The refugees are just the latest wave to leave Africa.
The Mass Migration Continues
For months, Africans have been landing at the Italian island of Lampedusa, which was swamped with refugees earlier this year when more than 5,000 Libyans and Tunisians showed up in boats. They fled Libya after the rebellion began and Tunisia after that country’s government fell.
But more and more kept arriving. The migrants trashed the island and created such a crisis that Italian authorities began transporting them to mainland Italy. Then, because Italy issued them temporary visas, they began fanning out across Europe.
That created tensions with France, which stopped a trainload of migrants at its border.
Such is the consternation that the European Union is considering stiffening border controls to permit its members a measure of security at their frontiers.
Travel across European borders is virtually uninhibited because of the Schengen Agreement, which permits free travel between its 25 signatory nations. The EU will discuss border control at a meeting on June 24. The Schengen Agreement, as well as the EU itself, may be unraveling with the latest refugee crisis.
Such was the deluge of Africans at Lampedusa that it wasn’t long before Africans outnumbered the native inhabitants by four to one. Officials called the migration an exodus of biblical proportions; about 25,000 Africans have landed so far at the tiny island.
When rebels in Libya began threatening the regime of strongman Moammar Gadhafi, Italy’s Foreign Minister predicted a wave of some 800,000 refugees if Ghadafi’s government fell. Gadhafi has long been a bulwark against immigration from Africa to Europe.
Merkel Says No to Certain Migrants
Apropos of the seemingly unstoppable fleet of illegals swamping European shores, according to Germany's international broadcaster Deutche-Welle, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has declared that her country will continue deporting “economic migrants.” On Saturday, she “said that on humanitarian grounds Germany would accept refugees arriving from countries where there was evidence of political persecution — such as Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.”
However, the chancellor said the country had no responsibility for those arriving from countries such as Tunisia — where a ruling dictatorship had been toppled.
"That cannot be the way," she said.
Tens of thousands of migrants from North Africa have sought to enter the EU following a wave of popular uprisings in Arab countries that has already toppled two long-term leaders. Many of them are economic migrants who do not qualify to stay in the EU.
At the meeting, Merkel complained that Italy had accepted just 6,000 refugees who were seeking asylum for a legitimate reason. Presumably, the horde that swamped Lampedusa from January through March would not qualify.
Merkel, with British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, has declared multiculturalism a failure.
Photo: AP Images