tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN November 6, 2015 4:00am-6:01am EST
this year? > the first overall patent reform took years to get there. when we passed the leahy-smith bill, that was the biggest upgrading of patent law in 50 years. it took years to put it together and get the coalition together. now you're talking about the so-called patent control bill. we have again a coalition. senator cornyn of texas, myself and others want to get it through. what we're trying to get across to everybody, no group is going to get everything they want that as long as any one group, lobby group or anything else thinks they have to have everything they want, that's a prescription that nobody gets anything they want. but we are determined to get it
through. i think that if we have a bill enough of a coalition of democrats and republicans on it i think the leadership will bring it up and i think it will pass. >> the best part of the patent litigation reform bill, if i may say so, is the portion taken from the leahy-lee bill. >> that's right. but we'll call it the lee-leahy bill to help it pass. >> what the american people are demanding is the customer stay provision. in my small town in utah we talk about little l's. >> we hear it in coffee shops in vermont i live in just outside mount pellier where i was born in a town about 1400 people. one coffee shop, soup and sandwich place where everybody meets and wifi there. and they're constantly worried
about, they buy things off the shelf and they're going to have somebody sue them because you're infringing some eesteric patent. well, they're sort of the lynch pin of the community. they shouldn't have to fear. they shouldn't have to fear that. >> i'm going to put you two on the spot and open it up to your questions. which of these two babies of yours do you think has a better chance of passage in this congress, the criminal justice reform or this patent measure? >> i think the smart money would be on the criminal justice reform bill. i think the momentum is there for that bill. there is a much bigger public alliance. they are both important. i think the patent bill is important but there is a much smaller audience that knows, cares about, and understands that issue than there is about the criminal justice reform measure.
with criminal justice reform, now more than any other point in american history there are more people who know someone who is in prison, knows someone who is perhaps in federal prison than ever before. so as a result of that people are more aware of this issue than they have been in the past. and i think that has given us a boost. i also want to thank the president for his efforts to draw attention to the need for this reform. he has been a real cheerleader for it as he has been on patent litigation reform as well. but this is where i feel we have the most support among these measures. >> do you agree? >> i would agree with that. i would like to see both of them pass, of course. i will make efforts to it. but in the overall, what's going to affect our society the most is going to be the criminal reform bill. i would urge that we can move
sooner than later, because i think the closer you get into the -- not only the presidential election cycle next year, and it is a year from now. not withstanding what we see on tv all the time. but also, the whole house is up, a third of the senate is up. it is going to be hard to get attention to it. i would hope that we could do something by spring. i think that it is going to be important -- this is something that the criminal justice reform healry has to be taken out of politics in the usual partisan sense. the patent bill i think is important. i would like to see both of them but i agree with mike that what what t people know
criminal justice reform means is going to make a big difference. >> all right. let's get some questions from the audience here. if you can let us know your name, who you're with, and also please do make it a question this morning. any takers? you, sir. we have a microphone for you, too. > thank you. my name is joe. >> you're taller than the other one. >> i hope i'm different in other ways, too. i'm a retired administer from the harvard kennedy school. i wonder if -- first thank you to you two senators for your bipartisan efforts in the senate. i wondered if you would comment on the role of staff in bipartisanship. i remember kennedy school student talking about how senator moynihan always under his staff to go out and meet with the staff from the other across the aisle go have a beer get to know them and build relationships. >> i think it's absolutely
important. as i remind my staff and they remind me staff is the extension of the principal, of the senator. so with each one of these efforts that we had with the u.s.a. freedom act, for example, and with criminal justice reform bill, with all of these just as there's been a lot of bipartisan interaction on our side, it's been an essential condition precedent to any of it happening there has been an enormous amount of interaction on the staff level as well. i know my staff has enjoyed that interaction just as much as i have. so i completely agree with your assessment that that is very important on the staff level. >> i often say that members of the congress are merely a constitutional impediment to the staff. the staff do all the work. to have a ortunate
superb staff in all my can hes and personal staff. but -- committees and personal staff. it would be totally ineffective if they couldn't work with staff from other members in both parties. there are so many times that i from my staff saying, you know, senator so and so's staff if we come 3 or point 4 nt and we work it out -- because there are so many things moving, we couldn't possibly keep track of it all. the senators in my experience have be-- a few senators who try to keep it so isolated, so close to the vest they don't they've staff work,
trying to undo one man one vote. and his teammate in that was howard baker. howard baker's legislative assistant was lamar alexander who has done very well in his own right. so there is so much good history on this subject that i think it's worth going back and looking at some of those. i wonder whether you've looked at because tht the 50th anniversaries of the president's crime commission of 1965, which reported in i wond you've looked at because tht the 6 or 67 huge piece of legislation in 1968 the safe streets and crime criminal act which covered a lot of these issues and many, many more. and i just haven't seen any reference to it at all in the last year and it seems that it
might help because i believe everybody from senator senator kennedy. ed to a >> i'm not sure there's a question there but i guess one question is how many senators are left who remember the historic bills of the 196 0s. s that a useful reference? >> i wasn't a senator at that time. i was a prosecutor. but i know when i go back in istory and talked about things talk about the privacy act, writing the first one i was reminded by senator lee, oh yes, i was in grade school at that time. got the millenial
lobbying down. >> that's right. >> i'm going to exercise my moderator's progress ti. we're going to ask you about the presidential election. senator leahy pointed out it is actually a whole year away even though it seems like tomorrow if you tune in to politico or look on tv these days. got the lobbying down. >> that's right. >> i'm going to exercise my moderator's progress ti. we're going to ask you about the presidential election. senator leahy pointed out it is actually a whole year away even though it seems like tomorrow if you tune in to politico or look on tv these days. senator lee you are a much covets endorsement because you haven't picked which of your colleagues or another candidate you're going to go for. are you ready to jump out there today and say who you are supporting? got the millenial >> aren't we out of time? >> i told my family i never thought i would live to say this but one of the weirdest thing that is can ever happen to a guy to have three of his favorite coworkers running for president at the same time. i'm good frnds with marco and rand since the three of us ran for senate at the same time, met both of them while we were still candidates long before we got to the senate. and ted is also a good friend. for that matter lindsey graham is also a friend that i enjoy. so i'm not inclined to get into that at this point. >> mostly because of the
awkwardness because of this. we work with these people. they're good friends of mine. and i think that process is oing to play itself out. senat. however long and arduous the process. >> you're not endorsing president to be donald trump? >> i -- >> he's speechless. i made a senator speechless. >> it happens once in a while. i could comb y if my hair that way. >> now, senator leahy you actually have endorsed hillary clinton. >> i have, i could comb my hair i told secretary clinton almost 3 years ago now we were coming back from a trip to haiti where i had worked on restoration after the earthquake and she and her husband had been very active in that. we had gone down to look at some of those programs.
