Saturday, June 27, 2015

Enforcement is not the answer to the migrant crisis

EU’s plan to crack down on traffickers and stop migrant boats in the Mediterranean will endanger the migrants even more

By David Bacon, AlJazeera America
June 8, 2015

The influx of migrants trying to reach Europe from North Africa continues unabated. In the last weekend of May alone, European naval and merchant ships rescued more than 5,000 migrants after boats in the Mediterranean issued distress calls, according the European Union border control agency, Frontex. The death toll is also on the rise. At least 1,770 people have died so far this year — up from 56 at this same time last year. The International Organization for Migration warns that the migrant death toll could reach 30,000 in 2015.

Frontex has stepped up its search and rescue efforts after nearly 900 migrants drowned off Libya’s coast in April. But EU leaders remain divided on just what to do with those already in Europe. At least 40,000 people have reached Italy by boat since January. Yet so far, the EU’s response has focused on border enforcement and a crackdown on traffickers. This emphasis not only ignores the primary drives of migration but also jeopardizes millions of people who are seeking refuge from repressive regimes.

Other European plans are equally riddled with flaws.[...]

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