Jun 23,2018 – JORDAN TIMES –
The migrant narrative in Europe and the US is not over blown for no reason, as it is taking a heavy toll on the domestic politics of most European nations and causing the realignment of political parties in support to the government and the election of right wing parties across the European political landscape.
This challenge has already changed the political order in Austria, Hungary and Italy, and is on the verge of doing the same in Sweden, Spain and France.
In the US, it is even a broader political issue. The most recent manifestation of which was the issue of separating children from their migrant parents under existing immigration policy in the country. US President Donald Trump has gone to the extreme by contemplating the construction of a wall separating his country from Mexico, which has become the gateway for much of the new waves of migrants from different countries.
The West is torn between its loyalty to liberal policies on migrants and asylum seekers under international norms and the harsh realities that come with it. The international regime on receiving migrants and asylum seekers is founded in conventions that date back to the early fifties. The Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, which remains the backbone of the Western polices on migrants, was actually adopted in 1951, when the problem was nowhere near its recent magnitude and when would-be migrants had no real physical access to Europe and Canada.
Given the widespread poverty, deprivation and oppression in many parts of Africa, Asia and Latin America, under the existing international norms, which Europe and Canada jealously adhere to, no less than 150 million people from these three continents would qualify to enter Europe, Canada and the US if only they have physical access to do so.
Access to Europe has become possible by sea from Libya after the country went through a change of regime and thousands of people thirsty for freedom, human rights protection, an end to persecution and an adequate standard of living, would board boats of whatever size and head for the shores of Europe. Others from the Middle East cross into Turkey and from there to Greece and then westward to neighbouring European countries. Germany, Italy and Spain have become the final destination of migrants.
The UK’s Brexit decision was literally triggered by the British rebellion against the lax border controls in Europe and motivated by the determination of London to have more secure borders from migrants.
Germany’s domestic policy scene has been subjected to the strain of some 1.5 million migrants who have “recently” entered the country under the existing liberal policy. The same is happening in other parts of Europe.
This leads to only one solution. The existing legal norms on migrants are overdue for review. As is, there is no equitable balance in the current legal order that is governing migrants, on the top of which is, of course, the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. But this is not enough by any stretch of imagination. The West, being the prime destination of migrants, must invest more in the economies of developing countries, which are the main source of the migrant flows and act more effectively to combat oppression and tyranny in them.
Migrants chose to leave their homeland not for simple reasons. They run away from their homeland and love ones because of lack of basic democracy, dire economic conditions, famine and lack of adequate standard of living, including access to adequate housing, food, water and education.
The West would be paying less for the migrant narrative have they invested more funds into countries that are the origin of the crisis in the first place. This would be infinitely more cost effective