we had a long talk object way back. i urged her to run for president, told her i would support her. long before my senate colleague senator sanders announced. i am not going to say anything against senator sanders whom i admire. but i have that vermont attribute. i keep my word. >> any predictions? you can tell us -- >> i used to be able to pick these things up but this has been a little bit different. you know, well, it would be exciting to actually have these things undecided -- i wouldn't be to the candidates but ub decided before the convention. i mean, i can't remember i time i suppose, long before i was in the senate, where conventions actually -- there was i guess
the last was when president kennedy in san francisco. but >> it's political junkie's dream. what do you think broker convention or who is going to win? >> that's a unicorn. i don't think we're going to see a brokered convention now or in the foreseeable future perhaps in our lifetimes. it is interesting -- >> it would be fun though. >> it would be fun. but it's interesting that it starts so early. i was told recently bsh i hope i've got this right -- that john f. kennedy announced his candidacy in what is now, the kennedy caucus room, in january of 1960. that is when he launched his presidential campaign. it just seems like such a refreshing idea to have that start in the election. > we border in my state we
border canada. and i see new prime minister in a matter of weeks. and he gets elected. the first prime minister in a decade. a lot of us wish we could have that. >> that's right. what a great note to end it on. the prime minister also has the first 50% women candidate in canada. so maybe we'll see that as well. i want to thank both senators this morning. this has really been a terrific conversation. and we'll come back and we'll see how you did and we'll unpack your successes after the passage of the criminal justice reform. we'll look at what worked and how long it took you to get there. thank you again. and thank you to the kennedys and all of you for joining us this morning. what a terrific conversation. thank you. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national able satellite corp. 2015]
science. and it's really nir vanna for scholars like me to be able to come and spend quality time here at the wilson center. my sbatcal year and i'm delighted to be here. i would like it if everybody would just take a moment and my silence your phones so that we can avoid phone interruptions if possible. again let me welcome you to the wilson center. point out that the wilson center was chartered by congress as the official memorial to president woodrow wilson. it is the nation's key nonpartisan policy forum for tackling global issues through independent research and open dialogue to inform actionable ideas for congress. the administration. and the broader policy community. today we are going to look at europe's refugee challenge.
a response to an international crisis. and i should point out that the program today is cohosted by several different programs here at the wilson center in addition to the global program the primary sponsor, it is also sponsored by the middle east program. this crisis has its origins in part in the middle east. and also by the global sustainability and resilience programs. this is i am sure all of you are aware an incredibly difficult moment in time. the conflicts and violence that across what ng someone, i believe it was ark of called the instability running from roughly west africa all the way
to south asia and the asian subcontinent. have said that this is a multilevel crisis. it is first and foremost a humanitarian crafse. some would ark of say a hume ta disaster. you've got in many countries in europe 10,000 people a day arriving at the border. we're looking at roughly a million refugees coming this year maybe more. with no end in sight. so the question is how do you with this. what are the moral and legal commitments that we have in the west to deal with this kind of exodus? and of course this is a tremendous political and policy challenge. it is also a crisis i would argue of governance for europe and for the community. today to have ky a distinguished panel of experts. i'm going to just briefly introduce them. i know a lot of you have their byos in fronted of you but for
those who are watching on line, or watching this broadcast, i just want to say a few words about them and then we are going to go straight to the panel. just so you with this. understa going to introduce them. each of them will make a brief remark. then i will have a couple of rounds of questions with them. a little dialogue with the panel. and then i'm going to open it up for your questions. first of all, i want to introduce philip, someone i have gotten to know well for the brief time he has been in the united states. he is sitting just to the left of kathleen, phillip is the minister and deputy chief at the embassy at the federal republic of washington, d.c. two german e number
diplomat in the united states. looking at his bio you may be surprised to find out that he is a high level diplomat who has a phd in art history. which is great training. i suspect, to be a diplomat. the other things i want to highlight about him is he the german looking at his bio you may be surprised to find out that he is a high level diplomat who has a task force for afghanistan and pakistan. so he has a deep involvement in south asia. we all know afghanistan is one of the prime sources for refugees coming to europe. among other things, he worked as the speech writer for two foreign ministers. and he oversaw the political department of the german embassy in new deli, india. so a lot of deep experience. secondly, i want to introduce the gentleman to his left, charles. he is a senior research professor of european and you're asian studies at johns hopkins school of international study. he has worked on the policy planning staff of the u.s.
department of state published many books including failed illusions, moscow, washington, budapest. and the 1956 hungarian revolt. and also hung garry and the soviet bloc. since it has been very much at the center of this crisis, he will have something to say about the hung garne position and the role. i might conclude my introduction of him by pointing out that he has a new book that came out called "this is big" which is the strategy craft. sitting next to his left is captain brian liss co, who is the senior u.s. coast guard liaison to the department of state where he serves in the maritime security division of the bureau of political and military affairs. he is a career aviator, a very decorated flier. among other things he has served with the sixth fleet in
naples, italy, a liaison, this is very important torks the european border control agency. so he has a lot of front line experience looking at what's going on in north and west africa the middle east the mediterranean and many of the front line european states. finally, and then we're going to segue to the panel i want to introduce kathleen, someone whose work i have known for many years and followed his career that we've never met until today ironically eevep though both of us have spent much of our career and lifetime working on this issue of migration. she is a senior fellow and cofounder of the migration policy institute. among other things she sits on the board of overserious of international rescue committee many of you know the irc. she is on the board of
directors for unhcr. on the foundation for the hague process, the migrants and refugees, worked for the unhcr the world bank secretary general. i thought it was interesting that she cofounded an organization with lord david owen in london. she is the author of many, many books. i'm not going to list them all. but we are going to start with dr. newland and i just want to ask her if she could help us understand the nature and the origins of this crisis and give us some historical perspective on this. so let's start with you. >> thank you very much jim and thank you all for coming i'm looking forward to this discussion very much. i really want to start where jim started. and that is with the multidimensional nature of this crisis. as you started your comments i thought there goes my
introduction. but since you were so brief i think i can elaborate so little. reiterating that this is humanitarian crisis it's a legal and policy crisis, especially for european states it's a political crisis both for individual countries and at the eu level which makes it also a solidarity crisis but not just at the eu level. also in the region and globally i think. and i suspect that's something we'll get into in the discussion. on the humanitarian crisis, i think the more even than the numbers, which as you know are extremely high surpassing probably on the number of changes daily in quite big ways but more than 750,000 people have arrived in europe by sheets so far this year. the october total of people
arriving was higher than the total for all of last year. so i think the probable is not just the number but the pace. and that is what is overwhelming the capacity in european countries to receive people in humane way. so far this year we're approaching 3500 at sea. which is -- will come out at probably about the same total as last year. but on a much larger base of people moving so the death rates have actually gone down. i think that is a real tribute to the rescue at sea effort that the european countries and others including u.s. and others have mounted. i know brian is maybe going to talk a little bit more about that. the other problem is there is no end in site. i think this is inducing a
panic in the humanitarian response system. not only is there no end in sight but there is every reason to believe that is pace will continue or indeed accelerate with the advent of russian bombing and the destabilization of front lines around alepo more people are fleeing into turkey and from there there's every reason to expect that hey will try to move on. i had a long conversation with the head of operations in jordan and he said people are leaving not because they're starving, not because of cuts in world food programs allocations, although that is a factor. but because they are in despair and they demand of themselves that they try to find a prospect for their families and for their futures.
