Only Tough Love Can Prevent More Deaths in the Mediterranean

By John Zmirak Published on April 25, 2015

Thousands of people risk their lives each year trying to cross the Mediterranean to get from North Africa to southern Italy. Most are not genuine refugees from overt persecution, but economic migrants relocating from dysfunctional Islamic societies, trying to move to First World countries with elaborate, expensive public welfare systems.

The overwhelming majority of these people are Muslims, fleeing to a continent that already has an enormous, intractable problem with radical Islam. That problem was not home-grown but imported: Millions of Muslims were welcomed in the 1970s and 80s as cheap labor, and they decided to put down roots and stay. They chose not to assimilate to the post-Christian, soulless culture of contemporary Europe, but to cling to their religious roots.

In fact, while migrants themselves were often grateful to escape grinding poverty in places like Algeria, their children and grandchildren grew up in overly generous European welfare states, where multiculturalist teachers and radical imams told them that they were not beneficiaries but victims. Many internalized this message, and became committed Islamists. Millions of others are simply disaffected, unemployed and living on public assistance. This is the Europe to which today’s Muslims immigrate.

Recent months have seen appalling tragic events which only highlight the danger that this refugee influx poses to life, public order and religious freedom in Europe. We’ve all read about a recent, heartbreaking incident where hundreds of refugees drowned when the captain of their people-smuggling ship deliberately sank it. In another incident, the Muslim “refugees” identified the few Christians on their boat, and threw them overboard. Does Europe need millions more people formed by such a culture living in its midst? Is that prudent? Is it fair to the poor people already struggling in Europe?

We have heard the hand-wringing pleas from clerics and professional humanitarians around the world, blaming the European countries for presuming to try to control their own borders. But they seem indifferent to the likely consequences of open borders in Europe. Civilization is not a suicide pact. Europeans have the right to preserve themselves from an unending influx of economic migrants from nations made chaotic by the toxic influence of Islam, a toxic influence that is easily exported.

The needed policy is stark, simple and hard for politicians to state outright: return migrants who land in Europe immediately to their countries of origin. “Refugees” who cannot prove political or religious persecution should not be permitted to stay in Europe. This ironclad policy needs to be made widely known in the “sending” countries. This is not cruelty or false compassion, but realism and tough love. People considering endangering their families on rickety boats need to know that it won’t pay off, that the best outcome they’ll face is a safe return trip to Tunisia or Libya.

As Dan Cadman of the Center for Immigration Studies writes:

What EU officials in their calculations failed to grasp is that there is only one thing likely to make intended migrants sit up and take notice: inability to reach their destination. The only sure antidote to mass migration is rapid repatriation, or at least denial of landing. Yet, in both of the scenarios played out as EU “strategies” one can see no evidence of a recognition of that point, or any intent to frustrate the goal by ensuring that these migrants don’t reach land. In the 1990s, after years of similar events off Florida’s coastline, the U.S. developed its interdiction and landing denial capabilities, even using the naval base at Guantanamo to house migrants in large numbers. Similarly, Australia has dealt with its boat people crisis by negotiating with other nations to take them when interdicted by Australian naval and coast guard officials. Although in each case the governments involved were roundly criticized by migrant assistance groups, both actions were effective in abating, if not halting, the flows.

The BBC now reports that the EU has developed a 10-point plan in response to the crisis. If that plan doesn’t include some recognition that the only thing that will alleviate the huge numbers of individuals putting themselves (and sometimes their minor children) at risk is to frustrate their goal of reaching Europe, then it’s destined to failure.

We live in a fallen world where there are often no easy solutions. We may simply not have it in our power to remake the Middle East or Northern Africa in the image of Western liberal democracies. And we’ve made serious mistakes in trying. In Libya, for instance, the overthrow of Qaddafi clearly made things worse, not better. But we should at least avoid policies that will further destabilize Europe and lead more refugees to be swallowed by the wine-dark sea. False compassion in such hard cases can be deadly, for individuals and for nations.

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