Stem the Flow of Migrants

That’s what the EU is trying to persuade Turkey to do according to a Wall Street Journal article.

Before I get into that, there are a couple of points of clarification that are necessary. First, there is confusion on the part of the WSJ and/or the European Union leadership regarding who it is that’s traveling. Most of the present flow consists of refugees, not migrants; although there are certainly migrants in the mix, along with terrorists.

From that, it’s easy to see the moral distinction among the three concerning their “right” of entry into any nation of the EU or into the EU generally. Terrorists have no right to do anything but die. Migrants have no moral right to enter a nation that doesn’t want them—the nation is sovereign over its own territory; sovereignty is the purpose of borders. It’s a highly useful thing, from a mutual prosperity perspective, to permit an influx (and outflow) of migrants, but that utility is purely…utilitarian. There is a moral obligation to permit entry of refugees, but that entry cannot be without limits and controls: the receiving nation must be able to set the conditions under which the refugees can enter, under which they can stay, and for how long they can stay, or else the nation will be unable to handle those refugees in anything approaching a humane manner.

Within that, then, there’s this about the EU’s pushing Turkey to impose a metaphorical, if not physical, barrier on the flow of refugees (not “migrants”) at the Turkish borders.

In a draft statement to be adopted later on Monday, the [EU] leaders are set to tell migrants that the route north of Greece is completely closed, a move that without Turkey’s help will leave huge numbers of people trapped within the already overwhelmed country.

Here’s Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel:

There is only one possible solution: make sure the Schengen borders are perfectly hermetic against uncontrolled and illegal migrant flows[.]

Sure. And do what with them? The originating situation does not permit them to go back. Where they are cannot sustain them.

What the EU is proposing (instead?) makes little sense. They want Turkey to agree to take back refugees that have already made it into continental Europe (even Metropolitan Europe, to stretch an analogy), including Greece, and the EU will accept via direct transport (no harrowing and dangerous overland treks) “registered” refugees taken straight from UN-run camps in Turkey.

This raises a couple of questions. One is the nature of that registration: on what basis is the UN registering anybody, on what basis is the UN vetting anybody who’s being registered, on what basis do we even trust the UN to make a serious attempt at vetting? The other question concerns Turkey: the take backs and the direct-from-camp transports amount to little more than swaps of one population for another. How does this help Turkey deal humanely with the existing supply of millions of refugees already within its borders? There’s no easing of stress here.

Here’s an example of that stress, in one Turkish border town. Kilis sits within kilometers of the Syrian border and so is an early stop on refugees’ travels.

Home to about 100,000 Turks before the Syrian war, Kilis is straining from the arrival of more than 125,000 Syrians. The town’s water and sewage systems are struggling to cope. Schools are filled to capacity. Although Turkey is developing plans to build more classrooms, for now many Syrian children roam the streets, stay at home, or spend their days working in shops, cafes, and factories.

It’s been downhill from there, for the local Turks, for the refugees, for the nation of Turkey.

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