and they don't see that prospect in jordan or lebanon them to work ow in turkey where work opportunities are restricted, and so on. so that's the humanitarian crisis. in egal and policy crisis europe is in the face of this kind of pace and these numbers how do european countries meet their legal obligations under the convention. how do they do it in the face these numbers with at least sweden is expecting twice the number of asylum seekers this year that it had last year which is twice the number that it in before. in the face of this hr there's been an exponential growth. and a real policy crisis around how to deal with this number of asylum seekers. let's not forget that not everyone is a syrian who is coming into europe.
that's a very important point. about three quarters of the arrivals to greece are syrian the next largest number from afghanistan which as you know is being deeply destabilized. and then pakistan. somalia. iraq. and some others. the sea arrivals to italy which is out of the headlines now people tend to forget about it are much more from subsay sharon africa. only about 5% are from syria. so how do you deal with this? that's the legal and the policy crisis. the political crisis you're well aware of the rise in the right in individual countries not all countries in europe, thankfully. but even within the countries that have before. there's be been most generous both sweden and germany the most generous have toughnd up their asylum policies and practices in recent weeks. and that reflects i think the solidarity crisis within the eu
ere a real two-track eu is emerging with britain denmark and central european countries being extremely resistant to any form of burden sharing with the other countries and the burden falling most heavily on sweden, germany, austria, and a few others. so multilevel crisis let me just leave you with a question. do we need new institutions new processes new laws new international agreements? i don't think we need new laws. on the others i would say absolutely yes clearly what we have in place now is not working satisfactorily. we need to -- because it's mostly aimed at a short-term response, emergency response at sort of care and maintenance of
refugees. and we need to think about this long term. we need to look at the potential contributions of these people, not just at the immediate burden that they -- the result of european demographics, looking at the pattern that leaves people with no alternative to smuggling routes. so labor mobility and so on these family reunification. these are the kind of big long-term ideas we need to be thinking about. >> thank you. i want to quickly segue to our german representative here. and ask him to talk a little bit about the german and european response. >> thank you for having us here today. and thanks for introducing me so kindly. you see from our weird cv that i am certainly not an expert on immigration but i'm happy to talk about the germany feelings right now. let me make six short points. the first one is numbers are
difficult right now. and we have a rough estimate and what we hear from our administration back home is that so far 710,000 people have asked for protection, asigh lum and others, in germany. we have this year -- 215, and 7 to 10,000 a day into germany every day. and 0% of them are syrian, afghanistans and iraqis and 20% are from elsewhere. e have every where but we have also aljeerian and others. but 80% are from these countries. and it's not something we somehow hope actually that the winter will slow down a bit the inflow but the fact is that it is not happening. partly also because there is a
very unfortunate human track because the situation that if germany is closing the borders you had better get to germany now otherwise you won't get a chance. that's the situation as we see it right now. i think we expect this year between 800,000 to 1 million refugees in germany alone that will be like 5 million people from mexico would come to the united states in a year's time. and the second point is we have to admit that our administration is not laid out to cope with this flow. we have a very -- you might mention, cliche, the german administration is very solid but also not very flexible and we have to -- they are really stretched. all institutions are stretched. i think it's fair to say that without the help of the civil society, the institutionalized
civil society and individuals, we wouldn't have coped with the influx of migrants so far. it's quite amazing to see, i say that with all modesty, that somehow it works. these people get some shelter and it takes many, many individuals. i hear that 50% of germans somehow are involved with the refugee and crisis and obble by giving some closure. the public is taking contributing to that. and third point that's the point and we hear very often in america, what do we think about security. frankly, this is not our first priority in this case. we don't have is the privilege to vet the people who come unlike you and they are there. the danger eel that of infiltration from paris or
by paris is not the biggest problem. we are pretty sure that there are a couple of bad guys amongst them but we have -- unfortunately, we have experience on extremeism, we have about 750 foreign fighters from germany originally or moving to syria and fought there. so this is something we have an experience and we can't hope with this problem. security is to teach those people to live or to abide by -- abide by our laws. the rules of our society, how to learn that kids, boys and girls are coeducated in germany. how to make that call that it is part of our culture, how to make that understand that freedom of religion is a fundamental right of every person. and that say homosexuals are part of our society and there is nothing wrong about them.
this is a security problem because that leads to aggressions and tensions. and this is i think much more problem to cope with than the sort of thing that's going to happen. my first point is -- that's -- we have to observe that very clearly is the mood point. how is the public reacting so far. we have seen and some are doing some of the welcome and germany signs that munich, people handing out diapers and stuff. this is certainly is not as strong as it used to be. i think we still have a very, very contributing extremely helpful civil society but more and more people ask questions. and you have seen the polls of our otherwise very popular chancellor are dropping in the last couple of months and people are -- feel threatened. not that they really experience bad things. the crime rate has not gone up
in the last month but they are threatened in their lifestyle t the least because there is a very famous village in northern germany which has 100 inhabitants all of a sudden gets 750 refugees because there's an empty building and they fill it with refugees so they're exposed to these folks and they feel uneasy and not comfortable. this is something we have to observe very closely and we have to deal with that and our citizens have to. i have to say at the same time other er than unlike european countries germany so far has not had a big populous and right wing movement and we have a small part that now has 7, 8, 9%. we have demonstrations in some parts of the country every monday where 8,000 people go on
the street and demonstrate and are getting lots of attention. but overall, it's fairly normal. i'm very surprised that it's not more controversial. and i have to say that something which i found quite emarkable. this refugee influx to germany is a huge opportunity. he says that this might cause a second economic miracle. so he says in very openly that they expect -- they're totally firm, stand firm on the side of the chancellor. and actively to the shelters and ask whether they have welders or technicians and they really integrate them from the ery beginning in there their procedures. even they have build togs
shelter refugees. so german business is very, very opt tick about that. unlike the public mood i think the business mood is better. >> great. and my last point is, and this is the question i think to be careful in the room. we cannot handle it for another year. we have a couple of tools here europe and the federal government are working on that and we have, you have seen we have been speaking to turkey and they are now little signs of hope when it comes to syria on the diplomatic level and we have tried to set up hot spots for registration when people come but all this is starts and it will not change the influx the day after tomorrow. we have to make it clear that this is not going to change things very quickly.
