SYNDICATED COLUMN: There Is No “Flood” of Syrian Immigrants

Of all the stupid things people say while talking about politics, the one whose stupidity never ceases to astound me is that we’re all out of room for new immigrants.

Haven’t the nativists ever flown cross-country? Grab a window seat! If America has anything, it’s space.

The no-room-at-the-inn argument, used most recently in opposition to immigration from Mexico, has been with us throughout America’s first two centuries. Yet, despite a 320% population increase from 76 million in 1900 to nearly 320 million today, the U.S. has somehow managed to muddle through.

Now we’re hearing the same lock-the-borders build-a-beautiful-wall argument in response to refugees fleeing the civil war in Syria.

Europe has borne the brunt of the migration out of the Middle East — and they’ve freaked out the most. European Union countries that ought to know better (Germany) and others choosing to ignore their treaty obligations (Hungary) have even restored the passport checkpoints whose elimination was the primary purpose of the EU.

European governments keep saying they’re “overwhelmed” by migrants. As they do, the media has cut-and-pasted these official pronouncements into its “news” reports. But is it true?

Germany predicts that it will have taken in a million refugees by the end of this year. A “common European effort,” its vice chancellor says, is required to cope with this “flood” of immigration. Bowing to international criticism, the U.S. promises to accept a not-so-whopping 10,000. It has become a campaign issue, with presidential candidate Bernie Sanders under pressure to name his own (higher) number.

For the sake of this argument, let’s set aside moral responsibility. There probably wouldn’t be a civil war in Syria, or an ISIS, or a resulting refugee crisis, had the U.S. and its European allies not armed and funded the Free Syrian Army in opposition to the Damascus government of President Bashar al-Assad.

Let’s focus instead on the numbers. How many refugees can the U.S. and Europe allow to immigrate without facing an economic or political crisis?

When Vietnam defeated the U.S. in 1975, we took in 800,000 Vietnamese, Cambodians, Laotians and others who fled the victorious communists. That was just shy of a 0.4% population increase (from 216 million). It worked out well. Southeast Asian-Americans generated billions of dollars in increased economic activity while having one of the lowest rates of applying for public assistance of any ethnic group. Plus we got some great restaurants in the bargain.

Four million people, about a fifth of Syria’s population, have fled the war. An estimated 42,500 refugees leave every day. It won’t happen — but what if half of the remainder followed suit?

Eight million additional Syrians would increase the E.U.’s population by 1.6% — substantial and noticeable, but a drop in the bucket compared to German and Irish immigration to the U.S. from 1820 to 1870, which more than doubled the nation’s population.

Were the U.S. to accept Syrians in the same proportion to its population as it took in Southeast Asians in the 1970s, we could absorb 1.2 million — close to the total who have fled to Europe since the crisis began last year.

Though vast human migrations are psychologically traumatic and bureaucratically challenging for governments, there is a tendency to exaggerate the inability of people to cope. Léon Werth’s riveting memoir “33 Days” describes the chaos of “l’Exode,” when 8 million Frenchmen took to the roads to escape advancing Nazi forces during the summer of 1940. It has been described as the largest migration in history.

L’éxode increased the population of the areas where it ended — the southern French “Free Zone” administered by the collaborationist Vichy regime — by 25%. Moreover, the host region was traumatized by war, military occupation and economic ruin. Still, people coped. For the most part, these internally displaced persons reported being treated with kindness until they were able to return home at the end of World War II. Of the many economic problems faced by Vichy, histories scarcely mention the burden of absorbing les Parisiens.

If wartime France could cope with one new arrival for every four inhabitants, we can deal with one in 250.

Nativists cite economic and demographic arguments against immigration to cover for their real motivation: racism and bigotry. If one or two million Syrians want to come here, the U.S. should welcome them with open arms.

(Ted Rall, syndicated writer and the cartoonist for, is the author of the new book “Snowden,” the biography of the NSA whistleblower. Want to support independent journalism? You can subscribe to Ted Rall at Beacon.)


