What to do about the European immigration issue

October 22, 2015


So far in 2015, it is estimated by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) that more than 600,000 refugees from Africa and the Middle East have entered Europe by the boatload after crossing the Mediterranean Sea along with an undocumented number of others entering by land.


This has caused a crisis as European countries have struggled to cope with the mass influx of arriving people.


These refugees are seeking asylum for a multitude of reasons, but the main driving forces have been the conflict in Syria, the rising violence in countries like Afghanistan and Iraq and the problem of poverty in Kosovo. Unfortunately, their desperation has a price.


Many immigrants who try to sail their way across the Mediterranean have drowned because of unsafe conditions on their journey.


Germany has become the most popular destination for those arriving, with around 220,000 migrants filing asylum applications with the country. Hungary has found itself as the second most popular destination with about 96,000.


This crisis has caused rising tensions within the European Union and now its member states have become divided on how the situation should be handled.


The issue the EU has found the most difficult to deal with is the disproportionate distribution of the refugees, mainly in Greece and Italy where many of the refugees land after crossing the sea, and in Hungary, where the refugees have clashed with riot police.


The EU could handle this a few different ways. Some methods are more humane than others.


One option is to create quotas. Each country would be required to take in a certain number of refugees from the front-line countries of Italy, Greece and Hungary and spreading them across the continent.


This idea is one that has already been proposed by EU leaders but there are some issues.


What happens when an asylum seeker gets sent to a different country than his family and what is keeping him in the country they get assigned to when Europe essentially has no borders?


A bit more drastic idea would be to take military action. This idea is not likely to happen and would not solve the root problem.


The refugees would still find ways into the country if they were desperate enough. This could cause unnecessary conflicts between military forces and asylum-seekers.


Of course, the EU could simply do nothing and let the situation work itself out with each individual country.


A previous plan announced earlier this year by the EU failed after they greatly underestimated the number of people that would try to seek refuge in member countries.


EU members have their own priorities and views regarding the refugee crisis. Under current EU law, member states have the right to deport any refugees back to the country they originally arrived in.


Unfortunately, officials are concerned this would hurt the sense of unity in the EU.


Europe has open borders under the EU and dealing with refugees in this manner would essentially become border control.


Regardless of how the EU decides to handle this crisis, it should be handled. The EU needs to be united on this issue and create a plan that will not single out certain members.


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