BY MEGAN MATUZAK Unless you live under a rock, you know that a mass exodus out of the war-torn hellhole that is present day Syria is under way and refugee camps are overflowing in Europe. While some countries like Germany welcome the Middle Eastern refugees with cheery, clapping citizens, the migration policies of many European countries are cruel and flat-out racist. Take the legislator from Poland for example, who, in an official televised address to the rest of his government colleagues, called the refugees — most of whom literally walked two thousand miles to find sanctuary from the butchers of rapists of ISIS — “lazy” and wasn’t at all surprised that they would choose Europe to drain dry. David Cameron referred to the migrants as a “swarm.” Yet John Oliver — who fled the U.K. years ago and sneaked into this country in search of a better life disguised as just another unassuming Englishman with bad hair and skinny teeth — gets a pass.
“I’m the lazy migrant! I left the country by airplane and the only things I was escaping were fog, public indifference and almost certain future being the Turtle of Prince Harry’s entourage!” John Oliver shrieked in Sunday night’s episode of Last Week Tonight.
Oliver went on to point out that the media has only muddied the waters, sometimes intentionally. A Fox News reporter walked through the possibility of ISIS members existing amongst the refugees accompanied by b-roll footage of a train car filled with people shouting “Allah Akbar!” with the words “Terrorist Inbound?” on the lower third. There was just one problem: the video was from 2010 and in no way representative of the current refugee crisis.
This is the largest migration Europe has ever seen since WWII and the EU is treating the families fleeing the vicious war crimes of ISIS like irritating mosquitoes. Some countries, like Slovakia, will only allow Christians to enter. Their reasoning? They simply do not have any mosques. And then there’s Hungary, who fed refugees by flinging food into a desperate crowd like they the Phillies Fanatic firing his T-shirt gun into the crowd at Citizen’s Bank Park.
The problem is Europe simply does not have the infrastructure, let alone the will or the empathy, to deal with a massive influx of migrants. And it’s not just Europe. One Iraqi refugee in Turkey was informed by mail that his appointment to be considered for refugee status wouldn’t even happen until February of 2020. As Oliver firmly pointed out, another week is too long of a wait, let alone five years.
The cruel irony is that rapidly aging Europe needs new blood. Desperately. According to CNN, for a developed country to maintain a prosperous modern economy every woman must have at least 2.1 children. If current downward birth rate trends don’t reverse, by 2050 some countries could see a percentage decrease in population in the double digits. By way of example, Portugal’s population would drop by 18.7%. It’s like turning down water while stranded in the middle of the desert. Such are the wages of xenophobic bigotry and ignorance.
The widely held fear that migrants will bankrupt social safety nets is simply not true according to several studies. According to a recent New York Times article, four different economists who studied the situation found that 19 out of 20 industrialized countries demonstrably benefited from immigration. And somebody tell Fox News that not one credible instance of a member of ISIS hiding among the refugees has been reported, according to Oliver.
For now, most refugees are just happy to be safe and secure in these refugee camps and away from Syria where every day brings a new opportunity to die. But in the long run, it’s not enough and refugee camps will not solve the underlying circumstances that are triggering the mass exodus. As Oliver points out, expediting the application process and adequately funding the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ programs would be a great place to start.