How Europe looks at the US border crisis

It could be argued that a border wall didn’t seem necessary for Democrats in 2016 or January 2021, but November 2021 is a different story

How Europe looks at the US border crisis
At the end of September, the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), a Washington-based think tank, organised a week-long tour of the US-Mexico border. I was the only European there, and the migration crises of the Old Continent gave me a unique perspective on the ongoing “serious problem” (in the words of the Biden administration, a “crisis”) at the Mexican border.

CII took us to a “calmer” section of the border; we visited the westernmost edge of Texas, the city of El Paso and some border areas of New Mexico. The word “calmer” is a misnomer; with more than 17,000 migrants apprehended in September, the El Paso border sector can only be called calm because in the Rio Grande Valley sector, the US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) apprehended 55,000 illegal immigrants during the same period.

In the small town of Mesilla we met with Representative Yvette Herrell (R-NM-2), whose congressional district covers 180 miles on the southern border. What struck me most was Herrell’s assessment that the Biden administration has abandoned key immigration and asylum measures enacted under Trump simply because they were introduced by a Republican president.

No, it won’t be a slippery slope “should have” argument about a “beautiful” wall, because this Trump project is as symbolic to Democrats as it was to the previous administration. My point of contention is the immediate termination of the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP, also known as Remain in Mexico) on Inauguration Day. The reason for the decision to end the MPP (which apparently lacked any impact assessment) was that the policy is considered inherently cruel and inhumane among Democrats. The Nobel Peace Prize-winning European Union has been working on a similar policy since 2017.

French President Emmanuel Macron, who had just taken office, proposed in July 2017 the creation of camps in Libya where asylum seekers could be processed without entering the continent. In the same year, prominent EU leaders approved a plan to set up camps in Africa’s Sahel where genuine refugees could be separated from economic migrants. These camps would be run by the United Nations, but most of the funding would come from the EU. The German delegation has endorsed this plan with the condition that the camps should provide adequate protection and provisions for their inhabitants. So it is possible to set up camps that meet the EU’s clearly high human rights standards in Chad and Niger, but the camps in Mexico are inherently cruel and inhumane?

However, the EU is not alone in considering a solution where asylum seekers will have to wait abroad while their applications are processed. In the UK, the proposed Citizenship and Borders Bill introduces a similar scheme. The proposed UK bill borrows from the Australian system, which provides for asylum seekers to be transferred to other states while their application is being processed. Within the EU, the socialist Danish government has recently proposed a similar procedure. In my experience, these are not the countries that usually get into the news with human rights abuses.

The national interest

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