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For Europe, Cutting the Flow of Migrants Challenges Basic Ideals
By Steven Erlanger & Katrin Bennhold, July 5, 2018, NY Times
winthrop staples, newbury park california, July 6
What about the "basic ideals" of the rule of law? The freedom of
movement of people within the EU agreement was agreed upon to apply to
citizens of European member nations! It certainly does not logically
extend to the legitimatization of the current forced invasion of
Europe by potentially billions from the rest of the world! European
leaders by allowing mass invasion of European southern (often hype
corrupt and mafia controlled) nations and then these weak willed and
incompetent nations conspiring to shove these invaders upon nations
further north are acts of treason against the democratic majorities of
citizens who live in all European countries. The only "basic ideal"
that is being upheld by the empty headed and dishonest wailing support
for these obvious invasions of the sovereignty of European common
citizens is the entitlement that the rich and powerful in European
societies still have to a never ending supply of submissive immigrant
Maureen, New York, July 6
One point to remember here - many of those thousands who marched into
Europe were not Syrian. Most do not qualify for refugee status in any
case. These arrivals are in Europe today because they paid a smuggler
to bring them. The stark reality is the fact that no one knows exactly
how many came (and are coming) and who they really are. Identity
papers are easily purchased throughout Middle East. It is an
undisputed fact that thousands traveled to Syria and Iraq to join
ISIS. It is a probability that some of those individuals are now in
Europe. This is not a good thing. It is quite ironic that there is
much handwringing about the increase of right wing populists on the
one hand but little is said publicly at least - about the cumulative
impact of millions who view the entire concept of human rights so
differently than Western Europeans.
Barbara, Boston, July 6
Open borders as part of a liberal culture makes sense when immigrants
are similar, of similar values and cultures they share with the host
country. That was the liberal ideal which had been promulgated. I
remember those conversations about the EU way back when it was just a
vision being developed into reality. It was not meant to apply to
those who can't assimilate.
Lilou, Paris, July 6
Happily, most European counties are not populist and want to remain in
The populists, Hungary, Italy, Austria, part of Poland and part of
Germany, make for an interesting mix. Formerly Communist countries,
predominantly white and Catholic, have the most trouble accepting
strangers and are the poorest in the E.U.
Excepting Germany and Austria, they're quite happy to borrow money
from the E.U. and not pay it back, which might be a principal reason
for their staying.
Germany, Austria, Poland and Italy have strong trade ties to the E.U.,
and only parts of Germany and Poland are populist.
These countries realize the economic value of remaining part of the
My clients are largely French, from the government and private
sectors, but also from Africa and Madagascar. Some French think we pay
too much for immigrants' care, but budget analysis doesn't bear this
No one mentions losing their culture. Europe is quite culturally
diverse and it would take a very long time to change European
country's centuries-long cultures. This notion is a non-issue except
But cities can get crowded. I like France's idea of creating
commercial centers and industries, all green, in Africa to give
Africans a source of real income, and relieve their desire to leave.
Despite what you might read in the States, Europeans strongly support
the E.U. We are richer than the U.S. and stronger together, facing
threats from Trump and Russia.
Heather, San Francisco, CA, July 6
It would be very consistent with European values to welcome families
from UN refugee camps (there are millions of people in those camps
patiently waiting for resettlement) while also working to stop
smugglers from sneaking people across borders or shoving them toward
Italy/Spain/Greece in leaky boats.
It has been reported that some migrants - who claim to be afraid for
their lives - have rejected offers of resettlement from safe, stable
countries like Portugal and instead demand passage to rich welfare
states in the north like Sweden and Germany.
Smugglers and their clients have been gaming a generous system, and it
appears that the citizens of Europe are sick of it.
I respect Merkel in general, but she made a terrible decision. She
could have pledged to accept 1 million Syrians from refugee camps.
Instead she opened the borders of Europe, and a million unvetted
people from many countries (mostly military-aged men) poured in. There
have been multiple rapes, murders, anti-Semitic, and terrorist attacks
involving migrants. The victims of those attacks did not deserve to
suffer for Merkel's "humanitarian" gesture.
Margot, U.S.A.,July 6
The world's population has doubled from roughly 3.2 billion to 7.6
billion since the 1960s. Those excess humans come from and have
overwhelmed the 3rd world. This is due to a religious-based refusal to
use birth control by young and old males, as well as those same
religious patriarchies making birth control unavailable for young
females. Most of the population increases in the coming decades -
several more billions, will come from Africa and SE Asia. Europe, the
UK and the U.S. are divided and struggling to absorb what's already
migrated over past decades, and certainly can not soak up tens of
millions - even hundreds of millions - more.
