It may seem paradoxical that while the number of migrants arriving in Europe has fallen by 90 percent from its 2015 peak, the refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos has grown into an unspeakable hell, where asylum seekers are driven to madness and suicide. Sadly, the horror of Camp Moria described by Patrick Kingsley of The Times this week is the price of the actions that have stemmed the flow of refugees.
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When the flood of refugees was at its high point, Camp Moria was basically a way station, one of the first stops for asylum seekers, many fleeing war in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, on their way to the European mainland. But as the European Union has responded to the crisis by closing internal borders and cutting deals with Turkey and African governments and warlords to slow the exodus, many of the migrants have become stranded where they first make landfall.
Though only about 23,000 refugees have reached the Greek islands this year, down from 850,000 in 2015, they must now wait at camps like Moria for as long as two years before they are either sent back or sent on.
The squalor and dangers of the camp are unlikely to draw criticism from President Trump, whose cynical efforts to curb legal and illegal immigration were highlighted by the decision announced last month to reduce next year’s refugee resettlement quota to 30,000, the lowest ever. As recently as 2016, the United States admitted 85,000 refugees.
Mar 22, 2019Find out how the aftermath of the refugee crisis is still upending politics across Europe—when you subscribe to World Politics Review (WPR). As the nationalist, anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats claimed their best result yet in Sweden’s parliamentary elections in September, the nation’s newspapers went bold with their headlines. “Chaos,” read the front pages, in all caps, […]
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