Acton Institute Powerblog

European Flood: What Will The Damage Be?

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No, it’s not a regular flood. It’s a flood of immigrants – some legal, some not. Europe is getting swamped; what’s the damage going to be?

The American Interest reports that the Italian Coast Guard rescued almost 2,000 people over the weekend, bringing the number of immigrants to Italy this year alone to 90,000 (170,000 last year). The financial strain for Italy and other EU nations is becoming more and more apparent.

Many of the migrants keep making their own way to the more economically vibrant north. This in turn creates the kind of dysfunctional political dynamic on display between France and England in recent days, where the migrant crisis festering in Calais has seen as many as 5,000 migrants each day for the last six days try to force their way across the Eurotunnel by hiding in trucks and boarding trains. Eurotunnel authorities warned over the weekend that increased security at Calais, promised by both French and British ministers, would only displace the problem to other, less well-guarded ports.

Keep in mind that most of these are NOT refugees, but immigrants. Most are not fleeing war, famine, strife. They are seeking a better life for themselves, but many do it illegally, while adding additional pressure to the bloated government aid programs that plague numerous EU nations.

This mass migration also highlights the complete breakdown of borders. People are moving from nation to nation with aplomb. This lack of security is dangerous – and criminals know it. They’ll certainly be taking advantage of this: moving drugs, trafficking humans, and more.

European politicians, like those in the U.S., seem paralyzed and helpless in the face of mass uncontrolled immigration. European institutions appear to have no answer either for the large crowds of desperate people living month after month in shanty towns, or for the thousands crossing by boat and over land from the desperate conditions of Africa and the Middle East. (And at the root of this lie two even bigger problems that Europe doesn’t want to touch with a ten-meter pole: Libya and Syria.)The migrant crisis is not an easy problem, and none of the answers are good. But control over its borders is a necessary task of an effective state.

Is Europe willing and able to stem the flood and build its borders? They’ll have to, or they will be swamped.

Elise Hilton Communications Specialist at Acton Institute. M.A. in World Religions.

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