This is a stupidly dangerous exercise—if the crossing was legal, the boat owner would go jail for endangering his passengers.
As many as 1200 Africans have drowned in the Mediterranean in the last ten days trying to immigrate illegally into Europe, and the European Union, the United Nations, and the global Main Stream Media have been quick to declare solutions and scapegoats.
The scapegoats: Europeans who don’t want their countries overrun with Third World immigrants.
Thus U.N officials have already dismissed the plan put together by European leaders on Monday:
The U.N. statement on Thursday called on Europe to begin a “robust, proactive and well-resourced” search and rescue mission in the Mediterranean, to create channels for safe and regular migration and to make a firm commitment to take in significantly higher numbers of refugees.Dara Lind at Vox agrees: “The xenophobia in domestic politics in the UK, as well as other European countries—especially Italy—is one of the most important factors driving EU policy on this issue” [1,600 migrants have drowned in the Mediterranean this year. Europe refuses to fix the crisis, April 20, 2015].
“These are ideas that have been around for 20 years, but the E.U. isn’t doing them, and politics and xenophobia keep getting in the way,” said Rupert Colville, a spokesman for [high commissioner for human rights Zeid Ra’ad al-] Hussein.
European Leaders Urged to Strengthen ‘Minimalist’ Approach to Mediterranean Migration Crisis, by Nick Cumming-Brice, April 23, 2015
While the scapegoats are predictable, but the Left’s solutions are simply impossible—short of obliterating Europe (which is what they apparently want).
There are three broad aspects of policy that the West could adjust to affect the migrant flow.
1) Immigration Policy
Without giving any specifics, the UNHCR said that to prevent future disasters, the EU must “establish credible legal avenues to reach Europe.” Similarly, Bloomberg has editorialized against “Europe's Deadly Immigration Policy” and claimed that ideally, the “EU should simply offer legal passage to refugees fleeing violence and poverty in the Middle East and Africa,” the main problem being the “current anti-immigrant mood in Europe” [April 20, 2015].
the only real solution to Europe's migrant crisis is to let everyone in…The migrants are making a rational choice. If they make it over to Europe, and are allowed to stay, they will earn not just a little more but much, much more than they would have at home.But this is true only if you assume that Europe will adopt a version of America’s “dry feet” policy with Cuban refugees: once you set foot on dry land, you get to stay. However, if Europeans make it clear that if the Africans make it to Europe they will be deported rather than given jobs, it would no longer be a “rational choice” for them to risk their lives crossing the Mediterranean.
2) Rescue Policy
The UNHCR has said the disaster underscores how “urgent it is to restore a robust rescue-at-sea operation… Otherwise people seeking safety will continue to perish at sea” [New Mediterranean boat tragedy may be biggest ever, urgent action is needed now, UNHCR, April 19, 2015].
Yet from the simple “rational choice” perspective, the safer the passage to Europe is, the more migrants will try to make the passage. As the British foreign minister Lady Anelay noted, these rescue operations “an unintended ‘pull factor’, encouraging more migrants to attempt the dangerous sea crossing and thereby leading to more tragic and unnecessary deaths” [UK axes support for Mediterranean migrant rescue operation, by Alan Travis, The Guardian, October 27, 2014].
The truth is that Europe needs to discourage migrants from making the trip. British reality TV star Katie Hopkins has promoted the most extreme deterrent by proposing to “[b]ring on the gunships, force migrants back to their shores and burn the boats” [Katie Hopkins LBC radio show: as it happened, by Cameron Macphail, The Telegraph, April 19, 2015]. The usual suspects are now clamoring that she get charged with inciting racial hatred [Katie Hopkins and The Sun editor David Dinsmore reported to police for incitement to racial hatred following migrant boat column, by Jenn Selby, The Independent, April 20, 2015] and a celebrity boycott has apparently cost her a projected chat show [Katie Hopkins chat show plans run in to trouble after celebrities refuse to appear, by Caroline Westbrook, Metro, April 23, 2015].
I would not go as far as Hopkins, but there is no reason why Europe has any obligation to help those who are trying to break into their countries. The migrants are taking a risk by breaking the law to make more money. Why should Europe try to reduce that risk?
One does not need to be a rabid restrictionist to believe this. University of Chicago Law professor Eric Posner [Email him] has defended the constitutionality of Obama’s Executive Amnesty [Obama’s immigration plan is perfectly constitutional, by Eric Posner, Slate, November 20, 2014] and argued that mass immigration can solve global inequality. Nonetheless, he rejected the cries that the U.S. must go out of its way to make crossing the desert from Mexico to America safe:
One might thus argue that the overwhelming majority of migrants from Mexico are rational economic actors who are taking a calculated risk, like a person who joins the army in order to obtain skills but then find himself in a war zone, or someone who mortgages his home in order to finance a start-up but then finds himself on the street when his business fails. We can possibly do more to inform potential migrants of the dangers of crossing the desert, but if they prefer to take these risks, it is not our responsibility to move heaven and earth to rescue them.3) “Root Causes”
[Perils and Privileges, by Eric Posner, New Republic, June 11, 2012]
The UNHCR called for a “comprehensive European approach to address the root causes that drive so many people to this tragic end.” The “root cause” argument is a favorite liberal device to avoid unpalatable realities, which in this case is ultimately that Africa is a very unpleasant place to live in, while Europe offers a much higher standard of living. As The Economist notes, the migrants “are fleeing some mixture of war, oppression, civil disorder and poverty” [Everything you want to know about migration across the Mediterranean, April 21, 2015].
The West will never be able to solve those ills in Africa. In fact, the U.S. has been doing the opposite by subsidizing African population growth with foreign aid, while destabilizing governments through foreign intervention.
Most destructively, the U.S. helped overthrow Muammar Gaddafi who had been preventing Africans from using Libya as a transit point to Europe. Gaddafi warned the Mediterranean would become a "sea of chaos" if he was overthrown [ISIS threatens to 500,000 migrants to Europe as a ‘psychological weapon’ in chilling echo of Gaddafi’s prophecy that the Mediterranean ‘will become a sea of chaos,’ by Hannah Roberts, Daily Mail, February 18, 2015]. He was right.
ISIS, which has filled the power vacuum in Libya, now promises to send 500,000 Africans into Europe as "psychological weapon." To its credit, Britain’s UKIP has responded to claims that its “xenophobia” is leading to the crisis by placing partial blame on the Cameron government’s foreign policy[Farage: Cameron must take some blame for migrant deaths in Mediterranean, by Rowena Mason, Guardian, April 19, 2015].
VDARE.com Editor Peter Brimelow, who thinks the West should simply (re)occupy the North African coast in response to the crisis, began his 1995 book Alien Nation: Common Sense About America’s Immigration Disaster by describing mass immigration to America as Hitler’s posthumous revenge on the nation that defeated him.
Alexander Hart (email him) is a conservative journalist.