Friday, September 30, 2005

The Problem at Ceuta and Melilla

The last few paragraphs of this story are what get to the root of the problem:
"Spain's leading daily El Pais said in an editorial Friday that long-term solutions must be sought to address the economic disparities between Europeans and Africans, which are propelling waves of immigrants in often deadly attempts to cross the continental borders at the two enclaves.

"'There is an immediate problem which has claimed eight mortal victims in a month and which demands urgent solutions,' it said.

"'But there is a more serious problem which can only be resolved over the long term which is the economic inequality between the African and European continents which turns the two Spanish cities in northern Africa into siphons for immigration,' the paper added."

One of the primary impressions my summer 2004 trip to Morocco left me with was the sheer economic inequality one observed crossing between Europe and North Africa, and then within Morocco between most actual Moroccans and the Western tourists. For one example, read this, and there's more here. (While I'm in the neighborhood, you might also be interested in these observations about how for some people getting across borders is almost too easy.) The advantages of leaving are just too great - I don't know about Europe, but in the United States the minimum hourly wage is almost twice the average daily wage in Morocco, and when you get into sub-Saharan Africa the economic situation grows even bleaker. While nations should do everything they can to control their borders for security reasons of nothing else, the issue won't go away until these underlying economic issues are addressed. The problem, of course, is that "make Africa prosperous" isn't much of a policy suggestion.

(Crossposted to Liberals Against Terrorism.)


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