There is a common idea throughout the United States that when immigrants or refugees come to the United States they are stealing jobs from Americans. This has been a dilemma for Americans for years and a fear that President Trump ran his campaign on.
People are convinced that accepting refugees into the US means Americans will not have jobs and as a result the economy will suffer. In the numbers that have been calculated it seems that while this assumption may be true it has little to no impact on the US or any other country’s overall economy.
In the town of Utica, New York the acceptance of refugees has helped to lift it out of an economic decline. Utica claims to love refugees and how they have contributed to their community.
According to economist Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and a senior UN advisor, refugees are a net positive for the economy of the United States.
there are gains when people come, add to the labor market, add skills and generally, earn less than what they can contribute to the society as a whole. – Sachs
In the simplest terms by having more people in the US there is an increase in purchases. therefore more money is going into the economy. Refugees are engaging in the economy of their host countries in order to improve their circumstances and succeed in the new chapter of their lives.
People should be more interested in the fact that it is our humanitarian right to save these people from the civil wars they are so badly suffering from. In 2015 Martin O’Malley claimed “Accommodating sixty-five thousand refugees in our country . . . of three hundred and twenty million is akin to making room for six and a half more people in a baseball stadium with thirty-two thousand.”
The countries bordering Syria have taken in more refugees than any others. With much smaller economies than the United States it would make sense that these companies economies would be suffering, however this is not the case.
The Turkish economy has expanded 2-3 percent in the past two years and Lebanon and Jordan are seeing improvements in their economies as well. There is little proof to show that accepting more refugees into the United States would negatively affect the economy.
People that are pushing for letting in fewer refugees and for putting more restriction on refugees entering this country are always using the “fact” that refugees will hurt our economy. Not only is this not true but refugees can actually help strengthen our economy. Watch this video by Al Jazeera English to find out how refugees have done this in Europe already.
Many individuals argue that refugees pose a threat to the American economy, claiming that they only absorb resources and are not contributors. Watch as this family tells their story about making a living and think about the stimulation they cause in the economy.
Refugees show an incredible amount of resilience and in the face of hardship, find many ways to continue to support their families. Despite facing many barriers to success, this family has managed to grow a business which supports their family and their surrounding community. Many myths are perpetuated in the fear mongering around accepting refugees. Talk of refugees being a drain on U.S. resources is often core to discussion. However, this family demonstrates that refugees do not intend to merely accept help. Refugees look for the structure that they have lost from being displaced and realize that they need to find new ways to subsist. The robust U.S. economy is not just drained from refugees but it is bolstered by their activity in the market.
As many of you all have heard, President Trump had ordered a military strike on a Syrian airfield where it is said missiles filled with sarin gas were launched and used to attack civilians in the city of Idlib.
In the midst of a refugee crisis and an ongoing civil war, could the situation escalate to a point where the president would have a change of heart and now accept refugees fleeing the war torn country of Syria?
I would think we would all not push for more war, as so many innocent civilians have been paying the ultimate price. But this can put the president in a sticky situation. If he escalates the crisis in Syria, is he now obligated to help the innocent fleeing the country?
Let us know what you think in the comments section.
An ethical decision broadly, is any decision that affects other people. These ethical decisions are made on a persons or community’s morals. There are many morals that throughout history have been accepted as almost universal. Not taking life, being generous, being honest, and many more. There are also some that have become more accepted and universal in modern times for example that the natural resources of this planet should be protected and preserved. Though every individual and community will have most of these morals they will also have morals that are more specific to them. This specific set of morals that a community or individual has, is what guides their way of life. There are two things that must be thought of, does america’s decision on how to act on the refugee crisis have ethical implications and if so how does america’s specific set of morals apply.
What is an ethical implication? When you go to the grocery store and are in the dairy aisle trying to decide which whether to chose 2% or 1% does not have ethical implications. Now if you are in the same scenario and are choosing between milk that comes from a source that uses sustainable farming practices or one that does not then that decision does have ethical implications. It is important to realize that when looking at decision that your personal morals do not effect if something has ethical implications. The moral that one should protect the planet and it’s resources may not be in your specific set of morals at all and you may think this is important but the milk decision would still have ethical implications since it is affecting other peoples lives. Both sides of an issue tend to only see the implications that support their stances on an issue. So what are the ethical implications of the possible decisions on the refugee crisis? One ethical implication that the anti-refugee supporters tend to highlight is the fact the refugees could possibly endanger the lives of the community that accepts them. Though this risk is very small it is important to look at all ethical implications. Another implication that anti-refugee supporters highlight is that accepting refugees can hurt the economy and put a burden on social services making it harder for the community to take care of itself. The next implication that I want to highlight is hard for people to understand in america since this kind of situation is foreign to so many of us. That is why to show the ethical implications of leaving the refugees in the current location I am going to show you a video of what the refugees in Syria are fleeing from, though this video is important to see it is also highly graphic and may disturbing for some readers.
So it is pretty clear that there are the large ethical implications for america’s decision on how to respond to the refugee crisis. Then the question is what morals among America’s set of morals apply to this decision and how? Our founding father declared that one of the foundational morals that our country was founded on was that all people have a right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. One of the first European groups that came to america was the pilgrims. They were fleeing a government that was restricting these right so they fled to a new place.
