In his first televised U.S. interview since becoming U.K. Labour leader three months ago, Jeremy Corbyn addresses the refugee crisis. “I think we’ve got to both open up and take in far more of the Syrian refugees, but also take in those people that are living in these desperate camps, because it is inhuman,” Corbyn says. “We’re not going to secure the world’s future with razor wire and electronic surveillance of borders. You only secure the world’s future if you deal with the desperate levels of inequality in the world and deal with the disproportionate effects of environmental change around the world.”
AMY GOODMAN: Jeremy Corbyn, we just came back from a refugee camp about two hours north of Paris—Calais. There are 6,000 to 7,000 refugees there who are desperately trying to make it through the Chunnel, the Channel Tunnel, into Britain. What should happen? Should Britain open its doors?
JEREMY CORBYN: What we’ve got to do is, first of all, ensure those people have decent conditions in which to live. But they shouldn’t be there. That’s the principle. They shouldn’t be there. And there are people in my community collecting food and clothing and so on to take to them, and they’re doing a great job supporting them. They shouldn’t be there. They’ve got to be—their position has got to be regularized. They’ve got to be allowed to remain in Europe. Various countries should be prepared to open their doors for them. Britain has so far refused to join in with the European refugee program on Syria. And indeed, the British government has said it will take 20,000 Syrian refugees, but only from camps adjoining Syria, in Lebanon mainly, and we’ll bring them in over five years. Germany has taken hundreds of thousands already of people who managed to get to Europe looking for a place of safety. I think we’ve got to both open up and take in far more of the Syrian refugees, but also take in those people that are living in these desperate camps, because it is inhuman.
When we just had a meeting here tonight in Paris, I was pointing out that people are refugees for lots of reasons—from war, from environmental degradation and disaster, from natural disasters—lots of reasons why people become refugees. We’re not going to secure the world’s future with razor wire and electronic surveillance of borders. You only secure the world’s future if you deal with the desperate levels of inequality in the world and deal with the disproportionate effect of environmental change around the world.
AMY GOODMAN: In fact, we were just talking to Nicolas Hénin. He’s the French journalist who was an ISIS hostage for 10 months. He said that the way that the Western powers are dealing with refugees is only fueling ISIS, acting as a great recruitment for ISIS, by not opening their arms and letting people in so people can see what the alternative is.
JEREMY CORBYN: All that I’ve read indicates that the bombing campaigns over the past few months against ISIL—or years, I suppose—has actually increased the number of recruits, has fueled the allure of ISIS. I don’t believe there is an allure of ISIL, but apparently for some people there is. We have to find a different and better way of doing it.
AMY GOODMAN: The map of the camp, it’s divided into different populations from different countries.
JEREMY CORBYN: In Calais, yeah.
AMY GOODMAN: It says—in Calais. It says Afghanistan. It says Iraq. It says Syria. And thousands of people live in these wind-swept, freezing pup tents that are ripped open, and the wind goes right through them. No one can get warm. This is a map of the bombing targets of the Western countries—Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria.
JEREMY CORBYN: What comes around goes around. What goes around comes around. And I think we’ve got to think very carefully about the policies we’ve had over the past 14 years, ever since 9/11. 9/11 was a disaster—dreadful, awful, appalling. We bombed Afghanistan. Fourteen years later, Britain, mainly, has left Afghanistan; the U.S. is still there. Is it a country at peace? No, there are many people now fleeing from Afghanistan because of the continued instability there. Surely, the future of this world has to be looking into the fundamental causes of these conflicts, not just dealing with the symptoms.