The tidal wave of migrants fleeing the bloody chaos of the post-Obama Middle East has been hitting Mediterranean nations particularly hard. But Hungary has seen a sizable number of migrants from Syria and Afghanistan as well, experiencing what the Wall Street Journal describes as a doubling of last year’s total migrant population in just the first six months of 2015.
Most of these people seek asylum in the European Union and pass through Hungary en route to more developed European nations.
Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán warned in a recent speech on the refugee issue that this massive migratory wave threatens the economy, stability, and the very identity of Europe.
“For us, Europe is at stake today; Europeans’ way of life; European values; the survival or demise of European nations, or rather, their transformation beyond recognition,” Orbán warned. “The question is not what sort of a Europe we Hungarians would like to live in but whether what we call Europe today will continue to exist. We would like Europe to continue to belong to Europeans.”
He worried that the migration crisis could serve the interests of the international Left: “The Left has always looked upon nations, national identities with suspicion. They reckon that an escalation of immigration could terminally weaken, even eliminate the structure of nation states, and thus bring about the Left’s unfulfilled historic goal.”
Orbán referenced the obvious problems of caring for so many refugees and dealing with both terrorists and more conventional criminal elements who ride the wave into European societies. But even as he acknowledged the need to make allowances for legitimate asylum-seekers, he worried about the effect that huge numbers of even the most carefully-screened migrants would have upon the cultures and economies of Europe.
This got him labeled a racist xenophobe by the usual suspects, even as he supported increased aid to disintegrating Middle Eastern countries to stem the tide of refugees at its source. “Liberal party MLP said his comments linking people fleeing wars with terrorism and crime ‘is nothing else but extremist and hate-mongering statements that every European democrat should reject.'” the WSJ reports.
Hungary has also been working on building a 13-foot fence along the Serbian border, where most refugees have been crossing. This went over about as well as every other proposal to cut down on illegal immigration by building a fence. “The focus should be on ensuring access to asylum, not impeding it,” declared Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muiznieks, completely missing the point of Hungary’s concerns.
While all parties settle into the usual routine of calling each other racists and fifth-column subversives, we might pause to reflect that economic and social issues are a numbers game. A hundred refugees, from even the most distinctly foreign culture, can be absorbed without much difficulty, provided a serious immigration system carefully screens them for terrorist operatives and criminals.
A hundred thousand refugees, from even the most compatible foreign culture, will overwhelm screening procedures and cause enormous financial and cultural stress. Even a host of well-educated Canadian or British migrants with flawless English would cause problems if they arrived en masse in Rhode Island. There would still be problems with finding them all jobs and places to live. There would still be cultural assimilation issues.