New figures put Europe’s immigration crisis in stark relief. As Reuters reports:
Frontex said it recorded some 107,500 people arriving outside regular channels in July, after a previous record in June of over 70,000, and more than three times as many as July last year.The most active frontiers were those of the Greek islands in the Aegean off Turkey, where nearly 50,000 people were recorded arriving by sea, mainly on Lesbos, Chios, Samos and Kos.[..]Nearly 340,000 such migrants were seen so far this year arriving in the EU, mainly in Italy, Greece and Hungary. That was a 175 percent rise on the same period last year and much more than the 280,000 registered arrivals in all of 2014.
Of course, illegal immigration figures, in Europe and elsewhere, are hard to pin down. So there are other figures, too—none of them particularly encouraging:
Other EU data shows 625,920 people claimed asylum in the bloc last year. Frontex officials were not immediately available to comment on how far the increase in numbers being detected may be a result of increased monitoring of the frontiers.In Germany alone, which recorded 203,000 claims last year, officials said on Tuesday they expect to register some 750,000 refugees this year.
For a continent that doesn’t have a long history of successful accommodation of mass immigration, nor a functioning legal and policy framework with which to confront this crisis, these are big numbers. To make matters worse, the points where this crisis are most acute—Italy, Hungary, and Greece in particular—are some of the members of the Union least able to handle it right now. Meanwhile, as we wrote yesterday, many of the migrants are fleeing Western policy failures (Syria, Libya), and their plight is one that should weigh on our consciences.The biggest take-away from the new numbers, meanwhile, is probably this: the crisis is growing, in both relative and absolute terms, and the longer Europe delays finding a workable solution (which would likely include elements of redistribution but also serious border enforcement and foreign aid), the bigger and more difficult the challenge will be.