Cato Foreign Policy Briefing No. 23 April 12, 1993

Foreign Policy Briefing

Providing a Haven for Refugees:
an Alternative to U.S. Military
Intervention in the Balkans

by Jeffrey R. Gerlach

Jeffrey R. Gerlach, a Washington-based writer, was formerly a foreign policy analyst with the Cato Institute.

Executive Summary

This study proposes that the United States open its borders to refugees from the fighting in the former Yugoslavia. It denounces as inhumane the current policy of the United States, the European Community, and the United Nations of compelling would-be refugees to remain in their devastated homeland as pawns to thwart Serbian territorial objectives. It also points out that even if a political solution to the current round of fighting can be found, many of the displaced people will not want to return home because of well-founded fears that they will become victims of revenge slayings and other forms of persecution.

The author shows how the United States would benefit economically from admitting Yugoslavian refugees while helping to defuse tensions in the Balkans. Social and economic "nativist" arguments against a liberal immigration policy are examined and refuted. The study concludes that providing a haven for refugees would be more cost-effective and far less dangerous than using military force in a futile attempt to impose a settlement to the Yugoslavian conflict.

Full Text of Foreign Policy Brief No. 23

1993 The Cato Institute
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