By Julia Dake
Up until this past week, I’m sure many Americans weren’t very concerned with the European migration crisis, viewing it as strictly Europe’s problem, and nothing more. Then the haunting image of a drowned Syrian toddler made its way through social media, prompting a bigger discussion on immigrants to the European Union (EU).
These people come from a variety of countries, across three different continents. Though people become refugees for any number of reasons, the goal of finding a safe haven remains the same regardless of the country of origin. People can legally enter the EU under the guise of seeking asylum, while migrant workers must apply for the proper legal documents. This becomes quite a gray area when dealing with people coming into the EU, because there tends to be a bit of overlap.
This summer, the EU saw a large increase in the numbers of migrants entering. This was caused by lax laws on asylum in countries like Macedonia and Germany, and cheaper fares from Turkey to countries accepting refugees. The EU has responded to this issue by proposing a “safe countries list,” which would cause the deportation of thousands of migrants. In the meantime, Europe is faced with a crisis that has morphed into a tragedy, rather than a simple immigration debate.
In the month of August alone, 105 people perished in boating accidents on the Mediterranean while attempting to reach Europe. The viral photo of a young Syrian boy found on a Turkish coastline is just one of many victims.
Migrants aren’t exactly safe upon entering the EU either. On Aug. 27, the bodies of 71 migrants were found in a truck on the Ost Autobahn, a roadway just south of Vienna. This highway is the main entrance for migrants from Hungary, and throughout September, the highway has been closed to prevent any traffic between the two countries.
I believe the immigration crisis can be handled with a smarter visa system, but the human smuggling that’s takin g place may be a bit more of a challenge. People are perishing during transport to the EU. They pay to be crammed into a boat or truck, sometimes with catastrophic results. People sneaking migrants into the EU aren’t doing this out of the goodness of their hearts, but for a profit. Mechanical malfunctions and poor conditions are causing a great amount of death, sometimes with zero penalties for the smugglers.
As long as the EU keeps an ambiguous immigration policy and a lax crackdown on smugglers, the death toll will continue to rise.