If we SHOULD take in refugees, why not insist on cultural affinity?, by John Derbyshire


[Excerpted from the latest Radio Derb, now available exclusively through VDARE.com]

Earlier: JOHN DERBYSHIRE: *100,000* Afghan refugees coming here???!!! Why not set them among co-ethnics in the ‘Stans?

Last night, Thursday night, I attended a Center for Immigration Studies event. CIS is based in Washington, DC, but they do hold occasional events in New York City. They have good speakers with interesting things to say about immigration.

These New York events were suspended for the duration of the Panic over COVID-19. Now that panic has passed —by general popular agreement, if not by government declaration—, the CIS has taken them up again. I was glad to be there for this one first after the resume.

CIS, I must say, has no formal relationship with VDARE.com. They don’t endorse anything we say, and we don’t endorse anything they say. Our positions are more radical than theirs. For example: To my knowledge, CIS has never called for a total moratorium on immigration, as we have. In addition, they are very strictly limited to migration issues, not delving into other issues related to multiculturalism and national identity, as we do.

None of this has prevented the Southern Poverty Law Center and his glove puppets in Wikipedia from designating the CIS as an extremist group of hate-filled hateful racists, to burning crosses on immigrants’ front lawns, etc.

However, that is something that the CIS themselves must address, which they do, calmly and professionally.

VDARE.com and CIS are, as I said, unrelated organizations with different approaches. However, sharing CIS’s interest in immigration issues, I naturally attend their events when I can, to hear what their guest speakers have to say.

So there I was Thursday night to listen to a Hungarian scholar, Kristof Gyorgy VeresGive us your country’s perspective on immigration to the West. As a longtime hungarophileI was particularly interested in what Dr. Veres had to say.

did not disappoint. Speaking in excellent English, she walked us through some basic problems with the official UN-approved definitions of terms like “refugee” and “asylum-seeker.” He then described the events of the mid-2010s, when people escaping from the syrian civil war, mixed with opportunists from places further east and south, flooded the Balkans. In the south, Hungary has nearly four hundred miles of border with Serbia, Croatia, and Slovenia, so the flood hit Hungary with full force.

Hungary responded appropriately; appropriately, I mean, to the ideals of national sovereignty that we hold dear here at VDARE.com [Ukrainian Refugees and Europe: A Marathon, Not a Sprint, by Kristof Gyorgy Veres and Viktor Marsai, CIS.org, April 2, 2022]. They built a good solid double-barrier fence along its southern border and defended it very vigorously against would-be invaders—water cannons, tear gas, batons, and hand-to-hand combat when unavoidable.

Hungary fenced border areas progress report

What America can learn from a small nation that stopped massive migrant caravans in their tracks

By Todd Bensman, CIS.org, April 3, 2019

That solved the problem. He also offered a splendid example of how to solve this kind of problem, for any other country willing to learn—a category that apparently excludes the US.

But this border also needed a lot well-trained workforce to keep it safe. When Russia-Ukraine was launched, the Hungarians found themselves with a new problem.

In the northeast, Hungary has an 85-mile border with Ukraine. Naturally there have been many Ukrainian refugees arriving at that border. This hasn’t been a big problem in and of itself since Ukrainian refugees have visa-free access to European Union nations, of which Hungary is one.

Nevertheless, many people have been showing up at this border who are not Ukrainian citizens. Whose nationals?

They are nationals, says Dr. Veres, from the Middle East, from North Africa, in some cases from sub-Saharan Africa. What were they doing in the Ukraine? They study at universities there, they tell the Hungarian border guards, or in some cases employed by Ukrainian companies.

Their stories are often difficult to verify, as the human resources departments of Ukrainian companies and university administrations have more pressing things on their minds at the moment than complying with Hungarian requests for documentation.

The refugees are also mainly young men, which distinguishes them from authentic Ukrainian refugees. Most Ukrainian men are prohibited from leaving the country, which needs them for national defense work.

Could it be that some of these non-Ukrainians are opportunists using war as a way to get into Europe? The Hungarian border force has to investigate this, at the same time as it carries out the routine processing of the Ukrainians. That requires a lot of manpower, and doesn’t leave enough staff to guard the southern border with the Balkans.