25 thoughts on “SYNDICATED COLUMN: There Is No “Flood” of Syrian Immigrants

  1. Ted’s book “Snowden” does not disappoint, even for one who has already read and watched so much about the story.

    I found Ted’s psycho-history of Snowden, the man, to be an enlightening and refreshing break from the governing media’s presentations of him.

  2. In the not so distant past, it was possible for a person to believe all humans should be accorded dignity no matter the color of their skin, yet not be willing to give away the store. Today, that person is racist.

    That aside, the main reason your appeal rings hollow is that you have no reason to believe these people would appreciate our generosity. A large portion of them will take everything we give them and more. We’ve already seen this from prior Muslim immigrants in Europe. I’d call your position insanity, but it is more accurately pathological altruism.

    So no, it’s not about lebensraum. It’s about preserving what little resources and culture our bankrupt Western nations have left. And this is coming from one who is disgusted by US ME policy.

    • Ah, the great blessing of being able to kill without feeling guilt. One day may we all be so blessed, and all kill all without remorse.

      We generously gave them our bombs, liberating them from their homes and lands resources, and yet they may still be ungrateful.

      When is enough enough? Must we give them our every last bullet to finally end their disquieting cries of hunger and lack of shelter? Must we finally quench their thirst with napalm before we hear the last of their complaints?

      What god inflicts this hoard, these people of the rubble, upon us?

      Pity, pity poor US.

      • As I’ve become accustomed to, I have had words put in my mouth even when I said I’m a staunch critic of US ME policy. I am the first to attack our meddling and warmongering and supporting of terrorism and subverting of popular governments. I cannot think of a single US intervention in the past twenty years at least that I support.

      • But that doesn’t matter, right? So long as I can be dismissed simply as a callous bigot. Mission accomplished.

      • Stormfront is a resource for those courageous men and women fighting to preserve their White Western culture, ideals and freedom of speech and association—a forum for planning strategies and forming political and social groups to ensure victory.
        — Stormfront mission statement.

      • @ Glenn –

        I signed up on the “Stormfront” site, just to see what they were all about. I think I’m still listed as a “member” — but it’s as scary as any Nazi movement has ever been. And it reminds me of some of the propaganda being posted by some of the TROLLs on Ted’s site!


      • I only hope that someday I can aspire to your alpine level of intellectual and rhetorical prowess. I congratulate you on your superb hyperbolic character assassination. Obviously anyone who is not an open borders multiculturalist is a Nazi. I am now tarred for life and no one will ever pay attention to me or my ideas again!

        I mean really all one has to do is say, “Hey, maybe we shouldn’t let just anyone into our country.” And the names come flying! Raaacist! Naaaazi! Faaascist! After all there is only ONE politically correct “humane” point of view…now fall in line. Freedom is slavery.

    • It is not the space alone existing within our borders, but exactly how we exploit that space with technology. Ever since agricultural communities first developed, humans have been squeezing more food-resource energy from every square inch of land that perpetually yet, contains an ultimate upper limit of productivity.

      It’s not a question of if we have enough land, but whether we have the infrastructure to develop it. Must we now alter the mission of our own lives in order to service the world’s refugees? Can we even survive such a task?

      Ted, it’s these criminal wetback (legal migrants do it legally by staying dry) and anchor-baby invaders (FROM ALL OVER THE GLOBE, as well as from down south, in the second link) that will fuck you in the ass with a barber-pole and be absolutely certain that (their) God told them to do it. Do you really want these vicious motherfuckers to move next door to you?

      Legal migration (immigration)? I’m all for it. That’s when WE choose who benefits from our horn-of-plenty. But when it’s a criminal horde of vicious invaders who have no respect for our rule of law? The absolute best we can do is either stop them from entering, or slaughter them first, and then let god choose his own. Because on the flip side, at the first opportunity, THEY WILL SLAUGHTER US. If not militarily, then by a cultural/bio-breeding conquest. As we expansively assist their opportunity, they will fuck American culture into extinction.

      Internationally, respecting borders is the first rule-of-law. With the lawless invader, it’s also the first law broken. THAT kind of criminality must be treated severely if our own culture is to survive.

      So, you may think I’m monstrous? So be it … I prefer my monstrous solution to some anonymous death to the Kraken of foreign invasion and slow-death displacement.

