Hillary: You’re wrong.


photo by ABC13

Hillary Rodham Clinton ran unsuccessfully for President in 2016, and lost to Donald J. Trump.

by Joel Lev-Tov, Staff Writer

In a recent interview with The Guardian, former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton commented that Europe should stop showing as much generosity to immigrants, and tell them that they would “not…be able to continue to provide refuge and support.” Mrs. Clinton also stated that “Europe needs to get a handle on migration because that is what lit the flame.”

Oy, Hillary. How could you say this? Do you not know how dangerous that argument is?

In my estimation, right wing populism got its start, yes, because of the influx of migrants. But the migration is just the straw that broke the camel’s back. The negative reaction from certain people really just showcases the racism that was there before. The influx of migrants just gave it an excuse to bubble up.

Taking the example of Germany. According to polls, terrorism was the greatest fear of Germans in 2017. The fear of a negative life with foreigners increased 12% from 2015; the fateful year in which Chancellor Merkel decided to let the refugees in. Comparing the same poll from 2015 and 2017, we can see that fears associated with refugees increased in prominence. (Germany actually desperately needed refugees. The average age of Germans was 44 in 2015, but in the meantime has decreased, thanks to the 71% of migrants who were under 30 in 2015. This provides Germany with a significant increase in its young workforce.) All these thoughts are despite the fact that the number of refugees coming to Europe has decreased.

This demonstrates that it is racism that is bubbling up, and that cannot be cured by decreasing the number of migrants. The migrant population has already decreased yet the racism was still there. Racism will be there whether or not the borders are closed for refugees.

The way to challenge it is to show that migrants are, indeed, good for society. It is up to leaders in Europe and in the US to figure out how to do this.


On a more fundamental level though, Hillary Clinton’s statement is problematic because it ignores the moral responsibility that countries have to take up refugees. What would Europe and the world say when they look back on the decision to turn away thousands of refugees who had to go back to their economically depressed and/or unsafe home countries? What excuse could there possibly be for sending thousands of refugees to die as a result of their policies?

This hearkens back to the days of the Second World War.  One prime example is the M.S. St. Louis, on which desperate Jews were shipped around by Nazi Germany trying to find a safe haven where they wouldn’t be persecuted. They were rejected from Cuba, Canada, and even the United States – the land of the free. Nazi Germany would be proven correct in their assumption that almost no nation would want the Jews. The Jews were eventually admitted into Great Britain, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. One quarter of the 937 passengers aboard the boat ultimately died in the Holocaust. Hillary Clinton’s argument would be absolutely horrifying in this circumstance. Would she argue that it was the right decision to turn away Jews from the US because it might have prevented an increase in anti-Semitism (which was already present)?

The way to counter right-wing extremism is to show how beneficial refugees are to society. To worsen a humanitarian crisis does not help.