According to the BBC, “German Chancellor Angela Merkel has proposed changes to make it easier to deport asylum-seekers who commit crimes, after the New Year’s Eve sex attacks on women in Cologne. The attacks, which victims say were carried out by men of North African and Arab appearance, have called into question her open-door migrant policy”(Jan 9, 2016). It may sound quite pessimistic; however, one can argue here that the string of the alleged sexual assaults and robberies committed by men of North African and Arab appearance at the main train station in the city of Cologne might escalate to something worse.
I argued in an article published in the Arab Times that “the flood of disparate refugees into Europe is creating challenges for European governments, especially frontline countries. However, what is dangerous about the current migrants’ crisis is whether terrorists are exploiting migration channels, arriving into European countries under the disguise of political refugees or economic migrants.
The current crisis underlines some of Europe’s basic challenges: why allow hundreds of thousands of migrants to receive asylum, while some European economies are already facing so many challenges in providing employment to European citizens.” Some European countries have already been facing so many challenges in encouraging some already established immigrants to assimilate into European societies.
Adding to this dilemma of assimilation and integration is the danger of allowing sex offenders, people with criminal records to infiltrate into European civil societies. The real threat facing Europe today might be represented by the open asylum policies,which might escalate later if European governments do not put more effective procedures to filter the applications of asylum seekers. Moreover, why not put in place more effective monitoring procedures to prevent criminals and sex offenders from arriving into a European country, which apparently already has all necessary security apparatuses to protect its own citizens from outside threat.
Europe is currently facing a historical challenge in the absorbing of hundreds of thousands of legitimate migrants. However, extending a generous hand to those in dire need does not necessarily mean ignoring the importance of social integration.
As host countries to hundreds of thousands of Middle Eastern political and economic migrants, some European countries need to reexamine their asylum policies. When an individual is welcomed to settle and live in a Western society, he or she are supposed to respect the national culture of their host country.
European societies seem to be facing currently real difficulties integrating immigrants and some asylum seekers because some people simply will refuse to integrate into the mainstream liberal culture. Such individuals refuse to integrate because they simply refuse to abide by the democratic and liberal European ideals. There will be no other solution to such integration problems in Europe other than to deport those who insist on refusing to respect the rule of law in civil and democratic European societies.
By Khaled Aljenfawi