The big myth about refugees

The Washington Post reports: Europe is now struggling with the most severe refugee crisis in decades, as millions of people flee violence in Syria and Iraq. Even as German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel outlined a proposal this week to place 160,000 refugees in nearly two dozen countries, he acknowledged that the plan was merely “a drop in the ocean.” Germany alone expects to receive 800,000 applications from asylum seekers this year. The U.S. government announced Thursday it would take in 10,000.

Refugees are often described as a “burden” for the countries they settle in. The usual thinking is that they are drain on limited government coffers and a weight on sluggish economies, but that countries ought to take them in for moral and legal reasons. Even those in favor of expanding help for refugees, like the former British foreign secretary David Miliband and the executive director of Human Rights Watch for the Middle East and North Africa, have referred to sharing the “burden” of refugees.

However, research that has looked at the effect of refugees around the world suggests that, in the longer run, this view is often wrong. From Denmark to Uganda to Cleveland, studies have found that welcoming refugees has a positive or at least a neutral effect on a host community’s economy and wages. [Continue reading…]

Print Friendly, PDF & Email