Some significant news was released yesterday but it was no April Fool.
The European Commission agreed to reinforce its Border and Coast Guard with an additional 10,000 border guards.
You might think the move would be fuel for sceptical Leavers convinced that the EU project will suck up its members into a super state, despite the Commission’s reassurances that the plan will not ‘diminish national sovereignty’ or ‘replace national borders.’
Paradoxically, though, reinforcing the border “to respond to the common challenges Europe is facing in managing migration and borders” is a balm to anti-immigrant Brexiteers, and ultra-nationalist misogynists Salvini, Orbán, Kurz and – yes – Macron. While these men chase their individual populist ideologies, they all have in common a shared ‘other’: non-White Europeans.
“The standing corps will be able to carry out executive tasks such as identity checks and authorising or refusing entry – only with the agreement of the host Member”
Will they be qualified immigration advisers?
“The Agency will support return procedures in Member States, including by identifying non-EU nationals who have no right to stay, acquiring travel documents and collecting information necessary for the issuing of return decisions, as well as organise and finance return operations. ”
The Windrush scandal alone shows the flawed returns process of returns and in the UK Home Office. Which detention legislation will apply, and who will regulate it?
“The Agency will be able to launch joint operations and deploy staff to countries outside the EU and beyond the neighbouring countries in order to provide support on border and migration management”
In the middle of civil war, Libya is not a safe country, but no moves have been made to remove people from detention centres where ill-treatment is rife.
Mass movement of people is not ‘a challenge’, it’s a humanitarian crisis. Climate breakdown will exacerbate it to new levels.
For that reason, if we’re still in the EU, it’s vital we vote in the elections for candidates who can show humanity. All the while we’re still in, we should be telling our MEPs we won’t condone their disregard for human lives, and resist this other-ing ourselves. Whether we’re in or out of the EU, Farage, Rees-Mogg and Johson will ensure we’re allied with the worst of its parts, so let’s make sure the rest of us ally with the best.