There is no way to look at this without seeing that in the founding of america there was this established moral the people have right to flee from harm to a new place an better life. Through the years America has reinforced this moral that it must accept people from other places. This can be seen when america accepted millions of Irish during the Irish potato famine, people believed at the time that it would hurt the economy or have other adverse affects but still the refugees were accepted. That is because it is the only logical conclusion, if it is put forth that the core moral of america is that all men are created equal and that because of that they have a right to life liberty and pursuit of happiness. America was not founded on the belief that all american citizens are equal but that all men are equal. There have been times that america has ignored this core moral in order to help them selves or what they perceive as the greater good. Two of the worst examples were america forgot this core belief and either put economic prosperity or community safety (as they perceived it) before this core belief was the trails of tears and other interactions indigenous peoples and slavery. History has not looked kindly on these times were america has forgotten this founding moral that it was founded on. By this core moral, america has a moral obligation to help these refugees and to do so even at if it costs america. If this is still the core of american morality then this is the only option.
Take a look at this short video about one family’s adaption to the United States.
After having to leave Syria in 2012, they then moved to Jordan. Unfortunately, refugees are not allowed to work in Jordan and so they were losing money fast.
Then they learned that they were being resettle to the US in Rockford, Illinois. After an extensive two year process, they were finally able to come to the US. The family was overjoyed being as none of them have ever been to the United States before. “We hope that we do not disappoint you.” they said referring to Americans.
Although there have been difficulties adapting to life in the US such as transportation, language, shopping and learning how to use their appliances the family is doing well. All the children are in school, the whole family is learning English and the father Mufak, will soon have a job.
There is no reason to believe that refugees and Americans cannot live in harmony. Culture is not something that is set in stone. As can be seen with this family it is possible for refugees to learn and adapt to our lifestyle and in turn we could learn from them as well. Too often are refugees seen as threats when in reality most are families just like ours trying to live the happiest and safest lives they can.
One of the family members said that what he loved most about being in America is our laws. He loved the freedom and he loved the ability to be protected by our laws. It is things like this that we tend to take for granted. We forget that there are people that cannot do virtually whatever they would like as we can.
It is important to remember that there are families like this one out there that need our help. We should be providing assistance and love to them, what they are doing is not easy.
At the end of the video the narrator days “We contain multitudes which has always strengthened us.” This quotes reminds me of our country’s motto e pluribus unum or out of many, one. We are stronger and better when we join forces, there is no reason to deny people that want to join our country the ability to do so.
Anti-refugee are highly prevalent yet it is incredibly difficult to find individuals willing to articulate the sentiments overly on the internet. Americans, by 60% to 37%, oppose plans for the U.S. to take in at least 10,000 Syrian refugees who are trying to escape the civil war in their country according to a Gallup poll. Additionally, the current president ran on the premise that he was going to strictly prohibit refugees from entering the United States. Therefore, many individuals clearly share the idea that refugees should not be resettled in the United States.
Mary Doetsch argues in an opinion article that, “Despite claims of enhanced vetting, the reality is that it is virtually impossible to vet an individual who has no type of an official record, particularly in countries compromised by terrorism.” Though Doetsch may technically be correct about the reality of the vetting process, the actual reality is that this is a structural vulnerability faced by refugees, not a tool that they access at their convenience.
Doetsch argues in the same article that, “Nonetheless, during the past decade and specifically under the Obama administration, the Refugee Admissions Program continued to expand blindly, seemingly without concern for security or whether it served the best interests of its own citizens.” Though the program to resettle refugees may have expanded very rapidly and perhaps suffered some consequences from that situation, the fact remains that the United States is fulfilling its duty to international citizens.
In his article, Matthew Osnowitz argues that, “Just because we are not morally obligated to accept the Syrian refugees does not mean that we should not let the refugees into the country.” Ultimately, Osnowitz reaches the conclusion that the United States does not have a moral obligation to let refugees into its borders because there are ostensibly other countries which have opened their doors to them. However, the United States does have the resources and capacity to resettle refugees and doing so would be more beneficial than detrimental. Though Doetsch argues that refugees policy is not tight enough, she fails to consider the fact that the United States should be trying its hardest to view the situation from those who are in vulnerable positions of suffering as opposed to privileged views.
For those who are curious about the vetting process for refugees entering the United States, please take a look at the video below.
Let us know if it seems thorough enough or could more be done to ensure a safe transition into the country.
While there is no legal obligation for a country to accept refugees, some might argue that there is a moral one. In general terms people should feel morally obligated to help others in need so why should the situation with refugees be any different?
When news outlets discuss refugees they tend to speak of their admittance into our country solely on the basis of national security. “Is it safe for our citizens if we let all these foreigners into the United States?” Rarely is the safety of the refugees questioned.
In an article written by a professor at Northeastern University, the discussion of the moral obligations to help refugees is discussed. The initial cause for the moral obligation to help refugees is in the knowledge that if they are not helped there is a large reason to believe that they will be killed.
The unfortunate reality is, this fact has not persuaded people that there is a real need to assistance. Instead, large Western countries will help to implement refugee camps in other countries or plan resettlements as long as it is not in their own country. The author of the article Serena Parekh mentions how these refugee camps are doing no good for the people that are supposedly seeking refuge in them.
Indeed, the situation is so bad in Jordan that people are choosing to return home to Syria rather than remain there. – Parekh
Refugees are choosing to live in a constant fear of death and violence rather than face what is supposed to be a safer place. The resources that the countries willing to host refugees have are no better than what the refugees already have access to. These countries that are primarily in the Global South need help on their own and require even more support to help the extra people that they are trying to help.
If the stronger Western countries were open to accepting more refugees themselves rather just providing resources, it would cut out the middle man and help even more people in need of assistance.
Refugee stories is weekly post we will do highlighting actual refugees’ stories and showing their humanity.