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Texas and Melilla: The failure of immigration policies

Two tragic events occurred in the past week due to the inability of the United States and the European Union to accept refugees and asylum seekers who have fled their home countries.

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Texas and Melilla: The failure of immigration policies

Two tragic events occurred in the past week due to the inability of the United States and the European Union to accept refugees and asylum seekers who have fled their home countries. The tragic events at the border between Nador, Melilla and Texas in Morocco are a stark reminder of the failures of security-based immigration policies and the need for them to be rethought.

The coordinated actions of the Spanish police force and the Moroccan Gendarmerie resulted last Friday in the deaths of 37 people. Photos and videos show bodies covered in blood, migrants being beaten by Moroccan security forces, and the Spanish Civil Guard using gas against those trying to climb the Melilla entrance fence. There are also images showing how aid was denied to the injured. agonizing.

These events are a tragic increase in persecution they endure in Nador. Emigrants from Nador were denied access to medicine and health care due to agreements between Morocco and the European Union to encourage Moroccan forces to stop the flow of migrants to Europe. Their camps were burned, their property was looted, and even their food and water confiscated.

Migrants detained by the Moroccan judicial Police in Nador (Morocco), near the fence with Melilla, Spain on June 25, 2022. TW / Moroccan Association for Human Rights

Although Texas's events are far away geographically, they are tragically close to explanation. Three days after the events at Melilla, authorities in San Antonio (USA) reported that 50 bodies were found in a trailer. On a day of 40 degree temperatures, at least 22 Mexicans, 7 Guatemalans, and 2 Hondurans tried to enter the United States were left without food and water in a trailer that was without air conditioning.

The United States has been pursuing a series of policies known as "prevention through discouragement" over the past 30 years. These policies are designed to make irregular migration more dangerous and punitive than it is now. It has also closed legal pathways to migration and cut off access to asylum.

Flowers in front of a spontaneous altar to pay tribute to fifty migrants who were killed in a truck in San Antonio, Texas. / Shutterstock / Jinitzail Hernandez

These tragic events have prompted condemnations from the United Nations as well as various human rights organizations including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International, calling for an independent investigation into Spain's and the United States' responsibilities in these deaths. They also demanded that all states involved treat all migrants with dignity, and prioritise the protection of human rights.

Institutional racism has been defined as the fact that the Ukrainian population is welcomed in both countries while the Central American or African population is treated with suspicion.

The President of Spain, Pedro Sanchez and the President United States, Joe Biden were primarily accused of being responsible for these events. However, it is true that in recent decades, the policy of turning blind eyes to very serious human rights violations across its borders has been common without any proposals to fix them other than strengthening police cooperation.

Sanchez's will to quickly change the page was so strong that he described what occurred at the Mellilla border in Mellilla as a "well-resolved issue", generating a torrent of criticism about Sanchez's lack of empathy for the victims of the tragedy. Later, he admitted that he hadn't seen footage of the incident when he said those words.

This week's deaths are the result of both the border externalization and deterrence policies that both countries have in place. The truth is, these measures, despite their harshness and lack of empathy towards the most vulnerable people on the planet, are not effective in controlling migratory flows. The increasing number of migrants crossing the US and European borders is a result of wars, climate change and inability to feed their families.

This week's darkest days are a reminder of how important it is to rethink deterrence policies and promote safe routes.

This article was published in "The Conversation".

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