Nowhere to Go

How Governments in the Americas Are Bungling the Migration Crisis

On the road again: a caravan of migrants from Arriaga, Mexico, October 2018 Ueslei Marcelino / Reuters

In 2015, over 1.2 million asylum seekers arrived in the European Union. They were fleeing war zones in Afghanistan, South Sudan, and Syria; economic deprivation in Nigeria and Pakistan; and political instability in Somalia. The largest group came across the Aegean Sea; many of them reached European territory in Greece and then made their way to Germany. Others crossed the Mediterranean on rickety, overloaded boats or traversed the Bosporus, the Dardanelles, or the Gibraltar strait. Politicians and journalists labeled the situation a “crisis” to reflect its unprecedented scale. But this was not a crisis of numbers. It was a crisis of politics. European leaders initially resorted to unilateral, quick-fix solutions. German Chancellor Angela Merkel implemented a short-lived open-border policy. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban built a razor-wire fence. Other countries sought to accommodate, sequester, or cast out the migrants—mostly to no avail. The human consequences were devastating: over 10,000 people have drowned

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