Poland’s Border Shapes the Future of Migration

by Daniel Pipes
November 24, 2021

„The troubling scene along Poland’s border with Belarus turned the problem of illegal migrants into political ammunition. It changed attitudes with likely long-term implications for immigration to Europe.

Immigration has become an ever-growing, impassioned issue that divides Europeans. Broadly speaking, the Establishment (what I call the 6Ps: the police, politicians, press, priests, professors and prosecutors) welcome immigration, legal or not, as a source of vitality for an increasingly aging continent, an engine of multicultural diversity and a way for former imperialists to assuage their consciences. In contrast, a growing body of dissidents sees immigration as a source of crime and disease, a challenge to traditions and a civilizational threat.

This debate peaked in 2015-16, when Angela Merkel, the powerful chancellor of Germany, unilaterally opened her country’s borders to migrants, dragging much of Europe with her. As illegals became legals, the split in attitudes among Europeans became more intense, with a Willkommenskultur—or welcoming culture—emerging in Germany even as fences went up around Hungary.

And in mid-2021, the dictator of Belarus, Aleksandr Lukashenko, perhaps with Turkish assistance, came up with a clever idea. To reverse European Union (EU) economic sanctions imposed on him in retaliation for a cooked election, he jacked up visa charges, invited one and all from around the world to fly legally to his country and be bussed to the border with his EU member neighbors: Poland, Lithuania, or Latvia. Once there, the estimated 7,000 migrants—primarily but not exclusively Muslims from the Middle East—rushed the razor-wire fence, sometimes wielding Belarus-supplied wire cutters, sometimes pushed into it by Belarus forces, and hurled debris, stones and stun grenades at Polish police.“ (…)


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