Migrants who arrived in Europe aboard Aquarius are not refugees but queue-jumpers
I refer to the letter from Dennis Fitzgerald (“Italy won no ‘victory’ in turning away desperate migrants”, June 17), about the 630 “migrants” recently arrived in Spain.
They were rescued close to the coast of Libya, by the NGO search and rescue ship Aquarius, and were among hundreds of others regularly pushed off in unseaworthy craft by North African traffickers. But such operations by NGOs, well-meaning as they may be, only serve to encourage ever more illegal migration.
No one – no government or NGO – is calling these 629 or so migrants “refugees”. They are labelled “migrants”, and sometime termed, more precisely and more correctly, “illegal migrants” or “undocumented migrants”. They are not, however, refugees.
In paying human traffickers to cross the Mediterranean, these migrants are trying to jump the queue of other would-be migrants to Europe.
There are laws on migration to Europe. These laws can either be enforced or simply done away with. If abrogated, we must ask: is Europe to be the destination of every poor person in the world? Maybe so, but only when that’s been agreed to by the existing population in Europe, the resident population whose human rights must also be protected.
Such abrogation must not be a unilateral decision by NGOs, no matter how well-meaning and self-righteous.
Peter Forsythe, Discovery Bay