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      18 The Portugal News •  20 Jul 2019                           World View


      The Real Refugee Problem                                                                                     N N N N N  GWYNNE

                                                                                                                         DYER

      Every once in a while a photograph of a migrant’s tragic death (usually that of a child) catches the public’s imagination.


                                                                                                        asylum as a refugee.    States and the United
                                                                                                        The same applies to the  Kingdom. Now it’s here.
                                                                                                        migrants crossing the   As the number of migrants
                                                                                                        Mediterranean from Africa  goes up, the willingness of
                                                                                                        to Europe, even though  host populations to receive
                                                                                                        thousands of them are   them will inevitably go
                                                                                                        drowning in the attempt.  down.
                                                                                                        They are fleeing poverty, or  Five percent new
                                                                                                        dictatorial regimes, or even  population in a decade will
                                                                                                        climate change, but they  feel disruptive to some
                                                                                                        are not fleeing war.    people, especially if there
                                                                                                        Neither do they have a  are big cultural differences
                                                                                                        “well-founded fear” of  between the old population
                                                                                                        persecution on account of  and the immigrants, but
                                                                                                        race, religion, nationality,  most people will accept
                                                                                                        political opinion, or   and adapt to it. 10 percent
                                                                                                        membership in a particular  in a decade is definitely
                                                                                                        social group. That is the  pushing it, even though it’s
                                                                                                        language of the United  only one percent a year.
                                                                                                        Nations Convention      And 20 percent new
                                                                                                        Relating to the Status of  population in a decade
                                                                                                        Refugees of 1951, so they  would generate a huge
                                                                                                        don’t qualify as refugees.  political backlash in almost
                                                                                                        You may feel sorry for  any country on Earth.
                                                                                                        them, but there is no legal  That’s human nature. You
                                                                                                        duty to let them in.    may deplore it, but it’s not
                                                                                                        The Refugee Convention  going to change. And
                                                                                                        was incorporated into US  behind uncomfortable
                                                                                                        law in the Refugee Act of  considerations of what the
                                                                                                        1980, so few of the people  politics will permit lies the
                                                                                                        now seeking entry at the  even starker reality that
                                                                                                        Mexican border qualify  they can’t all come. Twenty
                                                                                                        either. This matters,   years from now there will
      Few of the migrants fit the legal definition of refugees in either case. The Arabs and Afghans trying to get into Europe
      Few of the migrants fit the legal definition of refugees in either case. The Arabs and Afghans trying to get into Europe
      Few of the migrants fit the legal definition of refugees in either case. The Arabs and Afghans trying to get into Europe
      Few of the migrants fit the legal definition of refugees in either case. The Arabs and Afghans trying to get into Europe  because while twenty years  be far more people who
      Few of the migrants fit the legal definition of refugees in either case. The Arabs and Afghans trying to get into Europe
      had fled genuine wars, but they were already in Turkey, which is quite safe. They just wanted to move on to somewhere  ago 98 percent of the  desperately want to move
      had fled genuine wars, but they were already in Turkey, which is quite safe. They just wanted to move on to somewhere
      had fled genuine wars, but they were already in Turkey, which is quite safe. They just wanted to move on to somewhere
      had fled genuine wars, but they were already in Turkey, which is quite safe. They just wanted to move on to somewhere
      had fled genuine wars, but they were already in Turkey, which is quite safe. They just wanted to move on to somewhere
      with better job opportunities and a higher standard of living. (Photo: Lusa)
      with better job opportunities and a higher standard of living. (Photo: Lusa)
      with better job opportunities and a higher standard of living. (Photo: Lusa)                      people crossing the border  than the destination
      with better job opportunities and a higher standard of living. (Photo: Lusa)
      with better job opportunities and a higher standard of living. (Photo: Lusa)
                                                                                                        were Mexican young men  countries could possibly
                                                                                       he image of three-  seeking work, more than  accommodate.
                                                                                       year-old Alan    half are now entire families  So the borders will start
                                                                                       Kurdi, fleeing from  from El Salvador,   slamming shut in the
                                                                                Tthe Syrian civil       Guatemala and Honduras  countries, mostly in the
                                                                                war, dead face down in the  – and most of them claim to  temperate zone of the
                                                                                surf on a Turkish beach in  be refugees.        planet, where the climate
                                                                                2015, triggered a wave of  They are not, and that (not  is still tolerable and there
                                                                                sympathy that ended with  Donald Trump) is why US  is still enough food to eat.
                                                                                Germany opening its     courts are rejecting at least  And don’t believe the myth
                                                                                borders to 900,000      three-quarters of the   that you cannot really shut
                                                                                refugees that year – and  applications for refugee  a border.
                                                                                Hungary building a border  status. You may wish that  You can do so quite easily if
                                                                                fence to keep them out.  the law took a more    you are willing to kill the
                                                                                Here we go again. A picture  generous and       people who try to cross it
                                                                                of 23-month-old Valeria  humanitarian view, but it  illegally, and the
                                                                                Martinez, tucked into her  does not. And if you think  governments of the
                                                                                father Oscar’s T-shirt, both  things are bad now, they  destination countries will
                                                                                dead face down on the   will be ten times worse in  probably end up doing just
                                                                                banks of the Rio Grande,  twenty years’ time.   that. Their military and their
                                                                                has unleashed a similar  Global heating is starting to  civil servants, if not their
                                                                                wave of sympathy in the  bite. We’re still on the  politicians, were already
                                                                                United States, although it  learner slopes, but the  having grim internal
                                                                                certainly hasn’t reached  droughts and the floods,  debates about it fifteen
                                                                                the White House. And once  and the crop failures they  years ago.
                                                                                again most of the migrants  cause, are multiplying,  Sorry to spoil your day.
                                                                                are claiming to be      especially in the tropics
                                                                                refugees.               and the sub-tropics where
                                                                                In fact, few of the migrants  temperatures are already
                                                                                fit the legal definition of  high.
                                                                                refugees in either case.  In the worst-hit areas
                                                                                The Arabs and Afghans   (which include the
                                                                                trying to get into Europe  ‘northern triangle’ of
                                                                                had fled genuine wars, but  Central America) family
                                                                                they were already in    farms are failing, some
                                                                                Turkey, which is quite safe.  people are going hungry,
                                                                                They just wanted to move  and the number of people
                                                                                on to somewhere with    on the move is starting to
                                                                                better job opportunities  soar. This is precisely what  Gwynne Dyer is an
                                                                                                                                  Gwynne Dyer is an
                                                                                                                                  Gwynne Dyer is an
                                                                                                                                 Gwynne Dyer is an
                                                                                                                                  Gwynne Dyer is an
                                                                                and a higher standard of  unpublished, in-house  independent journalist
                                                                                                                                  independent journalist
                                                                                                                                  independent journalist
                                                                                                                                  independent journalist
                                                                                living. That’s          government studies were  independent journalist
                                                                                                                                  whose articles are
                                                                                                                                  whose articles are
                                                                                                                                 whose articles are
                                                                                                                                  whose articles are
                                                                                understandable, but it  predicting twenty years ago  whose articles are
                                                                                                                                 published in 45 countries
                                                                                                                                  published in 45 countries..
                                                                                                                                  published in 45 countries.
                                                                                                                                  published in 45 countries
                                                                                doesn’t give you right of  in countries like the United  published in 45 countries..
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