In response to growing anti-immigrant sentiment, blockades, and protests, Britain’s new PM Theresa May detailed her government’s position on this controversial and divisive issue at a United Nations Summit On Immigration held recently in New York.
In her remarks, May bemoaned that the UK is underfunded in its efforts to control migration. She also pleaded for international cooperation in the post-Brexit era.
If we have to identify her main arguments, however, it could be argued that May’s speech centered on two key points:
1) A distinction needs to be made between economic immigrants and political refugees.
2) Economic migration needs to be more tightly controlled, while political refugees should seek asylum in the first “safe” country that they end up in.
Thus it appears that the Prime Minister is calling upon fellow European leaders for cooperation and help in sharing the burden caused by the astronomical wave of immigration to Europe.
Of course, asking others to share in the responsibility of managing the immigration crisis is reasonable in theory, but are these suggestions practical?
The Horse Horse Theory
The staunchest critics of immigration would argue that it’s not just political refugees and economic migrants who are flooding into Europe in uncountable numbers (nobody knows exactly how many there are).
Many believe that aside from those yearning to end up in Europe so they can improve their livelihoods and/or find safety, there are others who want to ride the wave of migration into Europe for the sole purpose of carrying out brutal acts of Islamic terrorism. Whether or not this ‘Trojan Horse’ theory of Jihadists hiding out among the innocents points to a widespread conspiracy or not, it is a very popular one among right wing analysts who argue for far stricter controls of immigration. In their podcasts and videos you will often hear them use the Quranic term “hiraj”, which can be interpreted as migration for the purposes of extending Islam’s grip to other lands.
Is Anywhere In Europe Safe For Immigrants?
As for the second of May’s three points, is it reasonable to expect that immigrants feel safe enough to apply for asylum in countries such as Greece, Hungary, Croatia, Germany, France, Italy, and others?
Countries all across Europe have their own economic problems, and immigrants are seen as threatening and parasitic by nationals who are dismayed by the lack of opportunities in their countries of origin. Perhaps nowhere has this manifested itself more clearly than in Greece, where the neo-fascist political party Golden Dawn has become immensely popular, and party sympathizers routinely engage in large scale organized acts of violence against immigrants and non-Greeks.