Germany and the Migrants
It has been over three years now since German Chancellor Angela Merkel opened the borders of Europe during the migrant crisis of 2015 and 2016, which allowed approximately 1.5 million to enter Germany alone. It would be difficult at this point to argue that this has been anything other than a blunder, and a major disaster for the people of Europe. While growing numbers of German citizens have been hoping that their government would come up with some realistic solution to the migrant issue, a leaked government report published in the Rheinische Post revealed instead that there are plans to accept millions more. And on December 10, 2018 Merkel appeared in Marrakesh, Morocco for the signing of the U.N. Migration Pact, which aims to facilitate the regular movement of people from the third world to developed countries.
Opening the borders of Europe was presented as a humanitarian effort to help refugees from the Syrian civil war. However, it is now known that 80% of those who arrived in Europe were not even from Syria. Once word got out that you could enter Europe without a passport, they arrived from other third-world countries such as Nigeria, Somalia, Morocco, Eritrea, Sudan, Iraq, and Bangladesh. These were mostly single males from 18 to 35, without skills and unemployable. Frans Timmermans, the pro-migration vice president of the European Commission, even admitted that the overwhelming majority of those who had entered Europe were not actually asylum seekers but economic migrants who had no more right to be in Europe than anyone else. Violent crime and terrorism have increased, and billions of Euros are spent every year to support the new residents. Some creative attempts have been made to deny the increase in violent crime and terrorism linked to mass migration, but the facts are beyond dispute.
During the peak of the migrant crisis it was claimed that the newcomers would become vibrant new additions to the German workforce who would compensate for Germany’s low birthrate. Merkel said the multitude of young men would help secure the welfare state and ensure that enough tax revenue is collected to support senior citizens on government pensions.
The unfortunate reality is that 75% of the migrants are living off the state, costing German taxpayers over 20 billion euros a year (approximately $25 billion). Most of the remaining 25% are working low-skilled jobs, such as cleaning, and still need some level of state support. This is not surprising, considering that only about 25% of the migrants even have a high school diploma, and the majority are illiterate in their own language, let alone German. Bernd Raffelhuschen, an economist, has estimated that in the long run the migrant crisis could cost German taxpayers over one trillion euros (approximately $1.25 trillion). This would be an enormous burden for any nation, but we are talking about a country that is about 1/28 the size of the U.S. with 25% of the population.
The fertility rate in Germany currently stands at 1.4, one of the lowest in the world, well below the 2.1 needed to keep a nation’s population stable. A number of reasons exist for Europe’s low fertility rate, among them the extended time taken for education in societies that require a highly skilled labor force. For many graduates, the focus is on career and financial stability, which results in postponing marriage. There is no doubt that one of the main reasons for the low birthrate in Europe is simply because of the costs involved. High tax rates and a high cost of living make children prohibitively expensive, so many couples postpone starting a family and will only have one child, if they have any at all.
The leaked report revealed that the government believes that Germany should accept 300,000 more migrants from outside the European Union a year, 12 million over the next 40 years, to prevent population decline. Of course, it has been claimed that these migrants would be hard-working, highly skilled people who would pay into the social welfare system and keep it solvent, but we have heard that before.
The government is concerned about the sustainability of the welfare state, with fewer young workers to pay into the system. Wouldn’t it be logical to create new policies and incentives to help young families afford children? Couldn’t the money used to support migrants have been used to help taxpaying couples have more children, instead of bringing millions of culturally incompatible people into Europe? In the last few years Hungary has experienced a significant improvement in its birthrate as a result of more effective family support measures, so it can be done. Poland and Italy have more recently started similar programs.
Reports indicate that German officials have called for the surveillance and investigation of the AfD (Alternative for Germany), an opposition party critical of Merkel’s open border policy, and in the last few years the nation’s fastest-growing party. The AfD has also been called racist, radical, and extreme right wing, among other things, by the government and the pro-Merkel media. This is political harassment, and a tactic to create a negative view of a growing opposition party in the minds of voters, as Merkel and her party, the CDU (Christian Democratic Union) continue to lose support. An objective look at the AfD’s political program, which calls for a leaner government, more secure borders, immigration reform, and protection of the environment, would lead one in the U.S. to view it as a centrist, or moderate conservative party.
Other individuals or groups in Germany who have criticized Merkel’s open borders policy have been labeled as radical right-wing extremists. For example, in August after a German man was stabbed and killed by a migrant who demanded his credit card in the Eastern city of Chemnitz, several demonstrations occurred with thousands of people protesting Merkel’s policy and the resulting increase in crime. Some participants explained that in the past knife attacks were practically unheard of but had recently become almost commonplace.
The media portrayed the protesters as radical right-wingers or fascists. Video clips of angry looking demonstrators were often included in these reports. But independent journalists gave contradictory accounts and posted videos that showed most of the protesters were just regular people -- men, women, families, and senior citizens concerned about misguided policies.
One misleading report by a British news agency stated that the knifing victim died of cardiac arrest after being involved in a brawl. It was not explained that the perpetrator used a knife and that the victim suffered multiple stab wounds, which resulted in cardiac arrest. Apparently British reporters did not believe that was worth mentioning.
There is more support for the AfD in states that were formerly part of East Germany than in the western states. When I was in Berlin several months ago, I met with Frank-Christian Hansel, a member of the AfD’s State Executive Committee, who explained that the Eastern Germans tend to be more skeptical of claims made by government and mass media due to their experience of communism before the fall of the Berlin wall. Similarly, former East Bloc nations such as Hungary and Poland have been critical of the EU’s open borders policy. They also value their independence and culture to a greater extent than West European nations as a result of their historical experience under the Soviets.
But instead of taking the AfD’s position on mass migration seriously and considering the concerns of nations such as Hungary and Poland, Merkel and the media have labeled their opponents as radical extremists. And now, despite all the problems which have resulted from this mass migration, the U.N. Migration Pact has been signed and Berlin is ready to accept millions more.
The prosperous nations of the West should provide assistance to developing nations and people in need, but not to the point where we become so accommodating that it jeopardizes our own well-being. There are other ways to deal with a low birthrate besides accepting millions of third worlders. The primary responsibility of government is to ensure the security of its citizens and act in their best interests. A government that does not understand that has failed its people.