Thinking Outside the Border

I heard several stories on NPR in the past few days about Syrian refugees that got me thinking. Today, Slovakia, Croatia, and Slovenia announced they were not going to allow refugees to enter their country:

NPR logo http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/03/08/469724610/slovenia-closes-its-border-stranding-tens-of-thousands-of-migrants

(One overland route to Germany goes through these Balkan states, since Romania closed its borders.)

Yesterday, there was a story discussing how the EU was going to pay Turkey assistance, on the order of billions of dollars, to keep refugees from entering Europe. Here’s the original Reuters story:

Reuters http://www.reuters.com/article/us-europe-migrants-eu-idUSKCN0W8111

The money would obviously help take care of the refugees. There were other conditions imposed by Turkey, which is making negotiations difficult.

What if the United States did something similar? In exchange for billions in aid specified for refugee resettlement, the EU will take in and care for refugees. On the surface, this has several selling points:

  • The cost would probably be less for the US than the cost for resettling refugees in the US.
  • The process would be safer for the refugees; instead of having to risk a trip to North America, fraught with navigation dangers and human smugglers, they could take the (relatively) safer trek to Europe.
  • Refugees would not need to be settled in the United States (making it palatable for extremists).
  • Ultimately, we would in fact be helping potentially a million refugees.

This is just the broad brush idea. There will be a lot of logistical details to work out, and it might take years until Europe sees a huge influx of US aid. However, experts say the refugee situation is going to be an issue for years to come.

I welcome your comments.

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