It was fascinating to hear things like this firsthand from a scholar who researched it and was intimately involved with it. (And I must say that he was listening too closely to take proper notes. If I have misrepresented anything Dr. Veres said, I hope he will.) email me on VDARE.com with corrections, which I’ll be happy to post).

However, hearing those stories about non-Ukrainian refugees from Ukraine after Dr. Veres’ comments on the official definitions of terms like “refugee” and “asylum-seeker”, I found myself thinking that those definitions need work. More especially, I think we should defend affinity clauses in the definitions.

Certainly, there are genuine refugees and asylum seekers from Muslim countries in the Middle East; also from the countries of sub-Saharan Africa and the countries of East Asia (Burma, North Korea) and now, with what was happening, from Ukraine, a Western country. I do not doubt it, and I sympathize with the sorrows of these people.


However, there are many stable and prosperous countries in the Muslim Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa, and East Asia. Ukrainian refugees are being welcomed and treated well by other Western countries. Why shouldn’t refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, etc. be similarly welcomed by their sister Muslim nations? Why shouldn’t refugees from Ethiopia, Eritrea and the Congo be taken in by their fellow Africans?

East Asia seems to be much less of a problem here. Burma’s Rohingyas, who are mostly Muslim, have been embraced by Bangladesh, though not always willingly. [Bangladesh: Move Rohingya from Dangerous Silt Island, Human Rights Watch, July 9, 2020]. North Koreans just want to go to South Korea, and South Korea takes them.

And with regard to Muslim nations and sub-Saharan Africans, I must qualify what I have said by pointing out that Some Muslim countries, particularly Jordan and Turkey, have welcomed large numbers of their Muslim compatriots; Similarly, Kenya, and I think Uganda, have taken in refugees from neighboring trouble spots in sub-Saharan Africa.

Now I can hear you say: Come on, Derb, you’re being a little naive, aren’t you? Refugees from Afghanistan, Eritrea and Burma want settle in Jordan, Kenya or Bangladesh. They want to be in the West, where they live well. Didn’t you hear Dr. Veres use the phrase “asylum buyers”?

Yes, I do. I also heard him talk about the accusations of racism leveled against Hungary by people who see Ukrainians waving across the border into Europe while those darker-skinned non-Ukrainian youth are detained and interrogated.

That’s why I think the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, which is the refugee agency of the United Nations, needs to get to work putting affinity clauses in their rules. It should be the case, whenever possible, and it’s hard to think of situations where I would not do it possible—that refugees and asylum seekers be hosted by nations with which they share some cultural affinity.

Wouldn’t that be better for the refugees, sparing them the problems of assimilation in foreign environments? Wouldn’t it be better for the host countries as well, saving them the trouble, the friction, and the expense of solving thousands of really, Really foreigners in your towns and cities?

I could answer yes, maybe I would; but how do we get the United Nations, which is an anti-Western organization, to change its rules in a way that keeps Third World refugees out of Western nations?

That’s a tough question, I agree; but there must be Some avenues we could follow. How about we threaten to stop helping to fund UNHCR until they get to work on those affinity clauses? Of course, we would like other Western countries to join us in threatening. However, we should at least give an example.

And the cries of RACISM! that would inevitably rise up everywhere?

I don’t see any way around that; but there are things we could do to enforce affinity standards without any mention of race. The expressionculture distance” is already current, and from what I can tell, quite respectable, in discussions of related topics. It won’t stop the screams of the most fanatical anti-white ideologues, but it could pass the test among UN rule-makers, if peppered with some financial incentives.

So an interesting and thought-provoking event in New York City last week. The main thoughts it provoked in me were about the need to include affinity clauses in international refugee and asylum standards.

Is there any prospect of success with that? Well, I wouldn’t bet the farm on that; but we will be doing something useful if we can get the concept out into the general discussion. If people don’t like the word “affinity,” let’s use “cultural distance” instead. I will not argue about an extra syllable.

There’s a lot to be said for just brainstorming. You never know who will pick them up.

john derbyshire [email him] Write to incredible amount on all kinds of topics for all types of points of sale. (East no longer includes National Review, whose editors had something of a tantrum and fired.) Hello is the Author from We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism and several others books. He has had two books published by VDARE.com: OF THE DISSIDENT RIGHT (also available on Kindle) Y OF THE DISSIDENT RIGHT II: ESSAYS 2013.


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