Oct 22, 2021
EU leaders seek to halt migrant crossings from Belarus
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BRUSSELS (AP) — European Union leaders met Friday to discuss migration to the bloc and how to stop the influx of refugees arriving via neighboring Belarus.
EU members Poland and Lithuania have been struggling to cope with an unusually high number of migrants arriving at their borders with Belarus in recent months.The EU is accusing President Alexander Lukashenko’s regime of using them to destabilize the 27-country bloc in retaliation for EU sanctions.
“We have to be decisive. We need decisions. We need actions and we should do this as soon as possible,” said Lithuanian president Gitanas Nauseda ahead of the talks.
Nauseda will be pushing for a review of the bloc’s legislation on migration policy to take into account the situation at the EU’s eastern borders. According to Lithuanian media, he will be seeking EU funding for a physical barrier on the Baltic country’s border with Belarus.
Other EU states have been thinking about building fences. Earlier this month, the Polish government approved a bill that would regulate the construction of a high barrier with motion sensors on the border with Belarus to deter people from crossing over.
Thousands of migrants have been lured to Belarus on tourist visas and encouraged to cross into Poland, Lithuania and to a lesser extent Latvia.
Several have died of exhaustion at the Polish-Belarusian border since August, when large numbers of people from Iraq, Iran, Syria and Afghanistan, but also from Africa, started trying to cross, hoping to eventually reach western European nations.
Germany said it has noticed an increase of illegal entries along the German-Polish border since August, registering about 4,500 such entries.
According to a draft of their meeting’s conclusions, EU leaders will agree that they won’t “accept any attempt by third countries to instrumentalize migrants for political purposes” and condemn “such hybrid attacks at the EU’s borders.”
Thousands of migrants have been lured to Belarus on tourist visas and encouraged to cross into Poland, Lithuania and to a lesser extent Latvia. Josep Borrell, the EU’s top diplomat, said leaders will also looked at ways to stop airlines carrying migrants to Belarus.
“We have to hold the Belarusian government accountable for these actions, but also to have a look at the airlines and travel operators who are cooperating with this way of using human beings as arms, pushing (them) against the border, creating situations in which there is an extraordinary violation of human rights,” he said.
The migration numbers began increasing a year ago after the EU slapped sanctions on Lukashenko’s government over the August 2020 presidential election, which the West views as rigged, and the security crackdown on the Belarusian opposition and peaceful protesters that followed.
Migration has been a sensitive and divisive topic since the arrival in Europe in 2015 of well over 1 million migrants, most of them refugees fleeing conflict in Syria. The exodus sparked one of the EU’s biggest political crises and member states have yet to find an agreement on a system that would guarantee shared responsibility for the new arrivals.
Raf Casert in Brussels and Mike Corder in The Hague, Netherlands, contributed to this story.
Copyright © 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.
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Commentary: Myths About a Border Crisis by Design and for Destruction
moreby Brian Lonergan
For decades Americans have witnessed the gradual disintegration of our southern border. It has angered a lot of people, but it hasn’t affected most people’s lives directly, so little has been done about it. Apart from a brief four-year law and order hiatus under Donald Trump, the fire has burned steadily and under current leadership is now an uncontrollable inferno. How did we get here?
We got here in part because the government and the corporate media have peddled a number of myths, also known as lies, to fool enough citizens that the border fire was under control. It is time to identify and debunk some of the biggest ones here.
Lie #1: The recent surges at the border are spontaneous events created by root causes in Latin American countries where people are fleeing persecution and violence.
One of the greatest benefits of our social media-obsessed, iPhone age is that, while lies can travel around the world overnight, they can be proven false just as quickly. The idea that border surges are grassroots events is a demonstrable lie.
Just this month, a whistleblower has come forth with details of a well-organized effort by a shadowy group of nonprofit organizations working with our government to transport, house, and distribute thousands of illegal aliens throughout the United States. Data has shown more than 70 percent of those seeking asylum claims are rejected, yet the current administration is releasing them into the country anyway.
Independent reporters at the border have exposed the lavishly financed efforts to bring migrants up from Central America into Texas. The operation allegedly involves the Mexican government, the United Nations, immigration lawyers, and non-government organizations who give migrant families debit cards loaded with $800 a month. Considering the numbers of people involved, that is a lot of debit cards and a lot of money. Where is it coming from? If only we had a watchdog media to investigate.
The border surges are not spontaneous. They are well-funded, highly organized events for a purpose you are not supposed to know.
Lie #2: Walls don’t work.
This is a popular bumper sticker slogan among the anti-borders Left, but it is not supported by statistics or common sense. Among the flood of supporting data is the fact that in the Yuma, Arizona sector alone, illegal entries in the area with a new border wall system dropped a staggering 87 percent from 2019 to 2020.
During the Trump wall-building effort, similar results were observable in the Rio Grande Valley sector, where no previous wall existed. There, apprehensions dropped 79 percent and narcotics seizures dropped 26 percent from the previous year. Homeland Security officials have repeatedly said that when walls go up, it forces human traffickers, drug smugglers and others to change their tactics, allowing Customs and Border Patrol to direct resources to other areas.
Thanks to the wall shrinking that gap for smugglers to exploit, DHS over a four-year period in the Trump era seized more than 4 million pounds of hard drugs like fentanyl, cocaine, and methamphetamine—almost double the annualized amount of drugs seized between 2009 and 2017. That progress came to an end when Biden canceled further wall construction.
The real proof of whether walls work is to look at where the loudest critics of a border wall live. Joe Biden recently had a taxpayer-funded wall erected around his Delaware beach house. In 2019 activists tried to speak with Nancy Pelosi at her Napa estate and were blocked by a wall around the mansion. The U.S. Capitol has remained surrounded by an ugly fence since January. Why are these elites and so many of their colleagues building walls around their homes and workplaces if they are not effective?
Lie #3: Politicians who encourage illegal migration are acting out of compassion.
The most effective shield for anti-borders politicians has been to assign compassion to their motives, and to accuse anyone who opposes them of cold-hearted bigotry against the less fortunate. To see what’s really going on, one need only look at a video of then-Vice President Biden in 2015. He gives a rare peek behind the curtain, speaking honestly about what he and his like-minded activists seek:
An unrelenting stream of immigration, nonstop. Nonstop. Folks like me who were Caucasian, of European descent, for the first time in 2017 we’ll be in an absolute minority in the United States of America, absolute minority. Fewer than 50 percent of the people in America, from then and on will be white European stock. That’s not a bad thing, that’s a source of our strength.
That may be just Biden’s trademark pandering to minority voters. It may be him trying to appease his radical fringe base. It sounds more like a creepy agenda to use eugenics for political advantage in a way that our elected leaders have neither the authority nor the public mandate to implement. Whatever it is, it is not compassion.
When politicians, media talking heads, and activists try to spread these and other myths, they need to be challenged vociferously on the facts. Their talking points all lead to one place: an America that is borderless, bankrupt and devoid of a brighter future.
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Brian Lonergan is an adjunct fellow of the Center for American Greatness and director of communications at the Immigration Reform Law Institute, a public interest law firm working to defend the rights and interests of the American people from the negative effects of mass migration.
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