      The European community has met this same monster many times in its thousands-of-years history. It is now again threatening to destroy that sub-continent’s very identity as Europeans. Look as who is invading:

      Do you think they’ll succumb? Personally, I hope they slaughter every last criminally violent border-crasher trying to conquer them. Either that, or it will cease to be Europe as we’ve known it. what culture and civilization that survived the 20th Century will simply vanish.


    • Um, no. We don’t believe all cultures are equally valid and we don’t seek the downfall of the West. We simply believe that the current flood of refugees is largely due to our military interventions over the past 14 years, which means we have a moral obligation to assist them regardless of the risk.

      • What’s this “we” shit? I did not tell (or otherwise give permission to) BarryHO to bomb the living shit out of Syria. I understood that a shitstorm of low-rent refugee proportions would ensue. And now, the bleeding-heart crowd wants EVERYBODY to pay more money to the warmongering motherfuckers who created this catastrophe in the first place to help alleviate it?

        I ain’t got the cash for it Russell, maybe you do.

        My primary moral obligation is not to so eviscerate my own economic reality that the current, incorporated powers-that-be become even more rich and powerful. One day, “we”‘re going to have to fight these tyrants on our own property … that is, whatever they haven’t stolen from us already.

        First order of business is NOT to cooperate with the motherfuckers who want to take your money and children to help somebody else they just devastated.

        Eventually, America’s going to have its own civil war to re-contest.


      • @DanD

        Blame-the-victims solution in effect here.

        But which victims? Is it the foreign, or is it the domestic, victims of the war mongering Unitary Executives, Bush and Obama that concern you?

        Of course, you must see yourself as a member of a victim class, and indeed you are a member of some particular “we”, this being a victim class having borne the cost of their illegal wars.

        But will you fall for the Master’s divide and conquer strategy of pitting victim against victim, while the Masters find amusement in this spectacle in viewing it from a safe remove?

        Must “we” keep victims, both foreign and domestic, out of the land of their victimizers? Then what “we” will remove the “we” of domestic victims, and to where?

      • DanD, by “we” in the beginning I mean the average liberal, who knows in his heart he really wouldn’t want to live under Islamic theocracy. The final “we” means pretty much all the citizens of the US. Even those who didn’t acquiesce for the most part did little to stop it. (My apologies if you actually put significant effort into anti-war protests here in the US in the past 15 years. I didn’t.)

      • @ Russell,

        In the early years — before I became old and jaded — I marched in the anti-war protests here in Los Angeles. I didn’t even get a t-shirt (that’s a metaphor).

        That’s when I ultimately realized that the institution that owns the Bush Crime Family also own George Soros, et-al. The warmongerers eviscerate Iraq, the “good” people of America donate (either willingly or through taxes) to rebuild its infrastructure back up, then Zionland (and the USA) use proxies like ISIS to bomb it back to the stone-age, again. Libya, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt … .

        Now Iran is next on the list.

        Wash, rinse, and re-pollute as deemed necessary. Nobody is satisfied, and EVERYBODY stays divided and conquered.

        I save most of my charity now for the people of my own community. At least then, it can see first hand if it’s being immediately abused. When the rest of the world gets tired of the globally incorporated, bankster abuse, they’ll band together and kick our warmongers out. I’ll deal with that time too.


  3. The notion that any culture is static, can be static or should be static is complete and total BS. It, yet again, exhibits an apparent proud and aggressive ignorance that simply takes the breath away.

    To our self-proclaimed saviors of “our culture”: unless you are Native American, your ancestors were immigrants and they, along with their descendants, help(ed) the culture evolve, FWIW beyond the worship of greed and exclusion.

    When, as has been pointed out below, you make war, you MUST expect refugees from the hell on earth you have created in their countries. And, when you have spent decades loudly proclaiming that it is your country’s “exceptionalism” that JUSTIFIES the perpetual wars, sooner or later, the people across the world use the “opportunity” of your genocidal tendencies to actually experience the glorious myth produced by your propaganda.

    Here is a link to the decades long history of our protracted, if only rarely acknowledged, war on Islam: