A small but growing number of refugees from the Middle East are buying one-way tickets back home after spending many frustrating months trying to deal with European settlement bureaucrats.
With 1.1 million refugees arriving over the last year in Germany alone, the backlog of applications for asylum is incredible. This has led to enormous frustration and the realization that Europeans don’t really care much about the refugees. Also, smugglers appear to have over-promised what a paradise Europe would be and thousands are on their way back home, despite the violence and unrest.
The reasons are myriad, but include overcrowded refugee centers, exasperating bureaucracy, unfamiliar German food, a lack of jobs and a spreading sense of resentment from Germans who fear their country is being overrun by Muslims.
Many refugees say they are now happy to trade a cold, heartless and lonely life in one of Europe’s richest countries for the violence, insecurity and poverty back home. And they say they have realized, rather belatedly, that smugglers had sold them a pack of lies about big houses, well-paying jobs and the life of luxury they would find in Germany.
“I wanted to live in peace with my family as far away from war as possible,” said Abdulla, a 37-year-old who had worked as a truck driver in Iraq. “But what I’ve seen in Europe is not what I dreamed about. It’s not what [the smugglers] told me it would be.
“The food was terrible, so disgusting that not even animals should be fed it. They made us sleep in these cold, empty buildings and when someone said they were sick, they just ignored us. You could feel it everywhere that Germans looked down at us like we were bums. I miss my family and can’t wait to get home.”
Abdulla, like many of the refugees, had come to Germany on his own and figured his family could follow. But the German government, fearful that the number of refugees could increase fourfold if families were reunited, temporarily suspended the rules last year that allowed refugees to send for their family members.
Now it could take two to five years or more before their families might be allowed to move to Germany — an intolerable wait that is one of the main reasons that hundreds, perhaps thousands, of refugees are giving up on Germany every week, even as up to 3,000 arrive every day.
I guess the streets of Berlin aren’t paved with gold after all.
There is no doubt that conditions in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, as well as the refugee camps in Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon are absolutely intolerable. But you have to wonder what these refugees were expecting upon their arrival. A parade? Two-story furnished homes with satellite TV and broadband? A well-paying job?
With 100,000 refugees arriving every month, there is no way that EU countries can adequately handle the influx — no more than the U.S. could handle the surge of illegal aliens from Central America who flowed into Texas two summers ago. There, too, there were horrible, cramped conditions, bad food, disease, and uncaring bureaucrats. It simply isn’t humanly possible to deal with refugees in such numbers.
I doubt enough of the refugees will self-deport to make a dent in their overall numbers. But for every one refugee who goes home, there could be 10 more who wish they had the money to do so.