“A nation that cannot control its borders is not a nation.” ― Ronald Reagan
European Union (EU) countries which constructed border fences in response to the migrant crisis have seen a collapse in illegal migration, while unprotected states have seen it increase.
Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, reported drastic falls in illegal immigration for countries which have constructed border defences in its Risk Analysis for 2017.
Hungary, which led the charge on strong borders, was able to cut illegal crossings from Serbia to 25,000 – a massive drop from the 2015 high of 200,000.
Neighbouring Croatia condemned Hungary’s robust stance at the time, with then Prime Minister Zoran Milanović promising his country would not follow suit.
“We are ready to accept and direct those people,” he said, adding that “barbed wire in Europe in the 21st century is not an answer, it’s a threat”.
Just days later, however, Milanović completely reversed his stance, the country having been inundated with thousands of migrants.
“We cannot register and accommodate these people any longer,” he said. “They will get food, water and medical help, and then they can move on. The European Union must know that Croatia will not become a migrant ‘hotspot’. We have hearts, but we also have heads.”
Croatia quietly joined Hungary in constructing what Frontex describes as “a technical obstacle” along its Serbian border. As a consequence, illegal migration via this route plummetted from 500,000 in 2015 to just 100,000 in 2016.
The clear pattern which emerges from the risk analysis is that, as one country institutes strong border controls, neighbouring countries which remain lax see a corresponding increase in illegal migration.