I have been asked why such huge immigration is taking place now and how we got in this mess. But it is not just now, and I will tell you why and who is pushing immigration rights.
Hundreds of thousands of migrants are pounding on Europe, North American invisible doors — gloomy, exhausted and desperate to escape the daily carnage in their homelands, but filled with hope.
But their arrival also puts a strain on world resources. For example, Germany expects to take in 800,000 refugees and says it will spend at least 6 billion euros ($6.7 billion). Austria, which received 16,000 migrants in just two days Several oil-rich Arab nations closer to the conflict zones have come under harsh criticism because they’ve taken in no refugees.
So, the big question is, “are countries obligated to house refugees? If so, why?”
Mostly, it boils down to an old international treaty and promoted by the UNHCR, the United Nations’ refugee agency.
The 1951 Refugee Convention was adopted after World War II, when hundreds of thousands of refugees were displaced across Europe.
The treaty defines what refugees are. In the short answer would be those who are seeking refuge from persecution. It also gives them a very important right -- the right to not be sent back home into harm’s way, except under extreme circumstances.
“Since, by definition, refugees are not protected by their own governments, the international community steps in to ensure they are safe,” said the UNHCR.
The treaty was amended in 1967, in part to include refugees from around the world.
And according to the provisions, “refugees deserve, as a minimum, the same standards of treatment enjoyed by other foreign nationals in a country and, most times, the same treatment as nationals,” the UNHCR said.
The agency said they have resettled more than 50 million refugees. Over the past several decades, 142 states have signed on to both the 1951 Refugee Convention and the 1967 protocol.
Hungary is one of the signatories. But it has been criticized by migrants and activists who say refugees are left in decrepit conditions as they await transfer. Now, Hungary is erecting a fence at the Serbian border to help control the flow of migrants.
Countries outside of Europe are also stepping up to handle the current flood of refugees. Venezuela will take in 20,000 refugees. Australia said it has absorbed 4,500 refugees from Syria and Iraq over the past year.
Noticeably absent from the list: The Gulf states of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates.
Well over 366,000 refugees have crossed the Mediterranean Sea to Europe this year, the UNHCR said. Another 2,800 attempted the journey, but either died or disappeared.
The vast majority of refugees come from three countries: Iraq, where migrants are fleeing the brutality of ISIS; Afghanistan, which has been devastated by war; and Syria, where civilians are grappling with both ISIS and indiscriminate attacks in the country’s civil war.
What rights do refugees have?
In addition to not getting sent back to their home countries, refugees have several other rights, including:
- The right to not be punished for illegally entering countries that signed on to the treaty
- The right to housing Hungary border
- The right to work
- Access to education
- Access to public assistance
- Access to courts
- The right to get identification and travel documents
So why aren’t Gulf countries taking in refugees?
Since oil-rich Gulf states are close to Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, could help absorb some refugees, right? Wrong.
Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates have each given millions of dollars to the United Nations to help Syrian refugees. But they haven’t housed any of them, according to Amnesty International.
The final nail in this coffin ride is you can’t deport someone unless the country you are deporting an immigrant to will accept them.
And that is how I find things on the immigration front.