so we feel that at the end of the day, we need more european solidarity. we need more european solidarity. d you mentioned that austria and sweden i can you have to mention them both because they take more. they have been extremely generous those countries. but others have been less generous and i think that at a certain moment we have to find ways and means to get to a solution. >> well, on that note talking about european solidarity, there has been tremendous resistance in eastern europe to this. hungarians leading the way. so i would like for charles to talk to us a little bit about what's going on in eastern europe and why the are east europeans so reluctant to pitch in and help? >> thank you very much. i can't help but note after the last presentations that
whatever one's view used to be of germany after during and afterwards or before for that matter before world war ii, this is not truly over. germany has emerged as the most humane country in europe. and i have nothing but admiration for the chancellor and those who support her. i think you should be very proud of your country, sir. >> the second point i would like to make is that we have the introduction is to note to recall that i am -- i was once a refugee myself many decades ago, more than five decades ago. and that i was welcomed in austria and then i was welcomed very warmly in the united states for which i am grateful. on the way coming here from europe at that time i was sponsored by the international rescue committee. so i would like to mention that
repaid the cost of transportation many, many times and i'm certainly very pleased that you were there and doing the work you are doing. let me start out by saying that i had a student visiting with me the other day and complaining about the bad relationship between europe and the united states including america's seemingly lack of interest in the refugee crisis. so we were talking about the transatlantic relations not about the eu. at that point. i said to him that this is hardly new. i looked on my book shelves and there was a book there, a little book called atlantic
crisis. published in 1966. noggetsdz is new under the sun. what is new is germany's rise as a humane country and as a humane society. otherwise, the difference is i'm sorry to say are not new. now, as for the european union, i think it is important to say it again. it's a miracle that it has lasted as long as it has and that it continues to work. not as well as some of us would like. the crises are every year, we just had greece extraordinary problems that the e.u. has had with enlargement. when before admitting that all of these countries offered very good cooperation but once they became members they could not be influenced as we now see in
the case of not just hungary ut in astonia, poland, slovakia, romania, actually all of them. i will come back to that in just a moment. so the real question is why is the european union constantly facing such major crises? and i would like to call your attention very briefly and outline four points here. one is national resistance. this is not only in eastern europe. it is everywhere. the fact of the matter is that most people identify themselves by their national identity rather than as europeans. this has been there. it has not changed very much. in other words, the culture follows very good institutional building. and follows it very slowly. the second is that the european union has always been an elite project. if you put up even 25 years ago or 30 years ago if you had a
vote in the european union in many of the member states the vote, depending on of course how the question is phrased probably might have been negative. so the elites supported -- the business elites, intellectual elites and others have overcome the wars of the past, it's very important to recall that in the, prior to the end of the end of world war ii more wars had been fought between france and germany than any other two countries in the world. and look at them how well they get along. it is an amazing story but it is an elite story. it is not very much very much else. the third point i would say is that there is a basic inequality in the eu. the size of the states, their history, their culture. it is very difficult to integrate them and bring them
altogether. now, as the problem of the new member states which as i mentioned before, our new members. and therefore to assimilate em into the mentality of the european union is extremely difficult. now, what about these new eastern members? the institutional adjustment has been made. they attend the meeting, they adjusted their institutions. there are problems constantly i think hungary has received two or 300 suggestions from various european institutions to make this adjustment in the judicial system or that. and the other countries have pretty much the same way. don't pick only on hungary in this respect though it may well be a very difficult case. the problem is not so much in the institutional arrangements.
it is in the culture. it is a political minds that have not changed. so the polls i would say a majority say poland or the poles hungary for the hungarians slovakia says we want only christians in europe. the former astonian foreign minister even went -- foreign minister went even further and astonia is one of the better new members of the european union and she said only whites should be there. but it was still said and it is a commonly held view. and not only in astonia. in other words, watch what is in their heads not so much what institutions they build. gainst this background the hungarians got most criticism. the fence they built was atrocious but the fence had to be built.
some kind of control, external control over around the e.u. had to be, i believe had to be built. the problem was not so much that it was built but how it was built. what kind of fence it was and how the refugees were treated. i am sure many of you saw the pictures of these refugees at the eastern railway station in budapest where i believe purposefully they were kicked outside and looked like the hoords, which is what i believe the government wanted it to look like so that they could reach out to the right wing party, it's the right wing government but there is a far right party there is challenging them as in poland by the way or very similarly to pole nt. so therefore the issue was domestic political game. in order to get the support of
the far right supporters. i believe this is what is happening in the smaller why in slovakia, in croatia, though slightly different, and the czech republic which we used to think would be the best candidate for a democratic western oriented society. my time is up here. i just want to mention the theories. this has not been written up. the conspiracy theories that the rampant all over central and eastern europe i just read up on this and some of them say hat the refugees are sent -- are sent to europe by americans particularly george soros. you know, who has the disadvantage of being american rich and jew wish. so therefore as a target of conspiracy theory he is fantastic. he is a wonderful target for
these mindless people. and so america is seen i'm rry to say as being behind this refugee crisis by those who would like to keep their nation states pure. i guess it used to be the difference is these people are in a majority in central and eastern europe while in much of western europe even in germany they are in a minority. and that is very dangerous for the european union. >> thank you, charles. i want to pick up on something that you said about border control and border issues. the border free europe, if it's going to survive, requires some externl control. if wanted to ask captain you could reflect a little bit on your experiences there.