Jake Wagner, Los Angeles, July 6
There are 1.2 billion people in Africa. And the population of Africa
is projected to double by 2050. The vast majority of Africans live in
countries with corrupt governments and could make credible claims that
they deserve asylum. But providing asylum in Europe is like trying to
empty the ocean with a teaspoon.
Perhaps a few Europeans are beginning to realize this, that it is
hopeless to set up policies that provide for huge numbers of refugees,
because those refugees will ultimately destroy the quality of life in
Just as illegal immigrants are destroying the US gradually over time
by increasing congestion and destroying the natural environment.
US population increased from 240 million in 1986 when we passed the
last immigration reform bill to about 327 million now. California is
running out of water. We have found a euphemism for that. California
is suffering from a drought.
In spite of the drought condos pop up like mushrooms in the desert to
make room for ever higher densities of people.
Many of the poor are struggling to make it with two or three jobs.
Many die early of cancer because they cannot afford cancer screenings.
Why can't we afford universal health care? The reason is we encourage
illegal immigrants to come into our country and have children who
become automatic US citizens.
Funds get shifted from universities to K12 education and corrections.
The US has the highest incarceration rate in the world except for the
TomMoretz, USA, July 6
How does this challenge basic ideals? Basic ideals in Europe include
equal rights for women, equal rights for homosexuals, respect for
secular government, opposition to anti-semitism, sexual freedom, and
more. The majority of migrants are opposed to these things. Cutting
the flow is not "challenging" basic ideals, it's enforcing them. Why
should liberal societies have to tolerate these intolerant migrants?
And why is it always old, rich, white people with no children who are
loudly insisting that liberal societies let them in?
Joe C, San Francisco, July 6
"In addition, Germany will pass an immigration law by the end of the
year that gives would-be immigrants the chance to apply for a work
Bad idea. This will only encourage more illegal immigration and will
mark the beginning of a new phase of a continuing immigration disaster
This is reminiscent of the modifications that were made to the
Gastarbeiter program in the 60's. Rather than sticking to the original
plan of rotating the guest workers out after 2 years, to accommodate
complaints from businesses about retraining costs, the Germans
eliminated the very important "time bound" element of the program. The
results of this idiocy are evident today throughout Germany. All so
some businesses could save a few Deutschmarks.
Talbot, New York, July 6
If you don't want to see right wing leaders assuming power, encourage
left wing leaders to assume a more moderate view of immigration, eg,
that stronger enforcement of who comes in, how they arrive, and
where/whether they stay, does not necessarily mean "abandoning
When everyone who opposes mass immigration is automatically derided as
a racist, xenophobic populist, it doesn't turn out well. If you doubt
me, look who our president is.
David, London, July 6
If an individual had a right under international law to enter another
State because his own country was "in chaos" or "dangerous", hundreds
of millions of people would be lining up to exercise their legal right
to enter the US as well as the EU. In that position I would probably
rather aim for Switzerland. There is, however, no such right, however
loudly and frequently it may be proclaimed. A central problem with the
post-war international Asylum Convention, that still applies in
theory, is that it was designed to deal with a large, but limited,
number of displaced people following a horrendous European cataclysm.
It was not designed to regulate what in fact is mass migration of
whole populations, driven by the understandable wish to move to safer,
more prosperous and better governed lands. All this is explained
lucidly by Professor Collier in his recent book on the present new
phenomenon. Collier is a well known,very liberal, development
economist with decades of experience in this field. He shows that the
present asylum system is not fit for purpose, but he does NOT advocate
loose, unregulated external borders as the answer. It is clear from
his exposition of the current problems, and his criticism of the
response, that he believes that Merkel's decision to embrace open
borders was sheer madness, although he is too polite to use that
expression. His proposed solutions are very different, and anyone
interested in these issues has to read his book.
Djt, Norcal, July 6
When all the chancellors and leaders shaming the population for being
anti-immigrant open their neighborhoods and children's schools to
migrants, let me know. Same issue in the US: it's easy to support mass
flows of poorly educated people when you know that you won't see them
or be affected by them.
Thomas Martin, West Lafayette, July 6
And it's even easier to support mass flows of poorly educated people
when you can use them as cheap labor to watch your kids and mow your
Trans Cat Mom, Atlanta, July 6
Europe has survived major migrations and invasions in the past. The
Persians were turned back at Salamis and Platea. The Huns were turned
back too, and then the Ottomans.
That's three times. But as someone who thinks that white societies are
inherently racist and privileged, I'm thinking and hoping that this
latest wave might just succeed.
During those prior acts of exclusion, the rest of the world wasn't
watching. But now, the entire human community is watching, and we have
the interests of the migrants in mind.
Just like the United States, we will be watching to see who wind up in
cages, and the campaign of shame will be relentless!
The future of Europe is brown. Europe's days of white privilege are
drawing to a close!
