Europe is starting to tighten the screws on migrants. Convers-ations about human rights are receding into the background in the face of the threat of a new crisis associated with an influx of illegal immigrants.
As we predicted a few months ago, this summer was the peak of the influx of refugees into European countries. News of new breakthroughs across borders, new casualties and new restrictions related to preventing migrants from entering a particular Europ-ean country comes every day, if not every hour.
So, this week, the UK Home Office reported that the number of foreigners who illegally entered the country this year has reached almost 8.5 thousand people. That has already exceeded last year’s record (8.4 thousand) – and this despite the fact that there are still five months before the end of this year. Last Monday, a record was recorded for the arrival of illegal immigrants in one day – at least 430 people. But we are talking only about those border violators who were caught. How many broke through unnoticed by law enforcement officers and how many died in the waters of the English Channel, no one can say.
It is not surprising that Interior Minister Priti Patel (herself, by the way, the daughter of Indian migrants who arrived in Britain from Uganda in the 1960s) acknowledged the failure of the refugee reception system and called from the rostrum of parliament for its tightening. On Wednesday, MPs supported in the second reading a bill introduced by the Interior Ministry to make illegal entry into Britain a criminal offense, for which a prison term of up to four years will be provided. The new law will also give the right to expel migrants who have already entered the territory of Britain to other countries not related to the origin of the violators.
Patel justifies the need to remedy the situation, in particular, the growing costs of the system of control over migrants, which now requires more than a billion pounds. And on the same day, she agreed with the French Ministry of Int-ernal Affairs to allocate an additional 54 million pou-nds to strengthen the border control system. This is in addition to the agreement last November, when Lon-don allocated 28 million to the French to double the number of police patrols on the coast of the strait.
The deal sparked a heated debate in the British media. MPs said that the French “cheated” their London counterparts. Member of Parliament for the ruling Conservative Party, Tim Loughton, said Patel paid Paris to fulfill its international obligations. “Giving money to the French so that they continue to do what they do badly is not a solution to the problem,” he said.
And recently it became known that officials of the British Ministry of Internal Affairs are actively negotiating with their colleagues from Denmark with the aim of sharing a center for refugees, which the Danes are going to open in Rwanda. Yes, yes, Denmark, once famous in Europe for one of the most liberal refugee reception systems, intends to send migrants to the very center of Africa, far from Europe. Moreover, the Danish government negotiated this secretly, without informing its fellow citizens. The conclusion of the deal became known in April exclusively from the information of the Rwandan Foreign Ministry. It was only in June that the Danish parliament passed a law allowing the opening of such a center. By the way, Ukraine was also offered to Europeans among potential places for refugees.
Denmark is now perhaps the toughest fighter against the influx of illegal mi-grants in Europe. Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen promised parliament that she would try to bring the number of applications for refugee status “to zero.” This terrifies the European left, given the fact that Frederiksen is the head of the Social Democratic Par-ty and that the common line of Social Democrats and Labor in Europe has so far been an open door policy.
Denmark recently became the first country in Europe to require Syrian refugees to return home. The rationale looks quite reasonable: the Ministry of Immigration conducted a special study, which found that refugees returning to areas controlled by the Syrian government do not experience problems and feel safe. On this basis, Copenhagen simply does not renew their residence permit for several hundred people from these areas. Moreover, we are talking about young Syrians who have already grown up and studied in Denmark. The hearts of many Danish television viewers were touched by the emotional appeal of a crying 19-year-old Syrian, Aya Abu-Daher, who in pure Danish asked : “What did I do wrong?” These tearscaused a strong reaction from the public and human rights organizations, thanks to which the girl won an appeal last week and secured the right to remain in Denmark, but the order to expel other Syrians remained in force.
The events around hundreds of refugees in Belgium are developing even more dramatically – there, because of this, there even arose the threat of the fall of the government. Up to half a thousand undocumented migrants occupied an ancient church and several university premises in the center of Brussels, declaring a hunger strike. They demand recognition of at least some status, claiming that they have been working in Belgium for years, but the authorities refuse them documents. Some of those gathered had their mouths sewn up in protest, some even refused water, some are in critical condition because of the hunger strike. Two of the seven coalition parties in Belgium have said they will leave the government if any of the protesters dies. Brussels said last Wednesday that it had reached an agreement with the protesters, but many of themdeclare that they will disperse only after receiving guarantees that their requirements will be met. Moreover, it is possible that, having solved the problem of several hundred migrants, the government will induce others to similar methods of protest – it works the same.
On the same Wednesday, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda signed amendments to the law on the legal status of foreigners, sharply tightening the procedure for accepting refugees in the country. Now Vilnius deprives migrants of the right to appeal in the event of a decision to expel them, and keeping refugees in their places of temporary settlement will not be considered an arrival on the territory of Lithuania. Nauseda signed the scandalous law, despite the fact that the day before his adviser Povilas Machiulis sharply criticized the amendments. He said the Diet had “thrown into the trash can of human rights,” and was hoping for a veto from Nauseda. As you can see, the veto did not work out.
Lithuania explains such a tough decision by the crisis caused by a sharp influx of refugees (mainly from the countries of the Middle East and Africa). This year, Lithuanians detained over 2,200 illegal migrants on t-he border with Belarus, w-hich is 27 times more than last year. Moreover, more than 1.5 thousand of them were detained in July alone.
Conflicts and even riots have already erupted in L-ithuanian refugee camps, f-orcing the police to use w-eapons and tear gas. The situation was recognized as a crisis. Vilnius appealed f-or help to the European Un-ion. Sweden responded this week with a shipment of humanitarian aid – 80 beds. Apparently, according to Stockholm, this should ease the problems of Lithuania.
And that these problems will arise, has long been warned by the President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko. Immediately after the imposition of European sanctions on his country, he warned that henceforth Minsk had neither the means nor the motivation to deter illegal immigrants. “We will never keep anyone: they are not coming to us. They are go-ing to enlightened, warm, comfortable Europe,” the Belarusian leader warned. And so it happened. Now Lukashenka accuses Lith-uanians of “fascist” methods of treating migrants.
But Europe has not yet faced the consequences of the withdrawal of the American military from Afghanistan and the humanitarian crisis beginning there due to the fact that the civil war is gaining momentum. This week alone, the Turkish authorities announced the interception of several large groups (up to 250 people in total) of Afghan refugees who crossed the Iranian-Turkish border. There is no doubt that if the situation in Afghanistan aggravates, this flow will acquire catastrophic proportions.
This means that the toughening of the migration policy of Britain, Denmark, Lithuania is only the beginning of a general European trend towards the final curtailment of the “open door policy”.