Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Immigration (part 2): Biased opinion time

Ok, so last time I posted in this series I gave you guys the facts relating to refugees and asylum seekers in Australia. Check out that post if you haven't already so you can understand the background here. 

In case you haven't already heard somehow, I'm a Canadian living in Australia. I'm an immigrant. So that makes me slightly biased, of course, and in case you haven't read the title for some reason this post is going to be pretty opinionated on a pretty sensitive and complicated subject. 

There are, for the most part, two main opinions surrounding asylum seekers. We should let them into Australia, and we shouldn't. The lines of reasoning behind those opinions vary, of course. From what I can gather, people don't want to grant asylum seekers asylum because it's believed that refugees can't integrate into society, are expensive to support, take Australian jobs, are terrorists and people don't want Australia to be overrun with immigrants. 

On the other hand, it's believed refugees should be allowed because they are people trying to escape from war and other disasters such as famines or persecution. It's the correct humanitarian thing to do, and refugees improve our society through multiculturalism. 

There is, of course, more to this argument on both sides and I've simplified it a lot, mostly because I don't want to spend ages researching this and because I can't write a thousand word essay on it. If I've missed anything important, please fill me in down in the comments! 

So here's my opinion. We as Australians should allow refugees, and more of them, into Australia. These people are escaping from war, poverty and unimaginable conditions that I can't even imagine, and go through an intense screening process in order to live in Australia. Obviously, there are always concerns about cost and terrorism. We've had about three main different terrorist attacks in Australia in the last few years, all done in the name of Islam. That is something that unfortunately cannot be ignored. However, white dudes do horrible things all the time and no one talks about exporting them. 

I believe we shouldn't judge an entire group of people on a few people's bad choices. Quite a few of the refugees are well-educated and once they get settled into their new country they can and do contribute to society. It will, of course, take time. Not everyone knows English and some people need to learn trades. Settling into a new country is hard, especially if you were forced to leave your old country and not everyone is terribly kind to you in your new one. 

Women and children make up the majority of refugees, and many refugees have achieved amazing things. Malala Yousafzai, Albert Einstein, Ahn Do. 18% of Syrians immigrants living the United States have advanced degrees while 11% of Americans have degrees. Immigrants are engineers, athletes, teachers, small business owners, business men and women. My mom works with a pharmacist from Iraq, and I work with another from South Africa. 

We as Australians need to be more welcoming and accepting. These people may not always look like us, talk like us, dress like us. But at the end of the day, what makes us Australian is our ideals and our willingness to make this country our home. How can Australians be worried about being overrun by immigrants when most of their ancestors were immigrants themselves? How can people be alright with me, a white Canadian, living in their country but not a teenage girl from Syria? What makes us different? Why should I get the opportunity to complete my education, gain employment, to have friends when that opportunity is denied to others based on their religion or where they came from? 

There are always issues of security and practical costs associated with immigrants. With anything this complicated, there will be issues associated with any solution. But can we stop innocent people from having a fulfilling, safe life? 

What's your view on the refugee crisis? 


  1. I'm certainly not opposed to welcoming refugees into my country. (TBH, I would feel safer if my government did more to challenge the white terrorist problem, rather than accusing innocent immigrants left and right...) It's a complicated issue, but still. I see very much where you're coming from!

  2. I think that we need to be helping these people. Excluding people in need and turning them away is one of the worst things we could do as humans. Especially with people from places like Syria and the like, they need our help, we shouldn't be making all these rules that completely turn them away. When you think of some of the horrors so many of these people have faced, it only makes it worse to exclude them.

    Little Moon Elephant

  3. One of the main issues people have with welcoming in large numbers of refugees in a short period of time is that it generates a large culture shift. Integration takes time and, unfortunately, in spite of the fact that many people are welcoming and understanding, others will invariably be less welcoming or civilized. Fast shifts in culture tend to lead to conflict; unfortunately, it's how we work as humans.

    Here in the U.S., we have a fair amount of tension between people groups already. One might argue that adding more tension is a poor idea, especially when considering there is also a monetary factor to accepting refugees that further complicates the matter. (We're currently 19.9 trillion dollars in debt; that's about $165,000 for each taxpayer. Stats from U.S. debt clock). When 1/4th of your paycheck may already be going to the government, it makes you a little crazy to hear they want to spend money on other people, even if you know those people need help. Compound that with other obstacles that come with immigration--jobs, changing culture, fear (founded or unfounded)--and you get a heated situation.

    On the other hand, I also agree that helping people should be a priority. I'm not entirely sure that welcoming everyone fleeing from disaster is the most helpful or practical. If everyone could behave as decent human beings (including current citizens), then it wouldn't be a big deal. Unfortunately, I don't think that's going to happen anytime soon. To pretend that we can all welcome refugees without batting an eye would be to whitewash the situation, and, in my opinion, it would be foolhardy to base policies off of that assumption.

    What's the solution? I'm not sure. Personally, I'd be leery of welcoming in massive amounts of refugees without a certain amount of caution. (Even if there was a way to entirely ascertain they were all well-intentioned people, you have to consider the reactions of your current citizens). However, I think it would be equally despicable to turn a blind eye and pretend there's not a crisis going on in so many peoples' lives. I'm not sure there's any easy solution and I haven't fully researched alternatives to those two options thoroughly enough that I could be comfortable presenting a solution.

    As for the rate of educated persons immigrating to the U.S., that's partially because the system is biased toward bringing in people who have a more extensive education. The morality/practicality of that is another fun debate, if you're looking for one.

    Anyways, sorry for the long comment. It's hard to provide a concise response on such a complex topic.


Feel free to leave your thoughts and opinions! I'd love to hear from you. Please note that I reserve the right to delete comments that I think are hurtful.