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Should Wealthy Countries Be Legally Required To Accept Refugees?


International travel is not a new process. There is archaeological evidence of people from Europe, Asia and Africa having visited the Americas long before Christopher Columbus and centuries ago it was commonplace for good to make their way along the silk road between Asia and the rest of the world. Travel documents have become more important of late and one’s nationality can make all the difference in whether a trip to another nation is fruitful or not. When the stakes are higher as in the case of refugees, wealthy countries may begin to wonder if it really is their responsibility to house people who have fled their own countries. This paper seeks to answer that.

Yes, they should

The world is a global village more than it has ever been before. The level of inter-connectivity is stunning as could be seen through the recent worldwide economic downturn. A series of poor policies in the United States is connected to the crises with Greece’s GDP and the declining growth in several other countries. It is difficult to find a moral standpoint for turning away others in need when it is so very easy to fall into dire straits oneself. In the case of climate refugees, these people rarely contribute to the environmental degradation that robs them of their homes. There are also war torn countries that have indirectly been damaged by predatory international foreign policies. Their problems are everyone’s.

No, they should not

As much as wealthy countries may want to help, there are only so many resources to go around and they have their own citizens to think of. There are poor people even in wealthy countries and it might not be fair to help others before them. Another serious concern is that some of the people who may seek refugee status are the ones who hold the power to help their countries recover if they were to stay. To facilitate that ‘brain drain’ might cause even more refugees to settle over time. Another problem is that it is very simple for people with malicious intent to pretend to be desperate only to enter countries that they hope to destroy.

This is not a question that is simple to answer. In fact, there may be as many answers as there are people seeking help because every situation is unique and should be treated as such.

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