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Swanson: If We Want America to be Open to Refugees, Immigrants, Europe Needs to do Better


Since the beginning of 2015, member nations of the European Union have seen an incredible increase in immigration from Muslim-majority nations of Northern Africa and the Middle East. Pressed by the crisis going on in Syria and the campaigns of ISIS, millions fled to countries like Germany, the United Kingdom and Sweden to start building new lives in Europe. Unfortunately, with this influx of immigrants coming from wartorn nations, militants and terrorists were bound to slip past security and cause trouble. No one could really predict the amount of havoc this would create: the 2015 Paris terrorist attacks, Nice and Berlin in 2016, Istanbul and Barcelona last year.

Europe has seen a rapid and disturbing rise of terrorist attacks since the rise of the European Migrant Crisis. Some of these are at the hands of people raised in Europe and who acted alone in their plans, such as the attack at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester. Yet, a large portion of these attacks and disturbances are being made by militants passing as the refugees trying to escape them. However, the troubles don’t end with shootings and bombings. As a result of the increase in Muslim migrants in Europe from Muslim-majority nations there have been startling increases in reports of sexual assaults and rapes.

This was probably highlighted most prominently in the beginning of 2016 with the New Year’s attacks in Cologne, Germany — a night of infamy so widespread in its range that German police estimate nearly 1,200 women were attacked and that 2,000 men participated. This is an isolated event only in the case of its size and concentration in one night. Sexual assaults have been on the rise across Europe, night is becoming scarier for women and anti-immigration sentiments have risen.

This has especially been the case in America. Since Trump’s inauguration, his administration has worked to simply block immigration from some of these Muslim-majority nations. The sentiment does not accurately reflect the ideas of everyone in the States, but the U.S. is taking in a significantly lower amount of refugees than her European allies. Republicans and Conservatives, while sympathetic to the situations of hopeful migrants, are simply too afraid to open America’s doors to migrants that have been causing so much disturbance across the Atlantic. Until Europe resolves the issue of terrorism bleeding through the Migrant Crisis, it will be very hard to convince many Americans, and the people Americans elect, to be more open with the migrants.

After nearly three years of dealing with it, one would hope that Europe and the nations who have taken on the responsibility of taking in these people would crack down on the problem and find some sort of solution to protect the citizens who long to live in the safe countries they used to be. Unfortunately, that is simply not the case and things are just as bad at the beginning of 2018 as they were in 2015.

Sweden has gained an international reputation for being one of the wealthiest and safest nations in the world. They have also taken on the responsibility of giving homes to thousands of refugees. Now Sweden has seen a massive rise in terrorism and sexual crime. Bombings in Sweden are being treated like a new norm by some citizens. “I knew it was a bomb again,” was what a man said to The Times after someone bombed a police station in Malmo, Sweden. In the same article, witnesses claim to have seen gangs of teenagers openly carrying assault rifles down the street. The pressure of sexual assault has lead to the cancellation of Sweden’s largest music festival, Bråvalla.

With ongoing cases like Sweden, it will be difficult to see America be more open about letting in migrants from Muslim-majority nations in the Middle East and Africa. If European countries and their allies can do something to crack down on the security of letting this amount of people into their country, whether that’s done by intensifying investigative efforts to prevent these attacks or the vetting process at the border, it can inspire the American people to ask their representatives to push for similar reforms to allow the people who need a new life away from war to start it here in the land of opportunity.

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About the Contributor
Gavin Swanson, Opinion Writer
Gavin Swanson is an opinion writer.

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