Will welcoming refugees actually put more at risk?

Are the pledges being made by European countries to take in refugees sufficient to accommodate the massive flood of people trying to escape war and poverty? Judy Woodruff examines the migration crisis with Leonard Doyle of the International Organization for Migration.

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    We return now to the migrant and refugee crisis in Europe.

    Joining me to discuss the latest developments and what they mean as the continent grapples for a solution is Leonard Doyle of the International Organization for Migration.

    Leonard Doyle, welcome.

    So now, as we see more and more countries offering to take in tens of thousands of these migrants, is that going to be sufficient to accommodate all of them?

    LEONARD DOYLE, International Organization for Migration: We will have to wait and see.

    First of all, thank you so much for having me on.

    But the generosity that's been seen from the European public is extraordinary. And we're seeing that they're ahead of the politicians, who quite often are fearful of the right wing or indeed fearful of the cost, the budgetary implications of bringing in migrants and refugees.

    But what we're seeing is encouraging, but it's also going to bring a tidal wave of new people from Syria. There are 11 million displaced people and word is out that they're welcome in Europe. So, let's expect to see lots more on the way.


    So, in other words, just the idea that they're now accepting them sends a signal it's okay for more to come.



    And this has of course been the fear of politicians, the so-called pull factor, that if you open the doors too wide and give too much of a wedge, you will encourage more and more to come. And, indeed, it's the price that they're paying for the lack of decisions, the lack of a coherent policy and lack of a system to bring people in, in an orderly and managed way.

    Because it's so chaotic, you see people coming across in boats and indeed drowning, like that tragic scene of the young Syrian boy that moved international hearts and minds so much over the last couple of days.


    We know, Leonard Doyle, that many, many of the migrants and refugees had already left Syria, Afghanistan, other places, the African continent, to go to other countries in the region, Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, for example.

    Why is it not sufficient for them to stay in some of these countries that are closer to home?


    Well, it's a good question.

    I think if they had any confidence that Syria was any day soon going to return to stability, they would probably stay, because, you know, It's — refugees, displaced people don't like leaving home. They have got very good bonds of kinship and bonds to their country. They don't want to leave that behind.

    But I think the despair of what's happening in Syria, the lack of any political solution means that they're moving on. And who would want to stay in a camp in Jordan, however safe that camp may be? These are people who want to raise their kids, want to get an education for them and want to move on in life.

    So, even though they may be technically safe where they are, they want to get a proper security for their future. And I think that is really what this is telling us. It's a proper indictment of the international community really for not sorting out the problems in Syria to ensure that innocent people are not suffering.


    Why don't we see countries like Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Qatar taking in refugees? What's going on there?


    Well, that's a very good question.

    There's been a lot of criticism pointed at the Gulf states, but some of it is misplaced. They have paid inordinate amounts of money towards the humanitarian cause of Iraq and indeed of Syria. They have taken in vast numbers of people. A key difference is that they're not offering them a track toward citizenship. They're not offering them asylum status.

    And refugees, they know what they want, and they want a secure place to be in the future. And so I think they're voting with their feet and going elsewhere, even though it's culturally quite different for them perhaps. And it's an indictment in a way of the lack of welcome that they're now getting from the Arab states. And I think it's been a wakeup call for them, too.


    Leonard Doyle, does it matter how we refer to these people, whether we call them migrants or refugees? How do you see that?


    Well, it is, indeed, very important.

    You have — the refugees are a specific category, those who are fleeing war or human rights abuses, and they are entitled to asylum under international law, under the Geneva — under the convention in 1951. So, it's not for governments to decide. It's an international compact.

    Now, if everybody is going to be called a refugee, then governments would be reluctant to extend that welcome as they should. So I think it's terribly important we remember that the broad mass are called migrants, those who are moving for all sorts of reasons, whether for human rights reasons or whether for economic improvement.

    They could also be people being trafficked, sex trafficking, labor trafficking or, indeed, unaccompanied minors, young children. So it's important to keep the distinction. They're all migrants, but within them there's very specific categories who need protection.


    Do you have a good sense now of what it is — what kinds of services they are going to be provided once they arrive in these destination countries, whether it's Germany or France or the U.K. or someplace else? What are they getting when they get there?


    Well, I think one thing that's happened is that these countries have been shamed really into opening their doors and into providing proper care and assistance for them.

    Whereas they may have been trying to cut down for budgetary reasons, their public opinion has said it's not good enough. So, now they can expect to be housed properly. They may be in temporary housing like barracks, but they will be fed and clothed and they will be given integration packages to help them learn about the new culture that they're in, language courses, clothing, care for their children.

    Many of them need psychosocial help. They have had horrific experiences where they have come from. So, I think the ones who make it into the European Union are the lucky ones, those who perhaps stay in the refugee camps in Jordan and Lebanon or, indeed, Turkey, maybe not so lucky.


    And just finally, for people watching who want to help in some way, whether they're in the United States or somewhere else, what can they do?


    Well, there are many ways people can extend their generosity.

    And one way is of course to donate. Our own organization, International Organization for Migration, has a Web site called USAIM. And there are many others where we would really encourage people to contribute, because it makes a big difference. Looking after one refugee family is a very costly exercise, one migrant family equally.

    And it's not easy to do this. And if you can't help them directly, well, let's help them indirectly, because to see innocent people suffering in this way is shocking in the extreme.


    Leonard Doyle with the International Organization for Migration, we thank you.


    Thank you very much, Judy, for having me on.

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