Saturday, September 19, 2015

Refugee Crisis: Where is the Middle Ground?

When it comes to the current refugee crisis, I have concerns. Here is the deal. There seems to be two deeply entrenched, and very polarized opinions on how the refugee crisis should be handled. There is the "Let everyone in, and help all the refugees, no borders, no controls!" and there is the "Let no one in! Screw the refugees!". Where is the middle ground of empathy and compassion, but prudence, law and order??

No. You can't just let people flow through an unprotected border. Why? Many reasons. Security is one. To not know who is or isn't in a country doesn't seem prudent in the slightest. Now, many of the refugees who are showing up at the border of countries like Croatia and Hungary aren't interested in staying in these countries. We know they want to make it to Western European countries like Germany. Many of the refugees merely want to pass through. Well, ya, that's reasonable. But, it's also wise and prudent to have an understanding of who it is that is flooding into the country and whether they are staying or just passing through. It's wise to know what they might have on them. It's wise to know about any illness they may have. It's wise to know what countries people originate from. It's wise to know who is travelling with whom and what their reason is. These, as far as I am concerned, are common sense questions. This is important information to ensure the safety and well being of all involved. There is nothing wrong with trying to get this information. And to get this information people have to go through proper, official channels.

Many have argued that these are refugees who are fleeing from war who are looking for a better life, so let them through. Ya, most of them are, there is no doubt about that, and they do deserve to live better than they have been living and they do need help. No question there. But, does this mean law and order should be abandoned within Europe? There is anger that borders have been closed. But, have they really? Yes, there are borders areas where fences are going up. Does this mean that refugees aren't being allowed in? No, not necessarily. It means that they are being funnelled into legal channels. What has been stopped is the open border areas where people can just flow through anywhere, unimpeded, unquestioned.

This is prudence. This ensures the welfare of the people already living within a country. Is it frustrating for migrants who are wanting to get to more affluent Western European countries? Yes. But, should law and order be abandoned because they are frustrated? I argue that no, it isn't. Now closing up borders also comes with a heavy responsibility to those closing the borders. It is important now for people to be processed quickly and efficiently. It is important not to have people languish in camps. It is important to keep the process moving. But equally important that there is a process.

Now, when I look at the countries facing the brunt of this crisis at the moment I see a common theme: Poverty. Unfortunately, at the moment, less affluent countries like Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Greece are facing an influx of thousands upon thousands of people that they have to deal with on limited resources. They don't have the infrastructure or systems in place to deal with this. And, they also don't have the cash. And there seems to be little patience being shown for these countries. There are heavy expectations on them to deal with the crisis with seeming little support in actually dealing with it.

But, this polarization must end, between two sides that are far apart and both out of touch. We cannot ignore the plight of many of these people and we should be helping. But at the same time, we must be prudent about how we handle the situation. It cannot be a free for all. There must be controls. There must be law and order. And we must all understand that this is what is needed. There is a middle ground of desire to help, empathy and compassion while being wise and doing this in a way that is orderly and safe.

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