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Dempsey Worried About Refugee, Immigration Crisis in Europe

Aug. 18, 2015 | BY Jim Garamone , DOD News

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said today he is worried about the effects migration, immigration and mass migration are having in Europe.

Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey told the Irish Defense Force staff at Cathal Brugha Barracks here that a recent United Nations report said that there were 60 million refugees in the world today.

“Can you imagine there are that many people that are away from where they normally live their lives?” he asked.

This means 42,500 families a day are displaced, the chairman said. Dempsey said his concern is twofold: First, it is a humanitarian disaster, and second, it encourages those affected to turn to violent extremist groups.

“Family units break down [and] education breaks down, so you have not just a near-term problem but you end up having a generational problem,” he said.

This combination of a humanitarian refugee crisis mixed with the rise of violent extremism is a 20-year problem and must be addressed as such, the chairman said.

Governments normally try to solve these complex and perplexing problems one year at a time, he said, because that is the way budgets work. That will not work with these issues, Dempsey noted. “Frankly, we’re moving at a pace that is not keeping pace with that threat,” the chairman said. “And we really need to awaken to it as a society, as a culture, as a civilization.”

The refugee and migration issue is already impacting Europe, he said. Internal domestic politics in some European countries are being dramatically affected by the refugee crisis, Dempsey said, with fringe groups increasing their share of governments across Europe in reaction to the failure to address the refugee crisis.

“This could affect stability and peace on the continent,” he said. “I don’t know where this goes. Normally, when I don’t know where things go, I get worried about them. And I’m here to say that I am worried.”

 (Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @GaramoneDoDNews)