As the world braces itself for an influx of people fleeing Afghanistan in the wake of the Taliban coup, it is a timely opportunity to look at the real effect of immigrants and refugees on a country. So often these people are demonized and scapegoated by the media and politicians as a distraction from underlying domestic problems or to make political capital out of voter fears.
According to a recent survey, almost one in three Europeans feels that “refugees are more to blame for crime than other groups”, while those who believe that “refugees will increase the likelihood of terrorism” is almost double that.
The study of immigrants and violence often focuses on the likely opportunities and motives of migrants to commit violence, and the effect on a country’s crime level. But the latest research from my colleague and I took a different approach, looking at the number of refugees welcomed by a country as a measure of national compassion.