Ted Pikul, Interzone, July 6
Excellent work, as usual.
Gr in CH, Switzerland, July 6
The West, as in the USA and Europe, have destabilized the Middle East
since the discovery of oil there. Most recently, the Iraq War,
unhinged a domino which knocked Syria out of balance along with the
various Arab Spring uprisings. Libya is still a failed state after the
collapse of Qadafi, through EU & US intervention.
So, Merkel is an ogre for taking in refugees? EU & and US have got
nothing to do with these conflicts???
Stephan, Germany, July 6
It is sad that any discussion on how to deal with migration fails to
separate the issues of asylum, flight from warzones and migration for
Migration generally means moving from one country to another country
seeking a better life.
Seeking a better life is a very understandable motive per se but
whether the improvement sought is absence from persecution for
political reasons (the "classic" ground for granting asylum), absence
from constant fear for your life (warzones) or the hope for a higher
standard of living (economical motivation) makes all the difference.
If we fail to offer help to those in need of protection we go against
what defines western societies ("love thy neighbour" if you are
religious, humanism if you are not).
On the other hand, limiting the number of those seeking a higher
standard of living is not only ethical, it is vital for the cohesion
of our societies.
We therefore need to find ways to effectively and quickly determine
whether a person is in need of protection.
We need to discuss how we can best help those in need of protection
and how we can send back those that aren't in a humane way.
And we have to find ways to improve the standard of living in the
countries of origin as otherwise any system we may come up with will
occasionally be overloaded.
Discussions help as there are no simple solutions. Racist resentments
against particular religions and/or ethnicities don't.
Jan, Mass, July 6
Europe is unlike the US, Canada and Australia in that they do not
share the tradition of taking in many millions of immigrants and
refugees. Nor do they have the same land mass and expanding cities as
we do. Europe will be destroyed if this continues unabated. And we're
not too far behind them either. Immigration must be strongly regulated
and this is the only thing that I agree about with Trump. Why should
we destroy ourselves too?
FunkyIrishman, member of the resistance, July 6
End the wars and the contribution from the west leading to corruption
and incompetence of governments or failed states, and then perhaps the
steady stream of refugees would slow down to a trickle or stop.
Just a thought.
Thomas Martin, West Lafayette, July 6
NYT: "But is this the Europe of its founders, or is it something
harsher, less optimistic and self-confident?"
Maybe a Europe that's getting a little bit serious about controlling
its external borders is "something harsher, less optimistic and
self-confident", but it's much less suicidal.
RC, MN, July 6
Populist: derogatory term for democratic; used when democratic
outcomes don't agree with the user's ideology.
John Jones, Cherry Hill NJ, July 6
ONE PROBLEM That has not been confronted in this sorry episode of
immigrants seeking asylum in the EU so they can survive, is the fact
that in the EU, birth rates are so low that there will not be enough
workers to pay for social programs to maintain their elders. The
ethnic groups that have the highest birth rate tend to be Muslim. So
the center of gravity, politically and ethnically, will eventually
shift, unless those who are already EU citizens increase the birth
rates. After WW Ii, Germany had to import large numbers of Gast
Arbiters, or "guest workers," mostly from Portugal and Turkey. Most
from Portugal eventually returned, while many from Turkey remained and
have lived in Germany for going on 4 generations now. Until the EU
countries confront the demographic shift toward majorities of Muslim
descent, they will find it extremely difficult to define immigration
policies, both at international, as well as national borders. The
ethnic center of gravity is shifting in Europe. Whether it continues
to shift at its current rate or at higher or lower rates will depend
upon the policy toward refugees and immigrants as well as the birth
rate of those who ethically represent majorities in respective EU
Gr in CH, Switzerland, July 6
Good point on the post-war Gastarbeiter history of Germany. Too bad
though, that Germany, not considering itself an Immigrant nation, let
second, 3rd etc. generations of Gastarbeiters un-integrated and
forming parallel societies, read: Ghettos. These troubles bring now
compounded by the most recent wave migration, at least in the minds of
many German voters.
Joe C, San Francisco, July 6
1) It's Gastarbeiter.
2) You can't have a continuously expanding population. If that is
required to continue generous social programs, then the programs
3) Demographics may be shifting in one direction now, but they can
shift (or can be made to shift) in the opposite direction. Europe has
a track record of doing this and it ain't so nice.
Ghost Dansing, New York, July 6
It would be interesting to get a projection of losses due to trade
constraint over, say, 10 years after national barriers are re-erected.
barb, canada, July 6
The use of fear has become an ever popular tool used by those seeking
to take power from the people. It seems democratic ideals are under
attack around the world. What price will we pay for the weaponizing of
fear and intolerance? Can democracy survive the attack?