what do you think about the border issue, the question of the mediterranean itself and controlling the mediterranean and looking at some of the root causes in africa north africa and the middle east? >> jim, thank you very much. also i would like to thank the wilson center for inviting me to participate in today's panel. i will be giving an operator's perspective. what i would like to say first off is the coast guard is western hemisphere focus. but we are globally engaged. so we do have a handful of coast guard men and women who are over in europe and in the mediterranean. and one even in africa who are trying to make a difference by working with our allies and partners to improve maritime safety and security. i will come to the border patrolling issue. i would like to try to frame this very quickly from an american perspective. would we have expeernsed say in
1980 during the boat lift. so that was 100,000, a little bit more, cubans who fled to the united states. and that was absolutely overwhelming to our first responders to our government to our state of florida. so we did cope with it. and then later in the 90s, in the early 90s some of you may remember there was a large haitian and cuban mass migration. ow those were large 25,000 and 30,000 but on one day the record number of migrants interdicted at sea in the caribbean then was 32 00. as has been stated earlier on the panel last week coming into greece migrants were coming in 10,000 a day that's ethic proportions. and also what i would say too
is take a look at what that means to a smaller country. someone like malta on the front lines. and proportionally speaking, when you look at the population, one mige grant landing in malta is the equivalent of 750 landing in south florida. so when a boat, a small rubber raft that's grossly overloaded manifestly unsave with say 100 migrants and it's only an 18 or 20 foot dingy lands in malta that's an equivelant of 750,000 landing in the u.s. so you have concerns. how are we going to accommodate these folks to take a look, make sure they're ok medically. that they're -- that they have food, water, shelter. and that can strap some of these countries very quickly. and then depending on the migrants and if they stay in that country you can see there's a chance to change sole of the culture and fabric of
that country. i speak to malta because i was posted at the coast guard adviser at our em bassy there. the lso i would also say migrants -- it's a humanitarian crisis and the european partners and north africans many of them are doing the best they can. but there's also a law nforcement aspect to this. there's the criminal networks enabling and making hundreds of thousands really millions of dollars transporting these migrants in unsafe boats and unsafe sea states. and it's just for the money. it puts people at great risk. where does that money go? does it just go to the rrnls, does it go to militias does it go to terrorist organizations? so with regard to the border patroling in the mediterranean
having been stationed in italy and in malta and knowing a lot of the folks with the european union naval forces as well as fron tex which is the european border control agency. fron tex doesn't own any maritime forces. it coordinates a european response to protect the external borders of the european union. it's a massive undertaking just because of those sheer numbers i've said but they've gotten very, very good. you're all familiar in late 2013 and then in 2014 there were four incidents where migrant boats sunk with more than a thousand lives lost. and that was tragic and the italians really did lead the way and form the operation marie nostra where they saved 140,000 migrants in the year that happened. but they did that by having a lot of ships and aircraft and
personnel assigned to that central mediterranean region. so there's probably a cost to that. they may have wanted to be in other places but definitely a financial cost. and then when the context right now mari nose trum ended frontevpl has their joint operation triten in the central mediterranean. because as kathleen pointed out although the biggest vector right now is coming from the east and in the agian sea, you know, where you have more than 600,000 have arrived in greece, that vector still exists in the central mediterranean and there's been more than 140,000 migrants that have come up from libya. heading toward italy and points north. so it's a very daunting task. fron tex is out there. other eu member states and other associated countries have
provided forces whether it's planes, boats, debriefing teams to try to help out the collective european effort and i tip my hat to them. and then two more things. one i would say that you cannot overlook the impact that this has on merchant shipping. the mediterranean, this particular area in the central mediterranean is the crossroads when you look at merchant traffic scoming out of the suez canal and going to the strait of jibraltar it goes where forces, their operation sophia is operating as well as fron tex is operating. so those merchant vessels have a responsibility when there's mariners in distress or vessels in distress to render assistance. and they have done a very good job. in fact, 800 times so far this year march nt vessel was
deverted. so the shipping industry is owed a debt of gratitude. but at the same time, there's a cost associated with that because that is taking their vessel off its regular service. there's an economic cost. but they do it. and they continue to do that. and lastly, the mediterranean sea sometimes people lose track. it is a sea. the agian is a sea. it's not like a small lake. and the weather is very, very challenging and very nasty. starting right now in fall and then in the winter it gets very bad. so it's important that there be those first responders out there. but it's just it doesn't paint a rosy picture. >> i would like to go one more quick round of questions and then we would like to open it p to the audience.
i want to ask you to talk more about the refugee convention itself. explain what the convention involves and what its requirements are. i would like for you, given your background and work with you when hc, what is the u.s. role in this? what is the responsibility? europeans were saying, where is the u.s.? >> it is a great question and one i hear a lot as well. the core obligation under the 1951 convention is not to return a refugee to a country where his life or freedom would e in danger. the catch 22 and that from the perspective of our refugee, there is no rights to enter a country career you have to somehow reach another country's
territory to claim that rotection. the legal term -- it doesn't injure into the picture. unless you are under the jurisdiction of another country. there are a lot of controversies over maritime indictments. whether the ship -- a ship flying knee flag obligates you. no agreement on that. the supreme court of the u.s. said no. the convention, are convention obligations in their view do not apply extra territorially. a lot in this primarily maritime crisis. what that does is create an insensitive -- incentive to
prevent people from lending. we have not seen that happening so far in this crisis. bush backs from the shores of europe and god for bid we should ever see that. there are forces within europe who would like to see that. the discussions with turkey, other countries, are aimed at keeping people in the region. disrupting those close to europe for all kinds of good reasons and perhaps some bad ones as well. on the u.s. role, a hear that from europeans all the time. 10,000 refugees from syria this year. really? when that is a day's reception in greece. it is important to understand the difference between asylum-seekers and resettled refugees. the u.s. is protected by its
geography. german doesn't have the luxury of screening. planning for their reception. which we do. through our resettlement program. there is a lot of pressure from u.s. advocacy groups. refugee resettlement organizations, for the u.s. to take more. opposes that we should be taking 100,000 a year. that is almost impossible logistically. if that is going to happen, we need to change our procedure. >> i want to turn back to philip. when i was studying in germany many years ago, i was told they had a specific culture. this is a country based on a very strong cultural identity. today, your chancellor tells us germany has a new political culture.
i would love to hear you talk about what that means. and more about german leadership on these issues. getting the eu to respond. >> that is from a long time ago. the fact is, this is interesting. you observe germany over the last two decades. the fact is. it has become an immigration society. 20% of germans have at least one non-german parent, more than the u.s. even per capita. we are an immigration society. political parties from the right, more political conservative, they would qualify as conservative in the u.s. but more conservative in germany, they have come to terms with this.
they now see we are an immigration society. everybody in germany sees we need an immigration society. we have a bad earth rate. e are shrinking, demographically. therefore, we need migration. to need migration. getting one million refugees in ix months is a different cup of tea. that is in mean their profiles match with what we need to read of course we would like to have a canadian approach. protected by geography, to pick the midwives we really need. i geographic situation does not allow that. we have to work with what we get. i was encouraged, let's try to make the best of it. all european countries generally speaking,
particularly in central and eastern europe, should be aware -- poland has the worst of birth rate compared to germany. countries who found their freedom 20 years ago, to the five years ago, and are very homogenous and cold for unified compared to germany, have a problem. opening up to refugees. i understand. it is difficult to read it took us decades to understand we are an immigration society. times are moving quicker. you better get used to the fact that you need immigration. ou have to prepare for it. i do not expect slovakia or czech republic to take the same percentage that germany takes. but the total blocking of refugees because of a danger to the culture, values, that is also wrong. wrong politics.
in their national interest, not only because there is a lack of european solidarity. also from a national point of view, they should be much more open-minded. >> charles, i want to come back to you. the hungarian prime minister accused germany of moral imperialism. what was he talking about mark -- > could you ask any easier one? i think what he must have had in mind, we used to in the 1990's. hat he must have had in mind was there were certain national nterests as opposed to
humanitarian approaches. it indicates, by his standard, these countries remain homogeneous. this is what we are talking about. they don't want anybody who is not like them. when chancellor merkel who, as you can tell, i admire, when she said these refugees are welcome. they thought that was an invitation for them to come. he did not think individual countries in the european union are prepared to embrace them. to admit them. this is the best interpretation i can give.
