The Wall Street Journal reports on the EU migration compromise:
Migrants setting off from North Africa in makeshift boats are mainly rescued in international waters by ships run by nongovernmental organizations, who then bring castaways to ports in countries such as Italy.
Under the new arrangement, such search-and-rescue operations, which Italian authorities have said are facilitating mass migration, would be more strictly regulated—and would eventually have to send the migrants ashore to designated African ports.
Migrants rescued in EU territorial waters would be brought to European ports, but kept in detention centers until their status were clarified.
The concept is inspired in part by the model long used by Australia, which turns back all migrant boats and sends them to third-country centers run by local authorities. That system has been criticized by human-rights campaigners and the media for what some call inhumane conditions…
Australia’s tough policy has prompted international outrage, said Elisabeth Collett, director of Migration Policy Institute Europe, a think tank. But the measures have curbed mass migration and prevented people from drowning at sea while trying to reach Australia, she added.
I used write rather a lot about immigration on this blog. The basic themes were pretty simple:
- European countries were not built on immigration and don’t see themselves this way. They are built on a vague but very real centuries-long sense of identity and cultural resemblance, manifesting itself in hundreds of attitudes and customs, some quite trivial. Things like how to cook certain kinds of foods, whether to cross the street on a red light, coffee v. tea, when to make eye contact in trains, shaking hands in the workplace, when to talk about religion, what counts as private life, how to address people, whether saunas are mixed, etc. These attitudes are absorbed by osmosis, people don’t even have to discuss them — unless an outsider brings them up.
- Europeans become nervous and insecure when they see too many people around them who don’t ‘look like’ them and who don’t understand, or who reject, their unspoken cultural assumptions. They haven’t been socialized to embrace cultural diversity. Efforts by left-leaning European political elites to try to change their mind on this point failed. Maybe that’s too bad; maybe Europeans should be more accepting of difference. But that’s irrelevant — they’re not, and they never will be. Policy needs to be made on the basis of who the voters are, not who you might wish them to be.
- As Douglas Murray proves at interminable length in his book The Strange Death of Europe, large majorities in almost all European countries have always opposed mass immigration. They never wanted it, and didn’t like its consequences. The emergence of right-wing parties was and is primarily driven by the desire of European voters to get their mainstream political leaders to recognize this fact.
- The large influx of 2015-2016 resulted in far too many of the wrong kind of people (specifically, uneducated young males from culturally-remote countries such as Ertirea, Syria, Algeria, and Afghanistan) entering Europe all at once.
- As did most skeptical observers, I predicted the destabilizing shock of 2015 would have two main results: strengthening right-wing parties, and further weakening the center-left. These things duly happened. Boy, did they ever happen.
- I also predicted that sooner or later, a delayed reaction of self-preservation would kick in, and European leaders would, after much hemming and hawing, and much inconsequential blather about European values, eventually come to the same conclusion Australia did: Allowing unregulated immigration of mass numbers of largely uneducated young males from crisis-torn countries was a disastrous policy that had to be stopped.
- I advocated a system in which asylum claims would be evaluated before a person is legally admitted to European territory, since finding and deporting people once they’ve been allowed in is unworkable. European countries simply cannot manage to deport anywhere near the number of people who legally should be deported.
And now, three years too late, European leaders seem to have finally accepted reality. The plan is still a long way from implementation, and there definitely be court challenges.* But reality seems, at last, to have registered.
* As to the court challenges, I predict they will result in wishy-washy decisions recommending that authorities beef up procedural protections during asylum proceedings for certain categories of asylum-seekers. But judges will not demand that detention camps be closed down and borders re-opened. Judges won’t want to be seen as doormats, but they also read newspapers. The last thing they will want to do is provoke another life-threatening crisis for the EU.