a reasonably logical argument however, I would ask you why would increase the risk to our selves as a country and as continent? Why not just find out who the people in the camps in Syria/Libya/Iran (which is what UK government is doing by only taking people from aforementioned camps) to reduce the risk of a mistake being made on a our soil, hence why the UK and other European countries have now been elevated to a state of "Moderate risk of terror attacks". Which whilst I understand sounds like a long shot we should be prepared for all eventualities.
Now back to the definition a Refugee.
"Escape war, persecution or natural disaster"
How do we know these people are doing that? The people in the refugee camps of Syria/Libya/Iran are all refugees and I would support any bid to help them but these people that have swamped the Hungarian police for in the past week could be anyone? Economic migrants, who are simply looking for a better life, is it fair that we let people who could be anyone from anywhere take the spot of a person who is in genuine need of help like the people in the camps in aforementioned countries. The European union has been taken under the grip of madness initiated by the photos that have circulated recently and Germany couldn't have been less reactionary. Just like many of the European leaders I feel that pressure from the uninformed electorate about the actual situation Europe is could potentially cause untold damage.
Like you said this is a fairly regular happening, but this time, we don't know who these people are, where they come from and there is a lot of them on the move.
I agree that the priority should be people who we can certify, right off the bat, are refugees, as you said, from Syrian, Libyan or Iranian camps. This is the safest and most logical option.
I also agree that we are risking our safety as a continent, and upon re reading your argument and my response I do seemed to have glossed over it. I apologize. In my opinion, we risk more by sending them back, or leaving them on one part of European soil; they need to be accounted for and then dispersed throughout the EU. If they are divided, they are possibly conquered. But if they are kept together; they could pose a larger threat. The last thing we want is to be dragged into full scale war; it was one of the largest mistakes of our last Labour government when we joined the US in the invasion of Afghanistan. But this, potentially could be what we will have to face in the future if the Middle Eastern situation continues to worsen. I think the risks we are taking are, perhaps, not out of human compassion as we are debating, but a more selfish reason; we won't have to spend money war AND taking in refugees. We are already involved with airstrikes against IS, but should any other country wish to get involved on ground level, and drag us in with them; we can play the peacekeeper role. It may be a somewhat ludicrous idea, but it might not be far wrong.
I think in this situation, we should, as you say, be prioritizing refugees over economic migrants (for the most part). But this is bitingly hard to do during such a large influx; we are playing catch up constantly. I think that the flow of migrants needs to be stemmed; taking them from the camps is probably the best way to do this, as you mentioned. But my argument is; they are still here. But if we end up taking our eye off the refugees already here; they could indeed turn out to be a threat, be it terrorist or otherwise. So while I agree there is a potential security threat, and there are ways the situation could have been handled better, but we have taken the risk now, and just have to hope its paid off.
I will addresses some of the other compromises and suggestions you have made.
(1) The Notion that dividing these people up will make them less dangerous. I'm also from the UK and we have had multiple issues of young Muslim men and women going to Syria and Lybia to join IS. I would argue that if we are dealing with some of these refugees being from IS or other terrorist groups we could face a very poisonous situation. I understand how much of a long shot this is, but extremism in the UK isn't none existent and I would argue that potentially allowing these people to spread throughout Europe could be extreme damaging.
The best analogy can think of is with a tree. If the tree gets an infection, for example fungal (I'm obviously not comparing these people to a fungal tree infection just hear me out) you wouldn't allow the fungus to spread throughout the tree which could in the long run cause its death. You would remove the fungus and hope that the infection hadn't spread.
My solution would be to lock down the refugees that have come in to Europe illegally and investigate them all, once cleared to be in Europe through the proper channels I would me more than happy to let these people stay. However you have to remember that these people have illegally bypassed the asylum process to get into Europe quicker, while people that have stayed in their nation states and that are going through the correct procedure have not. Priority should be put on the people who have followed the rules, remained patient through an undoubtedly difficult period.
(2) Risk of war, I completely agree that we should stay out for any type of ground conflict and keep boots firmly off the ground. While supporting their economies and allowing democratic groups to be set up to give the people of these nation states a voice.
Really good debating with you hope to meet you again on other topics, would be great to do a right V left argument with you, which ever way you are inclined! Especially with the election of Corbyn has labour leader this Saturday.
Locking them where they are also puts a huge administration burden on one system; this should be done in a variety of governments to make the process more efficient and reduce the chance of error, or discrepancies being covered over.
It's been great to discuss this. It's my first time on here, so I'm new to everything! A UK politics debate sounds great, soon enough we'll have a new front bench for the Opposition, which would be interesting to discuss.
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