Fighting to defend Austria’s new refuge quotas, its Chancellor has hit at one of the foundational hypocrisies that shapes the European immigration crisis. Open Europe reports:
Relations between Vienna and Berlin have hit a new low over the migration crisis with Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann telling Kurier that Germany should “set up a daily quota, and then bring over these refugees directly from Greece, Turkey or Jordan.” He added, “Austria cannot, and must not, become a distribution hub” for refugees. German Chancellor Angela Merkel hit back saying, “Anyone who closes national borders is not addressing the causes of the refugee movement…We have to find sustainable solutions that we will still be able to justify in the future.”
Chancellor Faymann may just be acting politically to defend a policy that polls well, rather than having had a moral epiphany. But his comment cuts to the heart of the moral and intellectual hypocrisy of the “Refugees Welcome” policy: the pro-refugee factions, which see themselves as humanitarian paragons, have nonetheless managed to devise a program which in reality boils down to “if you survive the trip here, you’re welcome to stay.”
This is something we have been pointing out for at least a year. See for instance this post, written right after the death of Aylan Kurdi, the iconic “Boy on the Beach,” in September 2015:
Unless Europe deters crossings, large numbers of desperate people will keep taking to the Mediterranean in overcrowded, unsafe boats, often hoping to be rescued as much as to make land. Continuing passively to encourage those voyages through lax border enforcement is barbaric. If Europe wants to take in bigger numbers of refugees, it should send rescue ships or allow steamships and ferries to provide cheap transit from port to port. Either way, it has to deter the deadly, illegal crossings.
If you don’t want to use ships and ferries, then feel free to fly the refugees. A direct, one-way plane ticket from Istanbul to Berlin this Friday can be found for as little as $44. People smugglers, on the other hand, will charge between $800–$1300 (and up) for a seat on a rubber raft from Turkey to Greece. Then there’s the $335-435 charge to get between certain countries in the Balkans and southern Europe. And at each leg, there’s a chance of death—by drowning, by suffocating in a truck.
So if it’s true that “refugees welcome”, why not just let them fly? Because an increasingly restive German public would go ballistic—but also because even the supporters of Angela Merkel’s policies know that Germany does not have the means to house and feed, much less employ and integrate, the numbers that would then come. Yet until recently, speaking of restrictionism was taboo among the German and European elite; even now, movement toward embracing deterrence—toward sending real signals that the journey north won’t be worth it and so not to come—progresses only slowly and haltingly in Berlin and Brussels.
Right now, a series of do-gooder decisions have turned the journey from Syria and Africa to northern Europe into the Hunger Games. Is that really what moral policy looks like?