So today I got in a discussion with one of those well-meaning bleeding heart liberals, who thinks in nothing but stereotypes and believes clickbait mainstream media articles count as being well-informed about current events.
I don’t know why I bother, except I know I need to practice my rhetorical skills.
In the course of this conversation, I dropped a comment about how it would be better to help refugees locally rather than bringing them halfway across the world for the convenience of First World do-gooders.
That got a reaction, of course. I could tell it stung, but I’m not sure how to capitalize on it in a manner acceptable to normal women (the other girl, obviously, since I’m an INTJ freak).
So I’ve decided to write a blog post about how it’s so conveniently convenient for First World do-gooders to bring a minuscule fraction of Syrian refugees to the First World rather than help them in the Middle East. This is not that blog post. This is the blog post where I show just how MINUSCULE the refugee resettlement program proposed by Obama in the wake of the Paris attacks really is. With MATH. Please feel free to correct my numbers if you have better sources or if you spot a mistake. (Many of these numbers are approximations due to the sheer size of the problem.)
First, the scale: I’ve got roughly 4.2 million Syrian in about half the neighbors, and apparently those evil Gulf States do take refugees but don’t work through the UN organizations to do it, which is why we have no UN numbers on how many refugees they’ve taken. Let’s be generous and say that another 2.5 million refugees have been taken in by the Gulf States. That doesn’t count internally displaced people, who are still inside Syria’s borders. I got 7.6 million for that one. According to Wiki, in 2011 (which was when the war started) the total population of Syria was about 23 million. Which means about 14.3 million people, or 62% of Syria’s population has been pushed out of their homes.
So, what about resettlement? “The UNHCR hopes to identify 50,000 for resettlement somewhere next year, and another 50,000 in 2016.” That’s 100,000 people out of the 4.2 million out of the 14.3 million displaced persons, or 0.7%.
That’s right. Only seven out of every thousand currently homeless Syrians will be resettled ANYWHERE by the UNHCR. The United States “State Department is reviewing more than 4,000 applications from Syrian refugees seeking permanent homes in the United States next year or beyond, up from dozens considered for resettlement this year and last,” according to the WaPo article I linked above. (That’s permanent resettlement, since the UN believes tens of thousands of people won’t ever be able to return to their homes. Figuring out who exactly those tens of thousands of people so we know who actually needs to be resettled? Impossible to do before the fighting stops and Syria is stabilized. So of course we’re adopting refugees out based on our criteria and not whether or not they’d actually be able to go home someday.) Obama would like to go for broke and resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees in the USA, now that the prospect of potentially importing infiltrated ISIS jihadis has got the Republicans tied up in hysterics. That’s seven out of every ten thousand displaced persons. Which screening wait time that could last several years.
So yeah. Refugee resettlement. I don’t want to dismiss the fact that those refugees who make it through the process and actually have their applications to come permanently to America approved have basically won the jackpot – their lives are absolutely going to be exponentially better than they were as refugees. Or if they’d been resettled virtually anywhere else closer to Syria. Or if they’d gone home. I’m sure parts of Syria are nice. Probably a lot fewer now than in 2011, though.
But people are freaking out with the #RefugeesWelcome hashtag over what amounts to helping LESS than ONE-TENTH of ONE PERCENT of the people who’ve been forced to leave their homes due to the Syrian civil war. And this aid does not help anyone stuck behind ISIS lines as sex slaves, mind. These are the people who are already lucky enough to have gotten away in the first place. It doesn’t help stop the killing or stabilize the country so that people can go home. It takes the 4.3 million UN-registered refugees… and drops it to the low, low number of 4.29 million. Aren’t you impressed by First World do-gooders?
Why, if all of the First World worked together, we might resettle as many as ONE PERCENT of homeless Syrians!