In 2016, under the leadership of Donald Trump, the Republican Party found a new target for its scare tactics: the impoverished, desperate, undocumented immigrant with his family in tow, who allegedly threatens the southern borders of our nation and demands entry. The alleged threat from these immigrants was the increase in crime and the drain on the nation's resources (both allegations are false), but in reality the goal in their purely xenophobic tactics was to demonize and "make different" immigrants, primarily targeting their skin is based on color. Trump turned fear of such immigrants into an article of faith among Republicans, so despite setbacks in 2018 and 2020, the GOP continues to reflexively stir up fear of these people, even though such fears are unfounded. And the media has lazily resigned itself to it, having regular right-wing talks about the “crisis” facing these immigrants, many of whom are refugees fleeing persecution and death in their home countries.
The antidote to such scare tactics, as Herbert described it in Dune's famous "fear litany", is to face the fear and let it go "through and through", so to speak. One of the ways with immigration is to understand what has happened in other countries that have taken in large numbers of refugees over the past decade.
The demonization of immigrants and refugees had shown promise in Europe as cynical political tacticians such as Steve Bannon, Donald Trump's first chief of staff, were aware of it. The disastrous effects of the Syrian civil war and the appalling devastation of the Islamic State (ISIS) had left millions of refugees literally left with no place to escape. Many turned, of course, to Europe, where they soon faced a virulent strain of nationalist and xenophobic sentiment unleashed by the opportunist heirs of Europe's horrific experience of unbridled right-wing rule in the form of the Nazis.
The 9/11 attacks in the United States and other high profile terrorist attacks in Europe provided right-wing demagogues both here and in other Western countries a brief opportunity to improve their game. But in the US, the fiasco of the war in Iraq and the gross economic mess under the administration of George W. Bush effectively neutralized this option here by 2008. Europe emerged from the great recession with even more severe scars than the US, however. The US (some of which was self-imposed through misguided "austerity" measures) provided more fertile ground for the passion against immigrants, a passion that came with the arrival of Syrian, Iraqi and other displaced refugees continued to be exploited.
As Thomas Rogers explained while writing for the New York Review of Books, the refugee crisis in Europe dwarfed the current situation at the US border and sparked a crisis among EU members as “many countries refused to accept the burden of bearing up and feeding the newcomers, leading to bitter disagreements among the Member States of the European Union. "
Ultimately, Germany took in around 45% of the refugees, 1.2 million people. And immediately the right-wing extremist German party, led by the ultra-nationalist party “Alternative for Germany” (AfD), “raced against each other in a venal, attention-grabbing rhetoric”. In this country Donald Trump, who would turn an already xenophobic and racist Republican party into an even more virulent megaphone against immigrants, described the German decision to take in these refugees as a "catastrophic mistake".
However, as Rogers points out, this right-wing scare tactics proved false:
Now, more than five years after the refugee crisis, the apocalyptic predictions have not come true. According to figures published last summer, migrants from this period have integrated faster than previous flows of refugees. About half of them have jobs and another 50,000 are in apprenticeship programs. The Federal Minister of Education has indicated that more than 10,000 are enrolled at the university. Three quarters of them now live in their own apartment or house and feel “welcome” or “very welcome” in Germany. The financial costs to the federal government of taking in migrants – including housing, food, and education – are likely to be reimbursed in taxes earlier than many predicted.
The assimilation of 1.5% of the German population was not without problems. Rogers notes that nearly a quarter of a million may not be qualified for refugee status, many thousands are illiterate and unable to learn German, and that “a disproportionate number of newcomers have jobs with poor career prospects, which raises concerns for the foreseeable future remain trapped in fragile economic conditions. “However, the majority of these ex-refugees have found largely acceptable jobs in both large cities and rural areas.
Chancellor Angela Merkel
The main reason why Germany was able to successfully integrate such a large number of refugees is that it tasked its government with solving the problem by recruiting more staff for the asylum procedures and the accommodation of these people the basis of population and prosperity ”. from different regions and improving assistance with language training and access to social services. The government has also partnered with the private sector to encourage the assimilation of these refugees through a program known as the "welcome culture" or "welcome culture".
As Rogers points out, these new German residents are to some extent (albeit significantly less than in the US) attacked by right-wing groups for harassment. Some employers have even gone so far as to deliberately separate these new German residents from “right-wing workers”. There are also problems inherent in a system that is slow to give these people legal status; H. A "path to citizenship" once touted by both major political parties in this country, but now seemingly persistently disapproved by Republicans. Ultimately, however, the distinction between the German approach and that of the US is one of the attitudes. Germans have welcomed these migrant refugees because they recognize that over time their productivity – and especially their taxes – will provide value for strengthening a German social safety net threatened by an aging, retired population.
It is for this reason that, as Rogers notes, the vast majority of these refugees enjoy "continued support for migrants among ordinary Germans". Although right-wing extremist parties have seen a resurgence in Germany, their political system is so pluralistic that the xenophobia and hatred of the AfD (Germany's closest analogue to what the American Republican Party has become) nowhere near a majority of the population (The AfD received 13% of the vote in the last elections in Germany).
Put more simply, the Germans have chosen to face their fear and see through it. In this country, it's virtually impossible to find a news report that recognizes even immigrants for what they actually do for us: the many jobs Americans just won't do, like caring for the elderly, farming, around the house. Cleaning, construction, hospitality and food service industries. It is never mentioned that without the work of undocumented immigrants, the entire service economy of states like Texas and Arizona would collapse and the fruits and vegetables we routinely expect from California and elsewhere would not make it to our supermarkets.
Likewise, with the proliferation of the Republican Party – a party now ideologically to the right of the most xenophobic, racist and nationalist parties in Europe – it is almost unheard of to speak of immigrants as something other than a "problem" to be solved expand that nation's inherent wealth, increase its tax base, or God forbid, add to its cultural diversity. This does not mean “open borders” or allowing unrestricted immigration; It means consuming the necessary resources and treating people not as parias but as an investment in the nation.
The refugees on our southern border are neither a “crisis” nor a threat. You are simply the latest in a long line of scare tactics by a Republican Party that has proven to offer Americans nothing but cynical and false appeals to their worst instincts.