if you want to hear what i really think, we will talk after the session. >> this is on the record as you know. one final question. then we are going to open it up for questions. i want you to say more about the border control issue. how europeans are dealing with this. we talked about -- it is a remarkable accomplishment. it used to be that you could ot cross a national border without having your papers checked. they have constructed a border free europe. but the deal is, if you're going to have these illuminated, you have to have external border control. it is just a skeletal operation. very few assets.
how are the europeans going to get a handle on the border questions? >> it is definitely a challenge. we have the luxury in the u.s. of having the coast guard having customs and border protection. federal agencies with broad authorities and responsibilities. although you have the european union, you have sovereignty issues with each state. it is challenging. very challenging. i'm not the best qualified person to speak to that. i am more the operator level. one of the things we look at in the coast guard are the push and pull factors associated with migration. when we look say to africa, where we are engaged through mobile training teams, african
navy and coast guard partners coming to the u.s., what i would say, maritime governance. through good maritime law enforcement. search and rescue. port security. if we can help so secure in -- sub-saharan african coastal states with development, trade, safe and secure marine transportation, maybe they won't feel the need to leave their country. i will give one example. west african coastal state, it has historically had a lot of illegal fishing going on. there are a lot of effects that had. the country was not receiving the revenue for fishing
licenses. it was illegal fishing. they lost the revenue. their local fishing fleets were unemployed or underemployed. they couldn't get to the fish stocks. there was a food security issue because in that particular country, the majority of the protein the citizens got came from fish. when you have that perfect storm if you well, that led to mass migration to europe. >> i wanted to get you to tell the audience what you were talking about before we started. we were talking about libya. the smuggling operations, how they are working. using libya as an example of what is going on in the coast. >> the european union did have a capacity building mission. they were trying to help the navy and coast guard.
the conditions became, they were no longer permissive. they had to leave. in the past, the libyan coast guard has been trained by western countries. right now, when you have no effective border control, it makes it very difficult. just that vector of 140,000 people coming from north-central africa, libya, you don't know where that money is going. you don't know who is facilitating that. >> you describe the smugglers as travel agents. >> when organized crime is involved, transnational organized crime, they want to make things as easy as they can. for their victims, if you
well. it is a most like a travel agency. if you want to go from point a to point b, you pay your money and do it. >> i'm amazed, even in europe -- >> the british refer to it derisively. >> the lower 48. what we have seen is a desperate attempt to try to secure our borders. hungary has set up something with their border with syria. -- serbia. we have to accept if people, for whatever reasons, are walking through the balkans and greece, if they are 300,000 or 400,000 people, it comes to an end.
magine the pictures. you have seen it on the hungarian serbian border. 100,000 people sit in front of the border. what do you do? what is border protection worth? imagine honduras has a catastrophe to read half the population moves to the u.s.. what is happening at the order? you have to cope with the in flux. securing the border only goes so far. what they have to do is set up this registration center. we call them hotspots. i never understood. they are in greece and italy. you try to channel the influx through these registration
centers. that means at the same time, if you are really a refugee, you are entitled to refugee status. if you are not refugees, because we have many of them, you might be set back. >> kathleen wanted to add to that. kathleen: that is a good description. one of the problems is the non-refugees are not sent it back in great numbers. it is sort of free this crisis. only 40% field asylum-seekers are returned. it is probably much higher now. the systems get so overwhelmed, people not moving very quickly through. the problem, it is not easy. the problem that europeans have
returning people were not entitled to international protection is one of the factors they are trying to come to grips with. it is a difficult one. people have family ties. supported communities. dragging people out of their beds. putting them in chains. not a good object. that is a difficult problem. >> the audience has been patient. let's open it up for questions. i see this gentleman has a question. if you can keep them brief and to the point. just, please. we will have a chance to get the reaction of the panel. >> as i watch the news and listen to the comments of the panel, i can't help but think of the response of european nations and the u.s. and great britain to the efforts from european jews to escape the holocaust. i am wondering whether any of you have thought about that parallel in your own work. >> of course. >> this is certainly something which is strongly in our mind. it will always directed german politics. it is clearly one of the numerous reasons why we would not close of our country to refugees.
let me emphasize the uk's part of europe. that is important. >> let's go to the gentleman back here. this gentleman in the back. >> thank you very much. i'm an immigrant from ghana. my concern when i look at the crisis in europe, and i said with ties with what the europeans have to through. >> it seems to me everybody is forgetting the libyan part of it. the european union, especially britain and france, intervened. they helped to break libya. as our former secretary of state says, you break it, you
own it. i would like some comments on why the african refugees trying to get europe -- to europe through the central europe are getting less attention. president obama confessed the intervention in libya was not handled well. when he is increasingly refugees to come to the u.s., he doesn't mention the libyans at all. i think there is a blind spot where the libyans are concerned. if you could share thoughts on that i would appreciate it. >> very few of the refugees coming through libya are libyan. they are coming from points further south. the sea arrivals to italy, about a quarter are from a reach. another 15% from nigeria. sudan, gambia. bangladesh. of those, all but two of those countries are sub-saharan
african countries. many of them are not considered, people seeking protection from many of those countries. senegal, ghana gambia. they are not considered to be refugees. their countries are not at war. the reach reasons, their rates are over 80% in europe. syria is over 90%. somalians and sudanese are among the top groups. they are regarded probably more than half get asylum. the problem with the libyan departure is they are almost all from western libya which is not controlled by the libyan government that we talked to but by the islamic government. that coast is lawless. we don't have the power.
the europeans don't have the power. nobody so far has the power to bring order to that. it is really the wild west. worse than the wild west. that is really the problem. i will say, the numbers coming along the route have declined. compared to last year. as opposed to the aegean route to greece where it has increased by over 1000% since last year. there is some logic to the focus on greece. that is no excuse for ignoring the central mediterranean route. >> it has become much more dangerous compared to crossing the edgy and see, which is easier. when libya was still under qaddafi, many countries
including the european union had a dirty deal with this guy. you have to accept, you are closing sub-saharan african refugees. he did not allow them to embark. now you have lawlessness and they do embark. they still continue to come over the mediterranean. i think it in your future, refugees from ghana, senegal, we will be less generous with african refugees sub-saharan african refugees than we used to because of the other syrians. >> let's go to this gentleman in the front row. as fast as we can. let's take the question. >> i am a 40 year analyst.
