Foundation of The United States Future
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The United States is built on the principle of individual liberty, stating that each of it’s citizens has the right to be free from unfair governement encroachment. It is time for the United States, as well as other developed nations, to expand this belief to places where people do not have the privledge to be born into a just system. In “The United States and the European Refugee Crisis: Standing with Allies”, the paper details how the EU-Turkey deal of March 2016 sparked controversy last year as it was designed in order to improve overflowing refugee traffic and provide aid to millions of refugees living in Turkey. Despite this deal being a major step towards dealing with the refugee crisis, some fear that refugees would take national priority if Balkan countries opened their borders.
As this problem becomes increasingly more complex and innocent people continue to die, it is necessary to make refugees a priority. If more countries began imitating and adapting plans such as the EU-Turkey deal, the future of refugees can turn around completely and reverse foreign policy for generations to come. Although this declaration seems far fetched, it is the only way to ensure steps will be taken to revolutionize the future for refugees. For this reason, the humanitarian needs of refugees should be a priority over a country’s national interests due to a country’s moral obligations, the decrease in illegal activity it will bring, and the benefits to the host country, despite opinions that only decisions that support national interest are essential.
The argument that a country’s national interests should take priority over the lives of refugees is outdated and self-serving. By taking in and providing for refugees, it is effectively saving their lives. However, providing aid cannot be a second tier priority. In the article, “I Am Strange Here: Conversations with The Syrians in Calais”, Simon Cottee explains in order for a country to fulfill its moral obligations, humanitarian needs must be prioritized, writing, “Refugee crises affect not only millions of marginalized people directly but also the policies and practices of virtually every government in the world” (Cottee). In his article he details a safe haven known as The Jungle, located in Northern France, it serves as a makeshift refugee camp for 3,000 migrants from Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan, and many more countries. With support from the British government, French authorities are attempting to build a safer and cleaner haven that will one day hold more refugees and inspire other countries to imitate refugee camps similar to The Jungle. Furthermore, havens such as these need to provide sustainability, with an ultimate goal of assimilating refugees into a safer country.
In regards to the United States, the words ‘give me your tired, your poor… send these, the homeless, tempest tost to me’ cannot continue to be an empty promise as it lies at America’s very foundation. With a new White House, not only disregarding policies that would have saved thousands of refugees in the upcoming years, but also instilling new plans to close borders, failure to address this moral imperative will lead to more unwarranted human suffering.
Additionally, another reason there is controversy over allowing refugees into countries is because of the stigma associated with them: a stigma of violence and illegal activity that citizens do not want in their country. In actuality, refugees are exploited by smugglers who end up getting them killed or imprisoned.If countries implement policies that allow people to seek humanitarian needs, not only will the amount of illegal immigrants decrease, but as will the deaths in transit and amount of smuggling. Growth of the smuggling industry require expensive migration regulations, thus creating a self-perpetuating spiral. In order to mitigate the desperation perpetuating the smuggling industry, humanitarian needs must be prioritized. This is evident in Ben Hubbard’s article, “Money Flows With Refugees, and Life Jackets Fill the Shops” which details a smuggling infrastructure hidden in Izmar, the third largest city of Turkey. With smugglers lining the streets, many attempt to get to Europe on cheap lifeboats through doing illegal activity, “…of the 45 people per 10 lifeboats, approximately half will not make the journey” (Hubbard). If more policies were introduced to protect refugees from this intense exploitation, lives would be same and illegal activity would decrease.
In conclusion, it is impossible for this problem to fix itself. Countries have to take steps to pave the foundation of a future they would like to see due to a country’s moral obligations, the decrease in illegal activity it will bring, and the benefits to host countries. In Hubbard’s article he quotes a young refugee saying, “We are running away from death.” The race will never end unless countries begin to implement policies that are sustainable. Humanitarian need includes safety, shelter, food, and water. Humanitarian need is not synonymous with humanitarian aid as aid is merely a means to address humanitarian needs. Countries need to prioritize strong policies that are both life saving and life sustaining.