The West's Obsession With Border Security Is Breeding Instability
Added 11-16-19 03:34:01am EST - “In the name of fighting illegal immigration, the European Union, the United States, and Australia are emboldening dictators, fueling abuses and corruption, and stoking the?” - Foreignpolicy.com
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Argument: The West’s Obsession With Border Security Is Breeding Instability The West’s Obsession With Border Security ...
For too long, Western leaders have been getting away with a brutal circus in the name of border security. From hard-right politicians to the erstwhile establishment parties, “fighting illegal migration” is the new game in town from Canberra to Washington by way of Brussels and Rome. While it is natural be outraged by the locking up of children in Donald Trump’s United States or the criminalization of rescues in Italy during Matteo Salvini’s reign as interior minister, this deadly game is sadly not just being played by a few erratic and callous politicians. Rather, it is systematic.
For many years now, a key part of the game has been to get poorer neighbors to do the dirty work of deterring migration. The short-term political gains of this strategy are often huge. But taking a longer view, such outsourcing of migration and border controls represents a spectacular own goal not just in humanitarian terms, but also politically.
Consider the European Union’s external borders. In a July report, we detailed how the EU and its member states have gone about outsourcing the deterrence of migration to states such as Turkey, Libya, and Niger, with severe consequences that are rarely debated. Tallying up the score sheet of fewer migrants and refugees arriving onto European shores since the record-high numbers in 2015, politicians are getting away with trumpeting the supposed success of fighting migration via patrols, fences, and heavy deterrence. Most of the media have lapped up the so-called success story simply by reducing their reporting on migration, while more progressive voices have kept silent for fear of stirring the far-right beast. Yet this spurious success masks a much bigger moral and political failure that will keep coming back to haunt the EU.
From the indefinite containment in what Amnesty International called “insecure and undignified” camps in Greece to de facto pushbacks of migrants toward the hell of Libya, from increasingly perilous routes across the Sahara to the avoidable mass drownings in the Mediterranean, Europe’s so-called fight against illegal migration has fueled abuses that undermine the EU’s global role and its avowed values. Inside Europe itself, the perennial crisis mentality has fueled a sense of siege and foreboding that only benefits the far-right. In just the latest example of this, Spain’s surging far-right party Vox is now clamoring for “insurmountable walls” at the borders of the country’s North African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla—where existing tall fencing, military technology, and manpower have for years been contributing to the chaos.
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