Western refugee policy has been commended for its openness, but it may have unforeseen disastrous effects. In 2015, photos of 4-year-old Alan Kurdi (below) washed up against the shore ignited massive reforms in many European and American nations. Most countries adopted a lottery system, in which 0.5% of Syrian refugees gain permanent resettlement, and 10% receive asylum. The remaining populate refugee camps, where they stay for 20 or more years, or become illegal immigrants in neighboring countries.
According to Oxford professors Paul Collier and Alexander Betts, for every $135 spent on foreign aid in Europe, $1 is spent on refugees in the Middle East. This statistic is particularly troubling, as Syrians are more likely to seek potentially hazardous journeys to Europe. In fact, the Open Door policy in Germany has led to the drowning of more than 700 refugees over a 3-day period while crossing Mediterranean in 2016. Moreover, economic stratification grew within the Syrian community, as only the most wealthy families may afford to bribe smugglers.
Collier and Betts propose radical improvements to the Western lottery system. Ideally, Syrian refugees would immediately join the workforce in order for nations to capitalize on human resources and reroute aid towards job creation. This model additionally thwarts the (baseless) threat of terrorism, as well-connected individuals are no longer prey to extremism. The weight of the refugee crisis impacts all countries, and as writer Jonathan Kay states, “In the end, what’s more important — doing good, or the appearance of doing good?”
Kay, Jonathan. “Jonathan Kay: Why Canada’s refugee policy may actually be doing more harm than good.” National Post, 8 Sept. 2017, nationalpost.com/news/canada/jonathan-kay-why-canadas-refugee-policy-may-actually-be-doing-more-harm-than-good. Accessed 10 Sept. 2017.
Pianigiani, Jim Yardley and Gaia. “Three Days, 700 Deaths on Mediterranean as Migrant Crisis Flares.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 29 May 2016, www.nytimes.com/2016/05/30/world/europe/migrants-deaths-mediterranean-libya-italy.html. Accessed 10 Sept. 2017.
Walsh, Bryan. “Drowned Syrian Boy Alan Kurdi's Story: Behind the Photo.” Time, Time, 29 Dec. 2015, time.com/4162306/alan-kurdi-syria-drowned-boy-refugee-crisis/. Accessed 10 Sept. 2017.