The Syrian Refugee Crisis through the eyes of Heritage Students

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This is a picture was captured by Alyssa Maier, who saw multiple protests in Germany illustrating political tensions.

Eleven million Syrian Refugees have sought asylum from their war-torn country that has been marred by a six-year civil war that broke out in March 2011 according to syrianrefugees.eu. The sheer number of Syrian refugees flooding into Europe has been the biggest human migration of modern times.

  Julia Niedzwiecka was born in Poland, a country that has recently decided to close their borders and no longer accept the European Union’s set quota for Poland’s immigration, which was 6,500 refugees. Alyssa Maier’s family is from Germany and she spends her summers there studying. Germany in contrast has received the highest number of refugees with more than 476,000 in 2015 according to www.bbc.com.

  While Poland’s decision to close the borders is seen as nativist to other countries in the European Union who are trying to share the burden of this humanitarian crisis, Niedzwiecka offers a unique perspective on Poland’s political motives.  

  “To understand (Poland’s) motive, it’s important to take a look at other countries’ experiences with Syria’s mass immigration and the social problems it has caused. What most countries don’t realize is the massive undertaking of taking such an influx of foreign population that require tremendous social restructuring. The problem with accepting refugees isn’t due to religious differences, or even for economic reasons, it’s assimilation,” explains Niedzwiecka.

  Maier expresses the same concerns about the obstacles of social assimilation, as she saw first hand how Germany is dealing with their open immigration policies.

  “It seemed like the refugees were kept out of normal society for the most part, they are converting a lot of buildings to house them but it’s really hard for them to work within the first year so they mostly keep within their own little communities,” recalls Maier.

  This issue of assimilation begs the question as to whether the European Union’s attempt to open the borders is responsible, and if these policies really take into account the common good and safety of the citizens.

  “My mother, a massage therapist working 12 hours a day for 6 days a week and makes less weekly than a Syrian refugee gets weekly as an unemployed patron.The welfare program is extremely unbalanced, and the working class suffers,” says Niedzwiecka.

  According to the independent.co.uk $15 billion has been spent on the Syrian Refugee Crisis and about 10 percent of that has been contributed by the UK. One of the major issues that influenced Britain’s vote to leave the EU were concerns about immigration and about how that might impact their nation. Niedzwiecka holds a similar line of thinking.

  “The EU is trying their best to assimilate the influx of Syrian refugees, but as more and more countries accept to the point of instability, people are looking to countries with low refugee counts to take in the influx of people. Infrastructure can’t keep up to suit both the citizens of the country and the refugees,” says Niedzwiecka.

To make the nature of this political climate more tangible Niedzwiecka draws a parallel to American society.

“This issue is highly controversial in a similar way it is in America. Liberals are seeking to intake Syrian refugees to save them from their worn torn country in hopes of them to establish a better life, and Conservative measures seek to preserve the safety and security of their nation,” she concludes.

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