i have a easy question for you. it seems the west in europe has been forced, just by numbers, to be reactive. how we get ahead of this power curve, address it in a humane way. on the issue of conspiracy theories. one of the conspiracies, or at least talking points would have been floated, syria is actively supporting the egress of syrian sunnis so that one, he gets root of a problem, and two he can repopulate the areas with friendly peoples. >> which includes the christian minorities in syria. >> conspiracy theories are all over the place. there is no day when i cannot read a new one. t is a habit in russia and
eastern europe to look under the rug and look for a reason other than the one given. many times, this is true. i don't deny it to i also work for the u.s. government. what is going on as opposed to what is being said. not all of these are fantasies. the one you mentioned, and the one i refer to, obviously, are false. and are ridiculous. i would like to make a comment about previous question about the holocaust. it is a very important question in eastern europe, especially in hungary.
germany has come to terms with its role and acknowledged the horrors that it brought to the world. some of the world war ii supporters have not admitted responsibility whatsoever. in fact, they see the two were victims. in hungary, for example, there is a new statue right in the middle of the city which makes no distinction between the 600,000 jews killed with hungarian assistance during world war ii. on the one hand, and the hungarians themselves who were invaded by germany on march 19, 1944. this putting them together in itself is an outrage. they were willing executioners. the hungarian participation in he deportation of those jews was extensive.
comparable to what the germans were doing. if you don't come to terms with what you did, then of course your response to the new immigrants and refugees, the new people who look for a better life, obviously will be different. hungary is not alone in this. anti-semitism is pervasive. >> let's go to the lady in the front of the row. there is a microphone coming. >> i was teaching classes in europe. i am originally from croatia. i think this is important.
i have seen these refugees. there's a lot of super the in those countries, croatia, serbia, macedonia. we went through this. these refugee flows, migrant flows, are rather different than what we have seen. women and kids and people unhappy, leaving their homes. hoping to come back. now we see 70% of young men of fighting aids. 15% of men and kids. most of these people are not even interested in asylum in any of these so-called safe countries. with low economic opportunity, greece, slovenia, croatia. they started writing and slovenia. they burned tents because they wanted to get to germany as
soon as possible. they crossed several safe countries. they are fleeing a life of despair. there's a lot of sympathy for their plight. my question to you, have you see the situation? i think it might in danger because of the confusion between what is a migrant and what is a refugee. have you tell them apart in the situation? you can return a refugee to other countries. and her stand about european solidarity and all of this. i think the problem within
europe is many see, and this is not just part of eastern europe, the crisis, the migrant crisis was partly triggered by german policy of suspending european mechanisms for asylum. before, there was a rush to get to germany before germany loses its borders. have you forcing out the future because the migrant flow has exposed the balkan countries to a lot of trouble. i know they are under pressure to put limits to the number of current -- refugees. >> i knew dublin would come up eventually. the dublin convention. the issue of moral hazard. who would like to start? >> you raise good questions and you have articulated some of the contradictions inherent among eu countries. where people want to go to germany, sweden.
they are economically vibrant. they don't want to stay in eastern europe. they want to go to a welcoming country. there is the contradiction. people don't want to stay in hungary. hungarians are hostile to refugees. the unwillingness to accept refugees on the part of many of the eu members has reinforced the style and the where there are only a few countries that are seen as welcoming. refugees are rational people. they want to be able to earn a living. on the subject of young men, that is often a household decision tree of are seen as more likely to survive the journey tribute also, more likely to work & money
back. again, that is a rational, household decision. it is not they are saying we are going to leave the women and children behind. they are doing what they think is best for their families. 90 percent of refugees want to go back to syria as soon as possible. they may change their mind if the moment cons. at this point, that is their objective. possibilities for temporary protection are one of the things that will come on the menu as it will in the case of the balkan refugees in germany in the 1990's. if i could say one more thing, i mentioned at the end of my opening remarks or the need to open alternative legal channels. unfortunately what we are seeing now, european countries going in the opposite direction.
they are probably going to be cutting down on labor migration because they can fill their needs from among the refugee population. cracking down on family reunification. this will just feed into the illegal movements over time. something's got to crack. >> you want to add something? >> i'm confident. let me tell you. when i would single out, the argument that the germans invited them to read it is a simple argument and i think it is wrong. these people are desperate. they flee their home because they do not see any future. it is not that we have in invitation saying, please comment. will be happy to provide you with a job and house and mercedes. they sleep in shelters on the ground. they are in difficult
circumstances. it is not a secret they know exactly, through their smartphones, what to expect. if people are desperate, they ind their way. in a way, refugee removes, you put one border up and they find other ways. the dublin system which you alluded to is good for germany. there we has the right to come to germany.
they must stay in croatia. the first country -- greece, even croatia would not like greece to be overburdened with millions of refugees. the dublin system, the first country in the european country you set foot on is where you seek asylum. united states in this country. the germans never set this openly but in fact, they set the rules. this is good for many countries on the road including croatia. >> how many refugees were staying in greece and italy? >> italy more than greece. we have all seen what greece is going through. nobody wants greece to fall because of refugees. don't think wrong idea that the refugees in germany are welcomed with open arms. and get a wonderful flats right away. they are in a difficult situation. they know it. they are well aware of what to expect.
the invitation idea is cynical. it's a little the refugees that fleet out of despair. >> the countries who are saying no refugees here, it gets them off the hook. >> i think we still have quite a bit of time. i will get to you as fast as i can. the professor wants to add something. >> complications. it is misleading to talk about countries as if they were all good or all bad. we are talking about majorities. they differ from country to country.
even germany, where i have spent considerable time praising. the coalition partners, they are not only finding merkel -- fighting merkel, they welcomed a person in bavaria who is heir hero. ven germany, there is an shoe. hungarians. that is a good point. even the hungarians. i saw similar organizations and individuals handing out link its. a reasonably poor country. they were going out of their way to be helpful. the other complication, the refugees want to go to germany. they don't want to go to lithuania. how do you send somewhere where you don't want them to go. it is an important question to
eep in mind. >> lived we need -- if lithuania made itself more welcoming, that would change. >> who keep going around and i will get to you in a moment. built in the middle. right there. speaking the microphone. >> you mention the fact that germany has receives the like 700,000. there was an enormous reservoir of potential refugees in turkey, jordan, and displaced syrians who are in even more rigid shape than elsewhere. this must come to many more millions. hat is the situation for
handling this? ome of the countries in europe haven't done anything. i haven't heard anything about friends. -- france. francois hollande made nice noises but i have not heard policy made. what can be done in the next two years to stem this? in the countries where these people are? and possibly move toward some sort of oracle situation so the 92% who would like to go back will at least consider going back? >> that is a tough question. who would like to take it on?
>> it is a huge decision to leave one's home. we have seen it during the war and after the war. it is emotionally a strong feeling. i'm not surprised some of the people want to go back. syria is still their home. if you ask me, 12 million syrians are refugees. more than half the population. 2 million are in turkey. one point some in lebanon. jordan can the rest inside syria. you are better on that. the remedy is to stop the conflict in syria. that is the remedy. try everything we can to try to stop the war in syria. let me say at this table, this administration is showing effort and strength. e see you are secretary of tate doing the most to come to a solution.
doing original things. the fact that he brought the iranian and saudi minister together is a huge step forward. that doesn't mean that we are close to a solution. we have seen new diplomatic momentum. the only remedy to this terrible crisis is stop the war in syria. >> to show you how desperate the refugees are, people are already going back to syria from jordan. from lebanon. before the russian bombing campaign started. they were going back in considerable numbers. the number of refugees in jordan is dropping. now, few going back because of the conflict intensify in korea that is how badly people want to go back. while the war is going on, people are going back. which i find extraordinary.
