Sunday, November 28

Lacroix: Can walls stop migrants?

Like many countries in the Balkans and Central Europe that have erected barriers to prevent migrants from entering it, Poland announced the construction of a wall next December along the border with Belarus, a policy that is meant to reassure the majority of the country’s population.

La Croix newspaper said (The cross) French This wall, which is expected to extend for 180 km, is accompanied by anti-Islam rhetoric that plays on fear of terrorism and borrowed the concept of a besieged fortress, and opinion polls showed that more than 50% of Poles support the government’s policy of preventing anyone from crossing the border with Belarus. And most of them believe in the effectiveness of this promised solution in a short time, before the end of the first half of 2022, especially since the era of the “Iron Curtain” under communism is still not far away.

From the government’s point of view – as the newspaper says – it is about refusing to fall again as a victim of foreign forces and stressing the country’s independence, according to an official rhetoric that uses a lexicon of force and non-subjugation. This wall should also show that Poland can defend itself, despite European diplomacy’s efforts to resolve the issue with Minsk, Moscow or Ankara.

The wall does not prevent immigrants

However, the newspaper says that studies do not fully agree on the effectiveness of the wall, because measuring its effectiveness requires an evaluation of very complex matters, yet we can say that the wall does not prevent migrants because it is a physical building that is crossed in a very limited space, especially since the irregular border crossings are not Only a very small part of irregular migration depends mainly on the arrival of people in a valid situation, such as workers, family reunification parties, students and tourists who become irregular migrants by changing their status.

According to the French newspaper, the sharp increase in border crossings is usually associated with a crisis in a region from which people are trying to leave because of expulsion matters, or a country’s use of migratory flows to exert geopolitical pressure on its neighbors such as Belarus, and in these cases the influxes are often not migrants but asylum seekers , as was the case for Syrians in the Balkans during the 2015 crisis, when 75% of irregular European border crossings were related to refugees, mostly Syrians.

Increasing the cost of immigration

Although the walls are not effective against irregular immigration – as the newspaper says – they are effective against refugees who are seeking asylum in Europe if they can apply for it, and therefore these walls operate in a way that is inconsistent with Article 51 of the 1951 Convention, and poses a problem in international law.

In any case, it is rarely the wall that stops people, but rather the militarization of the border by placing armed forces against those trying to cross to emigrate, with an array of technological and border control devices outside and within countries, to track down, identify and deport those deemed irregular.

The newspaper concluded that this militarization increases the financial and human costs of migration with higher prices for smugglers and an increase in the number of deaths, as is the case in the Mediterranean or at the US-Mexico border.

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