Open Hearts Not the Same as Open Doors: The Existential Global Refugee Crisis

BRUSSELS – Asylum is an existential goal of every refugee. A refugee is a displaced person who has left his home country in hopes of obtaining asylum in another country. The numbers of people displaced by wars in the Middle East and Africa have created a refugee crisis of unparalleled proportions. So much so that immigration by the granting of asylum has become an existential problem for countries perceived as safe havens.

Immigration is not an exclusively American problem. America is suffering from the same problem that the European Union has. There are a lot of open hearts, but there are fewer and fewer open doors.

Any caring person would want to provide safety and shelter for refugees seeking asylum. Refugees flee home countries stricken with war, disease, and poverty with that understanding in mind. “Surely, they will take us in.”

Asylum seekers now number in the hundreds of thousands each year. Each assumes that some caring country will take them in. The conditions they are fleeing make them willing to risk their lives to find those open doors of safety. In fact, one of every 18 asylum seekers loses the life they risk just in making the journey.

When they reach the shores of a hoped-for welcoming country, tens of thousands learn that they do not qualify for asylum. Sometimes for lack of identification. Sometimes for lack of ability to house, feed, and clothe them or the inability to provide healthcare or employment.

Once a country reaches “capacity,” continuing to grant asylum become existential to the country itself. An excess of refugees beyond what the country’s ability to serve can create a socio-economic crisis from which it may never be able to recover. It is, in a very minimal explanation, a simple case of “There is no more room in the inn.”

We’d like to share some stories and statistics that may help us all to better understand the global refugee crisis.

The Numbers in Europe

There were 618,780 non-Europeans living illegally in the European Union last year. These are refugees who had entered the EU without applying for asylum.

More 516,000 non-EU citizens were ordered to leave the EU.

In addition, more than 439,000 non-Europeans were refused entry at an external border.

The Politics

The inability to convince a country’s population that immigration must be controlled is beyond some people’s ability to grasp. “Why can’t we be nice to everyone?” They fail to understand that the stress that could be put on their own country could lead to its own inability to provide food, water, education, and healthcare for its own citizens.

Politicians are measuring the mindset of the ever-changing preference of the populace so they and their parties can remain in or gain leadership of their country. Political rhetoric compounds the emotional factor and becomes fodder for feuds between family and what were once friends.

The Unseen Problems

Asylum (and illegal immigration) can present unique problems and unintended consequences. Take the case of Ashwaq Ta’lo who, as a 15-year-old, escaped Iraq where she had been held captive by ISIL and sold to a Syrian guard for $100. Four years after her escape from her captor, she was living safely in Germany. Or so she thought until she came face-to-face with the man from ISIL who had sold her.

When he confronted her and made it known that he knew where she lived, where she went to school, and who here friends were, she said, “I was so terrified, I could not stay in Germany.” She decided that it would be safer for her to return to Kurdistan to live with her father.

What Can We Do?

In a word, pray. This is a problem that has reached crisis proportions. If governments are unable to solve it, most assuredly, we cannot. But we can pray for the people who are caught in the dilemma, many with IDs and, therefore, people unprotected by the rights of any country and unable to be accepted into another.

Pray that someone will tell them that in our “Father’s house are many mansions” and that Jesus is preparing a place for people who come to Jesus. Someday soon, He will come to take us to a place where we will not be rejected, where we will be safe and secure, and where we will live in that comfort forever.


To read more on the global refugee crisis, go here.