WER, USA, July 6
Wasn't the Chancellor elected democratically? as well as all of the EU
representatives? Did I miss something?
Name, Here, July 6
Fear sells newspapers too. NYT would like us to be very afraid of
populism, but not so afraid of being overrun with non-assimilable
mlbex, California, July 6
I thought the whole idea to free movement was for people within the
EU, so for example a French citizen could travel to Belgium or Italy
without a visa or passport. Likewise, once someone came in with a
passport or visa, they could travel anywhere in Europe instead of
needing separate papers for each country.
I agree completely with Mr. Kurz: A Europe without internal borders
can only exist, he said, if it has functioning external borders.
The undeveloped world will generate more refugees than the developed
world can handle for the foreseeable future. We can't take all of
them; we must control the flow to a level that we can handle without
destabilizing our countries. The question should not be whether to
allow immigration or not, it should be how much immigration to allow.
When part of the polity wants it slowed down for whatever reasons,
that is a legitimate part of debate in a democratic society.
BJ, Utah, July 6
A Europe without internal borders can only exist, he said, if it
has functioning external borders.
Same with the U.S.
Honor senior, Cumberland, Md., July 6
Merkel has tried to change the basic tenents of the entire EU, to be
in accord with her radical socialist views! Without the quick
exclusion of the barbaric Islamic Horde from the EU, it will be doomed
forever, becoming another Mid-East landscape and a danger for all!
Iconoclast Texan, Houston, July 6
European leaders are finally coming to the realization that millions
of Muslims and Africans with little schooling possessing values
fundamentally at odds with that of the West pose a grave risk to their
countries. Legitimate asylum seekers are one thing, economic vagrants
who end up scamming generous welfare states strain resources and
create a backlash that allows for populists in power. Open borders are
bad for America and bad for Europe. Nations have every right to
protect the ethnic, religious and linguistic composition of their
Ellen Silbergeld, Baltimore, July 6
the notion that the EU is open to all is not the case. as i know when
arranging for a long sabbatical stay in Italy. I had to obtain a
Schengen visa through the Italian consulate, which took about a month
no hard feelings: the consul actually invited me into her office for a
shared espresso when i finally picked up my passport with the visa
Your article is misleading
paul, White Plains, NY, July 6
Even the far left socialists that comprise European government
bureaucrats today are forced to come to their senses when their
cultures and social safety net systems are overwhelmed by Muslim
immigration. Now maybe they will also be forced to listen to the will
and voices of their own citizens.
gpickard, Luxembourg, July 6
Mr. Kurz is correct. "No state or group of states can fail to protect
However, it is not humane to merely shove people back to war torn
countries. The key is to have an orderly process to review the plight
of each individual. This takes time and money and usually infers some
detention while such a review goes forward.
The issue for Europe, though not as urgent as it was, is still a
bubbling pot waiting to boil over with the next conflict in the Middle
East or Africa.
The US suffers from the same lack of procedure to effectively police
the borders and to process those who are fleeing persecution.
When migrants arrive and enter illegally this is not acceptable. There
is no other country on earth that allows such behavior.
It is difficult because I understand that many people are seeking a
better life for themselves and their families. I do not despise them
for breaking the law to enter a country better than their home
country, but it is still breaking the law.
It is like a man stealing bread to feed his family. You don't despise
such a man but we are not going to change the laws on theft to
Every immigrant must be willing to undergo vetting to seek asylum. If
you show up at the border without papers you should be prepared to
wait while you are processed.
If you cross a border illegally every country should have the right to
deport you immediately.
Sallie, NYC, July 6
As long as countries in Central America, the Middle East, and Northern
and Central Africa are unstable, people will leave and try to
immigrate to Europe, the U.S. and other wealthier countries.
Perhaps we need to start looking into helping these countries succeed
so people do not want to flee them. I know many in America and Europe
will say that helping these countries "isn't our problem", but it
We also need to take climate change seriously as the refugee crises
will only get worse and worse as more of this planet become
Norman, NYC, July 6
I agree. A good place to start would be for the US to not start wars
in the first place.
The US encouraged, supported and prolonged the Syrian war. Without us,
there would not have been a refugee crisis of such magnitude.
When Assad was our friend, I read many articles about how he was an
enlightened leader. When US policy turned, I read many articles abourt
how he was a brutal dictator. I'm willing to go with the brutal
dictator. But I think experience shows that any replacement would be
Name, Here, July 6
Maybe I'm crazy, but I don't think Africa is ever going to be as
attractive as the temperate zone.
PWR, Malverne, July 6
What appears to be instability may instead be a strategy of tyrants
and criminals to shed the excess and oppositionist populations of
those countries. Ironically, mass admission of refugees by the US and
EU countries is a safety valve that enables entities like the Assad
regime, the Taliban and the Central American gangs to operate the way