In most cases, when Refugees arrive into a new country, they often find themselves in a quandary, since it is hard for them to assimilate into their new home. Scholars such as Sarah Feldman claim that for refugees to feel part of the society, it is crucial for them to become integrated into host communities, since they have been warehoused in refugee camps for long periods of time and may feel estranged. Feldman mentions that one of the biggest issues is the misconception that refugee camps are temporary, since “most refugee situations last much longer than this, and 7. million [refugees] have been [in camps] for 10 or more years” (Feldman, 2010).
Those camps may also lead refugees to become fully dependent on the aid from the camp, preventing the refugees to joining the civil society and leading normal lives. The alternative that Feldman gives is called Development Assisted Integration (DAI). This seeks voluntary settlement into the society of the host country. The way to achieve the integration via DAI is from, “funding for enabling refugees to settle amongst locals by strengthening the civil services” (Feldman, 2010), that way both the refugees and ivilian populations may feel satisfied.
The only issue is that this integration alternative, has not been researched enough to prove its viability, as well as challenges that may arise. Therefore, since its effectiveness has not been proven, it may complicate the acceptance from donors, host governments, local populations, international organizations, and even from refugees. Feldman also goes on to mention, three possible solutions to the refugee problems. Those solutions are repatriation, resettlement, and local integration. Repatriation looks to assist refugees to return home once it is safe, it’s the referred solution for refugees.
In the case of resettlement, it is used for refugees that aren’t safe in the country of first asylum. Meanwhile, local integration grants permanent asylum, so that the may have, “the right to work of access to education and housing, to own property, and to practice one’s own religion” (Feldman, 2010). The issue that arises with the later is regarding the connotation of self-settlement, regardless of the official status, since most bystanders would assume that the refugees are taking this into their own hands.
The lack of integration for asylum seekers is generally not the ault of the refugees; in most cases the construction of policy in the host country creates a hostile environment for most immigrants, but mostly for asylum seekers and refugees. Gareth Mulvey examines, how the rhetoric of policy has had deep impact, in the integration of refugees in the United Kingdom. In 2001, the far right had plans to march in towns such as Burnley against the pro-immigration policies; those marches were countered by Muslim youth.
The encounter between far-right and Muslim youth, led to increased street violence, which “The government claims the disturbances were related to lack of ntegration” (Mulvey, 2010), confirming that lack of integration is an issue. In most policy cases, the rhetoric argues that the immigrants aren’t British enough to be integrated; for that reason refugees aren’t to blame for their lack of integration. “Migrants wanted to ‘belong’ but contrary to the Government’s perspective were being prevented from doing so”(Mulvey, 2010).
Mulvey therefore mentions how important Cohesion could be, in the case of the government accepting the integration of refugees in the UK. “The Government began to argue for a celebration of Britishness, which for wanted immigrants entailed anguage tests and citizenship ceremonies” (Mulvey, 2010). By having the immigrants pass these tests and ceremonies it may lead to them start feeling more like British citizens and less like political refugees, which the government might see as positive.
Another important issue that must be addressed is the environmental inequality that refugees face in the new countries they reside in. Rosemary Caron writes about the cases where, the displaced refugees are assigned to live in areas where lead poisoning is more likely; thus creating an environmental inequality. Caron mentions studies that have eported that, the disparate distribution of toxic exposures is mostly close to refugee centers, which are also overcrowded, thus placing the refugees at a greater environmental risk that could potentially harm their health.
In the case of Manchester, UK, the urban community is mostly composed of an impov health challenges, such as demographic transitions, barriers to health care access, prevalence of chronic disease, and an elevated unemployment rate” (Caron, 2012). Since the families that live in those neighborhoods generally care more about basic needs, such as food and shelter, they do not consider the nvironmental hazards that come with residing in those areas. Being the case that a vast amount of the population of those areas in Manchester is composed of immigrants, it leads to them suffering the consequences, such as lead poisoning in their children.
In most cases, the creation of refugee camps has not included an environmental impact assessment that would declare the site of the camp suitable for living. Gaim Kibreab discusses how in policy making, environmental impact has been considered highly in recent years. Unlike in the past, recently, “agencies concerned with refugee issues have also discovered he importance of the environment and are promising to include its conservation as an important element on their agendas” (Kibreab, 1997). By taking the environmental impact into consideration, it has led governments to consider refugees as threats to the environment.
This fear could lead to refugees being denied entry, since they pose a threat to the environment of the sheltering country. Kibreab recommends that instead of denying entry to refugees for fear of environmental damage, governments should plan the creation of the refugee camps based on environment conservation. They should not only worry shed population, which “encounters numerous public about selecting a suitable campsite, governments should also “invest in reforestation, as well as, water and soil conservation programs” (Kibreab, 1997).
There also happens to be a misconception that refugees are natural resource degraders, Kibreab disproves it, by claiming that activities such as rain-red crop production exacerbate the issue. Therefore it is not only the poor refugees that are consuming an abundance of resources; the agricultural activities that are not monitored correctly are also to blame. Lastly, it is important to consider how after 9/11, the opinions of citizens towards immigration has changed.
Gail Stewart talks about, how the people were told that the perpetrators of the attacks were immigrants from the Middle East who obtained legal visas; therefore it created a sense of discrimination in the face of civilians and policy makers. Stewart talks about the differing ideas of people. Some suggested that the country should go as far as, “keeping the borders closed” (Stewart, 2004). Meanwhile others feel like the whole idea of the US is based in welcoming immigrants, and The greatest victory for Osama bin Laden, of course, would be if America lost faith in its openness” (Stewart, 2004).
The road the government decided to take, is requiring much more detailed background for anyone seeking to immigrate to America. This new rule has led to refugees facing long delays, which is a threat to their safety for, “many face torture or death in their own countries” (Stewart 2004). 9/11 not only made it more complicated entering the country, but it also made the life of those that are already citizens tougher, since the introduction of the USA Patriot Act. This Act gives law enforcement, the power to detain any immigrant if they suspect he is a terrorist.
As a result the FBI would “do large sweeps of an area-almost always one that is heavily Muslim or Middle Eastern-and arrest and question hundreds or even thousands of immigrants” (Stewart 2004). The USA Patriot Act is seen as unethical since it violates due process, and freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. Another consequence of the act is the lack of openness to helping law enforcement in part of the immigrants, since they received such poor treatment from authorities in the past.
Stewart mentions that the US has also relied in forcing immigrants from countries such as Syria, Iraq or Libya to register at an immigration office. The government has claimed that the registrations are simply to try to protect the American people, as it has already been effective since, “they have caught 11 men suspected of having terrorist connections, as well as 9,000 illegal aliens” (Stewart, 2004). After completing the first draft of the paper regarding refugees, I only included the schools of thought that examined the effects on national/ human security.
This eing a more exhaustive paper, it is able to include other schools of thought regarding Refugees such as, Environmental as well as the difficulties that refugees find, while integrating in those new societies. By examining the rest of the schools of thought, I was able to create a more thorough analysis regarding the issues that may arise with immigrants seeking refuge in other countries. By analyzing the different aspects and schools of thought, I was able to come to a more accurate conclusion, regarding it being a controversial decision for countries to accept political refugees.