We’ve reported recently (on June 28, June 12, June 7, for example) about the sudden and rapid increase of African migrants illegally entering the United States. On July 10, columnist Betsy McGaughey, former lieutenant governor of New York, dedicated a New York Post column to that upsurge.
Noting the arrests of African migrants in large groups by the Border Patrol–116 in late May, 500 in one week in early June, 310 later that month–McGaughey quotes Raul L. Ortiz, chief patrol agent in the Del Rio Sector, to the effect that migrants “‘from around the world are traveling thousands of miles just to enter the United States illegally to exploit our immigration laws.'”
What has changed to trigger this increase?
For one thing, McGaughey writes, “Word is spreading worldwide. . .that the U.S. has an open southern border and an open checkbook. These migrants know that if they come with children and utter the word ‘asylum,’ they will be temporarily detained and then released inside the U.S. . . .”
And what factor, other than the lightning-quick spread of news, is at work?
“[T]he European Union has slammed the door on migrants,” McGaughey writes.
And so it has. According to the European Parliament website, “In 2015, 2.2 million people were found to be illegally present in the EU. By 2018, the number had dropped to just over 600,000.” The BBC reported last year that 2015 was the peak year for African arrivals in Europe, when a whopping 1,015,078 arrived. So far in 2019, only about 40,000.
Italy has seen the bulk of the migrants in Europe. In 2016, 180,000 arrived there; in 2017, that number was down to 119,000, and the number continues to drop. The Washington Post credits Italy’s populist government and far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, who has banned private rescue ships with migrants aboard from entering Italian waters.
In addition, a much-derided deal with Libya was struck by the EU in 2017, which promised funding and training of the Libyan coast guard in return for Libya’s intercepting North African migrants on the sea route to Europe.
The European Union and some populist national governments such as that of Italy have acted decisively to stem the influx into the continent from Africa. What has been the upshot?
The United States is the new destination of choice. “That’s why”–writes McGauhey–“many African migrants are heading to the U.S. They’re cobbling together airfare to Ecuador (which has a no-visa policy) and then trekking through Panama, north through Central America to the U.S. border.”
What does our government do in response? Right now, it calls up the city council of Portland, Maine, and tells them to get ready for more. Such is life in America in the 21st century.
For more see, the New York Post.