AMAC Exclusive – By Ben Solis
With the United States and Western Europe already mired in an immigration crisis – both legal and illegal – the regional fallout from Hamas’s attack on Israel has raised fears of a fresh wave of migrants fleeing the conflict. But liberal Western governments have no one but themselves to blame for encouraging a massive influx of border crossers due to welfare programs that are a disservice to both the migrants themselves and the citizens of Western countries.
In Germany, taxpayers have paid out an estimated €132 billion since 2010 to foreign-born immigrants living in the country. Throughout Europe, similar welfare systems have meant that millions of people are more incentivized than ever to make the dangerous journey to Western Europe by whatever means necessary.
Father Waldemar Cislo, Ph.D., President of the Polish chapter of Church in Need, a Catholic organization that supports persecuted Christians, said recently that smugglers deceive and tempt young men in their 20s with promises of an easy life in the West. Immigrants have to pay the price of a luxury airline ticket to travel in leaky boats or shipping containers on journeys of a thousand miles or more to Western nations.
Father Cislo shared one story about a man who lost his wife on the journey to Europe after the boat they were on was overloaded with an extra 45 passengers and sank in the Mediterranean Sea. Despite the perilous conditions, however, he still wanted to go to Europe or America.
“I asked him why he didn’t want to go to Arab countries like Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates,” said Father Cislo. “He replied: not there. Because these countries do not offer social programs.”
Often times, Father Cislo added, smugglers transport migrants on the condition that they fork over a percentage of their welfare check once they arrive in Europe or the United States. Smuggling rings offer prospective immigrants a detailed catalog describing the welfare programs in various countries and how much money they can receive.
Father Cislo recommended that Western countries, instead of promising migrants free money and housing if they come, should focus more on helping organizations like Church in Need that help people in their home countries. Father Cislo suggested that such assistance raises the morale of local populations, encourages them that they can overcome difficulties, and discourages migration.
One of the most egregious aspects of the border crisis under Joe Biden in the United States has been the immense sum of public dollars handed out to illegal border crossers. As of last month, New York City alone had spent $5.2 billion to feed and house migrants, including putting many up in luxury hotels.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement now estimates that there are some 5.7 million migrants in the United States – 2.4 million more than before Biden took office. The White House has declared that it intends to provide “medical services and housing” to all of them – at the taxpayer’s expense.
The situation has become so untenable that even former Democrat President Bill Clinton has spoken out about the problem.
In an interview with a New York radio station earlier this month, Clinton admitted that the immigration system is “broken.”
“They [migrants] ought to work,” Clinton said. “They need to begin working, paying taxes, and paying their way. Most of these people have no interest in being on welfare.”
Clinton also emphasized that the U.S. immigration system is designed to handle about 400,000 immigrants annually – not the more than two million who crossed the border last year under Biden.
However, while Clinton correctly assessed the gravity of the problem, his solution was more of the same failed strategies that created it in the first place.
Clinton advocated for building houses near the border for the migrants until they could be fully vetted. “Keep people there, and let them in as quickly as possible if they are going some place where we know they can get a job and they will be welcome.”
This idea is dangerously reminiscent of a similar concept of “free housing” implemented by the United Nations (UN) in an attempt to solve the migrant crisis created by the Israel-Palestinian conflict that cost many lives and stole the future of tens of thousands of families.
For six decades, the UN operated camps on the borders of Israel and Lebanon that housed Palestinians unwanted by other Arab countries. Terrorist groups regularly used the camps as a source of new recruits and a launching pad for attacks against Israel.
Dr. Amjad Younis, a lawyer who currently lives in France and fled from an area controlled by the Palestinian Authority in the 1990s, told this author that the camps were “a playing field for narcotics, the weapons trade, and human trafficking gangs, politically benefitting those interested in prolonging the conflict.”
Younis warned that America’s enemies are undoubtedly already trying to recreate this scenario in the migrant camps that have popped up along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Immigrants are undoubtedly a vital part of the American identity – but the United States also has a vested interest in attracting people who want to work hard and contribute to the economy to achieve their American Dream. The America First Policy Institute, a think tank that has championed former President Donald Trump’s policies, has argued that America’s immigration system “should have a deliberate design that matches America’s needs with the aspirations, skills, and qualities of those who lawfully seek to enter our shores.”
As long as Western governments continue to offer the promise of “free lunch” to anyone who arrives, they will continue to face the consequences of an unrelenting wave of immigration, both legal and illegal – including backlash from voters who are increasingly fed up with the crisis.
Ben Solis is the pen name of an international affairs journalist, historian, and researcher.