Often, we naturally look inward to our own problems and conflicts, forgetting that out in this vast world there are inconceivable challenges our fellow humans are facing. By virtue of being flanked by two oceans, many Americans tend not to focus on foreign issues. However, from time to time, a crisis of extreme enormity requires our attention and requires our action. As the self-proclaimed greatest nation on Earth, it is our duty as a virtuous citizenry to play a key role in these conflicts.

The greatest migration since World War II is happening currently, and several Western governments seem simply not to care about the lives of millions. Already, nations such as Hungary, Slovenia and Croatia have shut their borders to asylum seekers, Denmark has taken out newspaper advertisements in Lebanon to discourage potential refugees from seeking hope there, a Hungarian news camerawoman was caught tripping refugees as they sprinted from a camp, and a Polish parliamentarian is facing criticism after openly describing migrants as “human garbage” on the floor of the European Parliament. In a classic case of xenophobia, entire nations and many observers would rather see their land and culture stay untouched by a new influx of humanity, for fears of burdening social systems and encroaching on established cultures. Unfortunately, this view is ignorant to the facts of immigration. Multiple studies cited by The Washington Post have shown that immigration, more often than not, improves the economy. Though the initial cost of accepting refugees may be steep, in the long run, according to research, migrants tend to lift wages for the entire community and can have lasting positive effects on local economies. Moreover, in several European nations, the birth rate is not on par with what’s necessary for the population to remain steady. These nations may not realize it, but they may actually need new citizens, increasingly so in the next few decades.

Beyond the logic that underpins the benefits of the act, accepting refugees is simply the right thing to do. Fear mongering related to immigrants has always existed, and there are those who would say these refugees pose a threat to our way of life, our institutions and even our national security. These opinions will always exist, and even if they are correct in the smallest of cases, there are systems such as the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the entire federal bureaucracy in place for a vetting process of new migrants.

Those scenarios notwithstanding, it’s our duty as a part of humanity to do more to alleviate this situation. Think what a great accomplishment it would be for this nation to lead in this crisis, but more importantly, think about how much good we can do for this world if we help save the lives of millions.

As I write this today, there are hundreds of thousands of men, women and children risking their lives to find hope anywhere possible. Sympathy and compassion can only go so far; the only way to positively affect this crisis would be to take action.

That isn’t to say the United States should do all the work and take in an unrealistic amount of refugees or foot the entire bill for aid packages, but it does mean that as the leaders of the “free world,” we need to be at the forefront of a multilateral mission to both take in more refugees and help improve the situation for those who are making the journey as well as the vast amounts of individuals and families who feel migration is the only option left.

This issue shouldn’t be politicized; it isn’t a matter of left or right, Republican or Democrat. It boils down to the challenge of living up to the creeds and values that guide this world of ours. As the Universal Declaration of Human Rights — a document the United States voted in favor of — states in its preamble, “Whereas recognition … of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.”

It’s our responsibility to at least try and help these migrants achieve the same freedoms and happiness as we enjoy, for they’re in dire need of a helping hand.

Ben Keller is an LSA sophomore and an assistant editorial page editor. 

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