Peter Singer provides an interesting futuristic example of human nature in action when he illustrated the global radioactivity problem with people inside and outside fallout shelters. The problem certainly made me delve into my personal feelings about immigrants, refugees and foreigners in general.
I agree that nations with an abundance of inhabitable land, as well as a certain wealth should do everything possible to assist refugees. Refugees are people like you and I who had the unfortunate lot in life to be born in a war-torn or barren land. We should be morally obligated to help them establish a better life.
One of the problems not addressed was illness and disease. Many refugees, or boat people as I've hear them called, may be infected with third world disease such that we in the United States are ill prepare to deal with. I see this as a major concern. The need for medical care, as well as a medical holding facility for refugees would be necessary. The United States can certainly provide more jobs for the medical workers and more work for the pharmaceuticals to provide the necessary vaccines. Such cost could be born equally by the coalition of United Nations, or there might even be a fixed "medical services fee" imposed on the recipients. Such fee could be repaid upon gainful employment. Medical problems with boat people would be a major concern, but probably not as great a concern for the number seeking asylum.
The matter of asylum was interesting, but hardly applies to refugees. The number of individuals seeking asylum is typically low compared to the hundreds of boat people or other refugees. Those seeking asylum most likely arrived in the United States for other reasons, such as students, members of the arts, athletes, etc. These individuals would not become a burden on our society nor tax our welfare system.
Singer touched briefly on the issue of increased demand on our welfare system. This is a valid concern because refugees may not be immediately able to find jobs, and if they did, the jobs would most like be minimum wage positions. Perhaps a method of "pay back" might also be imposed for long-term refuge welfare recipients.
Singer aptly criticizes those not desirous of disturbing the status quo when he says, "But the status quo is the outcome of a system of national selfishness and political expediency, and not the result of a considered attempt to work out the moral obligations of the developed nations in a world with 15 million refugees."