>> this gentleman here has been patient. another gentleman there come and we will keep going around. the lady down in front. >> if the remedy is diplomacy in syria? why isn't there more activity in europe to produce some kind of result in syria? why isn't there more military engagement in iraq or afghanistan? to calm those places? why aren't there more aid programs to stem the flow of your trends and others? why aren't we doing long-term thinking? > that is a good question. eritrea will not accept aid. they think they are just fine.
does not a conflict or development problem, it is a repression problem. it is of force conscription, which is in effect forced labor. in other countries, we don't know how to do development effectively. there are governance issues beyond the donors' ability to fix. massive obstacles to development. development tends to be self starting. i don't think i would advocate for more aid. it is not in itself going to solve the problem. nor's military intervention. >> i served as a senior member of the policy planning staff. of the department of state. i can tell you categorically there is no such thing as long-term planning. >> looks come to the front. this lady who has been
patient. and then this gentleman. > i cover law. immigration law. you are right, these migrants do not have the right to invade another country's borders. there are such deep compassion, it seems we are not allowed to se rhetoric that would reflect aws. here in the u.s., we have to look at the pull factor as well as the push factors. definitely, it seems when the migrants are rescued and brought to europe, that is a great reward for their efforts. i was in albania a couple of years ago. it is sparsely populated.
have christian, half muslim. they want very much to have goodwill with the european union. they are developing their coastline. why doesn't europe take it vantage of countries like kosovo? pay huge amounts of money that would allow them to accept and settle at least temporarily many of these muslim refugeees? >> until summer, the biggest umber of asylum seekers came from kosovo and albania. that explains a bit where we stand. these are not countries who deem themselves in a position to do that. they are all sent back.
now they are all sent back. i think we are living in a more and more globalized world. their push factors and pull factors. american universities are pull factors. lots of german scientists, russian scientists, go to american universities. a brain drain. when people from ghana and senegal think their life is better in europe, they are taking the risk and opportunity. frankly, i don't blame them. it is possible they will be sent back. in a globalized world, where information exchanges quickly, mobility is a huge problem or huge factor that influences our society. i can only say, america is the best example, the more open the
society is, the more reason there is to believe it will survive. the >> looks go around. i want to get a couple of questions. then back to you. the gentle man right here. he has waited patiently. >> i was in the international judge in kosovo. i would second with the investor said about the lack of capacity to handle any of the refugees. that is not the point i want to make. so far, the european countries have absorbed 100% of the burden, to their credit. my question is, do any of you think the arab states, saudi arabia, the wealthy gulf states, have any obligation to step up to the plate? i was struck by the irony several weeks ago when saudi
arabia hosted the annual haaj. of course it was a catastrophe but it struck me saudi arabia has the infrastructure and ability to handle millions of people at the same time. i'm curious as to whether there is any justification for saudi arabia not taking on any of the obligation? perhaps it is the sunni shia divide. when you look at europe, it is historically christian but europe is welcoming people of the muslim faith, which is a wonderful thing. why can't the other folks in the gulf step up? >> because they are all sitting on powder cakes. their own domestic politics.
apart from saudi arabia, which is a big country. the other goal states have tiny populations. 75% of the population composed of immigrants. hundreds of thousands of syrians live and work in the gulf states. many middle-class and wealthy syrians have fled from syria to do by. abu dhabi. other places in the gulf. they are not there as refugees, which means they lack the right -- but they are living and working as syrians and the gulf states. none of the gulf states are signatories to the refugee convention, they do not have a refugee laws. there is no legal status of refugee in those states, which
is not excusing them. ut explaining what the situation is. lots of syrians in the gulf. they are not there as refugees. the call to account is much more on fueling the conflicts than not taking refugees. >> can i add, you'd be surprised how little people want to go to these countries. i have served in the arab world. these rich arab countries are unpopular among the others. whether it is correct or not, i am not to judge. there is a general feeling once they are in saudi arabia, they would be treated as second or third class. the majority of syrians would say, i would rather go to europe. crocs let's go to the lady in the back and read and then we will come back to you. >> i wanted to go back to the
question of the u.s.'s role in the european refugee risis. i have worked in resettlement through the international rescue committee. i would like to know what we are doing to bolster resettlement programs. repair them for a potential larger surge, if we are advocating for the u.s. to take in more refugees, especially syrian refugees. >> as i said before, there is a strong at the city -- advocacy effort to take more refugees. the u.s. government has upped the resettlement ceiling from 70,000 last year to 85,000 this fiscal year. iming for 100,000 that year.
it is still a drop in the bucket. the resource locations are considerable. just the betting come a, reception and placement, the support that lasts for less than a year, comes to something on the order of $10,000 a person. that is partially because we make our procedures so complicated. if we take an extra 10,000 refugees, that is $100 million. that is serious money. there has to be a consensus and a willingness on the part of congress to appropriate those funds or other ways of dealing with this permit the canadians have a private sponsorship program in which private citizens take on the responsibility for supporting refugees. i would love to see that happen here. i think there's a tremendous willingness on the part of the public to do it. we have done similar things in
the past. we would have two really, there would have to be a serious effort to streamline procedures, especially security. we put them through four levels. there is such a aversion and paranoia about the idea, in my view, quite silly idea, the terrorists would use this group nice channel to enter the u.s. as an aside, we have resettled 784,000 refugees and there have been exactly three arrests for terrorism related activities. none of which came near completion. there would have to be a reform of the system to accommodate more people. we can do it. we resettled people from vietnam. if there is a will, there was a way.
there have to be resources. >> i realize that it was a different time and circumstances. in 1957, when i was a refugee, the quota for hungarian refugees was about 3000-4000. that was filled practically in minutes in november, 1956. president eisenhower went to congress and asked for special quota of 44,000. that was approved in a few days. by a congress that is rather different than the one we now have. as a result, i was able to come here. i realize it was the cold war. the circumstances were different. still, this is a different america. that is my response to your question. >> the lady here has been patient. >> i want to thank the panel
for elucidating this intricate problem. complex. i am wondering if we could have each person on the panel say something about what you mentioned. the goal of the wilson center they suggested we try to end the war in syria. another person gave a comment about the willful and ability have to do long-range planning. those comments notwithstanding, -- >> that is a superb question with which to end the panel and take one final round of questions. that would give you time to interact with the panel individually. i think that is an excellent question. we bro t