Drowned migrants, asylum, and European democracy
Europe’s asylum policies are largely to blame for illegal migrants risking everything to reach Europe. Migrants know that Europe’s asylum rules are gameable, and that all they need to do is get to Europe to be in with a chance. EU immigration ideology is now a deadly disaster
In the latest disaster, well over 600 migrants have drowned in the Mediterranean attempting to enter Europe illegally. It’s not the first such tragedy -- last week over 400 drowned -- and it won’t be the last, yet Europe’s ruling liberal political class are stymied on the issue, afraid to do what they really want to do: let them all in.
Most of Europe’s mainstream politicians would like to have an open door policy on immigration (virtually unrestricted immigration has always been a strong feature of the EU’s political ideology, which is why there are over 20 million Muslims today in western Europe).
But Europe’s politicians now have to look over their shoulders at the rise of nationalist parties, and a growing awareness among many Europeans that western Europe could become politically unstable if immigration is not brought under strict control.
So it is not out of respect for the democratic voice that Europe’s political class hold back on granting asylum to the tens of millions who want to come to Europe, but out of fear. Many Europeans have had enough of immigration and want it checked.
However, while Europe’s political class bide their time, other unelected forces are at work relentlessly promoting virtually unlimited migration to Europe.
One such force is the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), funded by the European Commission but made up, it would seem, of self-appointed moral-high-ground interpreters of Europe’s moral and legal obligations to migrants.
After the recent deaths, the ECRE’s secretary general Mr Diedring was on BBC Radio 5 Live lambasting Europe’s politicians for not doing enough to help migrants claim their rights in Europe.
Mr Diedring and the ECRE appear to believe that every person on the planet who wants to claim asylum should have “legal avenues” available to apply for asylum in Europe.
Europe, it seems, has a legal duty to guarantee the human rights of the world’s population.
When it was put to Mr Diedring that such a policy would lead to unsustainable mass migration he said: “We cannot look at this in terms of numbers.”
That is an extraordinary statement from a publicly funded yet unrepresentative body that has influence with the European Commission whose job it is to draft proposals for new European laws.
And Mr Diedring really does mean that there should be no limit to the number of immigrants coming to Europe. From his impeccably liberal moral high ground he pointed out that a town in Turkey with a population of 100,000 are hosting 120,000 refugees and that we in Europe are not doing anything close to that.
Obviously the European Council on Refugees and Exiles is happy to see the populations of Europe’s towns and cities out-numbered by migrants, working or not working, perhaps even on welfare, even though the people of Europe have made it clear they want no such thing.
But what is democracy to a liberal defending his high-minded cause?
And the high-mindedness goes even further. The ECRE also believes that, “security imperatives should not override” the rights of those who want to claim refuge in Europe.
So there we have it: the security of all of us in Europe, it seems, must take second place to the right of terrorists to come and claim refugee status. Even though Isis and al Qaeda have declared their determination to use illegal boat crossings from Libya to enter Europe and plant bombs, we Europeans must respect their legal entitlement to refugee status.
The vast majority of European peoples do not accept this far-left suicidal agenda of overrunning Europe with refugees. Furthermore, the vast majority of Europeans do not accept that they should be held responsible for so many of the world’s refugees.
How is it that so many Somalis, Nigerians, Syrians and Libyans seek refuge in Europe, when Egypt, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia are closer and would be easier to get to and far more conducive to their cultural needs?
On that point we could ask a question that many Europeans want answered -- if those refugees crossing the Mediterranean are genuinely fleeing danger back home, why do they put themselves in even greater danger by paying gangsters large sums of money to put them in dilapidated boats with serious risk of drowning, when security could be found closer to home at little cost?
Clearly there is some other motive for taking such risks.
With the most recent deaths of over 600 migrants, there will be calls from pro-immigration groups to make it easier for migrants to come to Europe. Such calls should be resisted.
It’s easy to be moral and express outrage at such tragic loss of life. The moral horror of 600 deaths is clear. But our European political class need to understand some very uncomfortable truths here.
There are tens of millions of Africans and Asians who want to settle in Europe. The source of these millions will never be depleted. There will always be tens of millions wanting to make the trek.
Mass migration on such a scale would eventually pauperize the continent and change the cultural base of Europe forever. It would also aggravate burgeoning anti-immigration far right movements.
None of this is what the people of Europe want, and if the EU is democratic then the politicians must enforce strict controls on immigration.
Europe’s asylum policies are largely to blame for illegal migrants risking everything to reach Europe. Migrants know that Europe’s asylum rules are gameable, and that all they need to do is get to Europe to be in with a chance.
Such laxity about asylum claims is a huge attraction to people from all over the world. According to the journalist Christopher Caldwell, “a majority of asylum seekers fall under the heading of bogus” and over 80 percent of those whose claims are rejected stay on. This surely must end. Europe must get rid of the incentive to risk the Mediterranean crossing to reach Europe.
The 1951 Geneva Convention on the Status of Refugees was never intended to change the face of Europe at the hands of criminal gangs and mainly bogus asylum seekers who could be better settled elsewhere.
European governments and the EU have a duty, not only to those claiming asylum -- who are dying because of this mess -- but to their own European peoples who want an end to uncontrolled mass migration to Europe.
Vincent Cooper is a regular contributor to The Commentator
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