In most European countries there has evolved a mentality that immigration and providing asylum for foreigners is some kind of inevitable duty, an inevitable social service that we just have to provide. Basically that there's absolutely nothing we can do about it. If somebody enters the country, we just have to deal with it "properly", and provide that person with all kinds of free services. And that we just have to take a certain amount of immigrants every year and give them permanent residence, maybe even citizenship. We have some kind of "duty" to do so, and it's something that we simply can't deny or refuse.
Says who, exactly? And why us?
There seems to be some kind of mentality that since European countries are rich, they have some kind of humanitarian duty that they just must obey. Yet nobody is demanding rich countries at other places to perform the same duty. In fact, it seems that nobody is even expecting those other countries to do so.
How many people have you seen demanding that eg. Saudi Arabia, China or even Japan, some of the richest countries in the world, have the same global social worker duties as European countries? How many people do you see expecting a country like Saudi Arabia to welcome all immigrants and asylum seekers, and become baffled and enraged when they find out that they don't? Or China. Or even Japan. Basically nobody has this mentality. It's only Europe that seems to have this duty.
"International agreements" is always the stock excuse used in these situations. We are bound by some such "international agreements", and this removes our agency, our independence, our right to self-govern in these issues, completely. There's nothing we can do about it. We are pretty much forced to take immigrants and asylum seekers, because of "international agreements". And if we don't, then we will get punished with some vague, undetermined international sanctions. Somehow. (I'm not making this up. This is from actual conversations with people. Not with those exact words, of course, but effectively that.)
Yet, consider Australia. When the current migration crisis began, they pretty much immediately closed their borders. What international sanctions have they received from this breach of "international agreements"? In fact, the vast majority of people here don't even know that Australia closed its borders. They also are not aware of eg. Saudi Arabia not taking any asylum seekers at all (even though they would be much closer, and would share the language and culture.)
Europe has this altruism syndrome, where it feels that it just has to help, and it just can't say "no". And there's absolutely nothing that can be done about it. If a million asylum seekers come to Europe, then they have to be taken in, period. If ten million of them come, they have to be taken in. We can't just let them die outside. We have to take them in. And once they are in, it's really, really difficult to return them, even in the cases where there is zero legal reason to grant them asylum or immigrant status. Only a very small percentage of them will ever leave Europe again.
This altruism syndrome has pretty much removed our agency and right to self-governance in these issues. We are completely helpless. And this mentality is extremely prevalent not only in our politicians and media, but also the average citizen. The vast majority of them have been raised in this kind of "hyper-altruistic" mentality, where they instinctively just accept the fact without questioning it, and abhor any suggestion that this wouldn't need to be so, and that we could just say "no". Even the idea of saying "no" scares them. The "international agreements" and "sanctions" boogeyman scares them. It almost feels like we are all victims of a strange kind of propaganda.