Apres Calais: The migrant cluster is dispersed; problem remains

The Europeans — in particular the French and British — continue to labor mightily with the major problem that migrants from the wars of the Middle East and of poverty in Africa pose for them. A million came in 2015.

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The Europeans — in particular the French and British — continue to labor mightily with the major problem that migrants from the wars of the Middle East and of poverty in Africa pose for them. A million came in 2015.

Some 6,000 of them clustered in Calais, a city in France on the English Channel, close to the United Kingdom. Their goal was not to settle in France, but to be as well-positioned as possible to seek asylum in the U.K. This they wanted for a variety of reasons. Some of them speak English. The U.K.’s job market is considered relatively welcoming. The benefits it offers immigrants are attractive. The British are not as xenophobic as some of the Continental Europeans, even though anti-immigrant sentiment was one of the driving forces in the British vote in June to leave the European Union.

Nonetheless, the large group of potential immigrants gathered at Calais was a problem for the French and the British. The area of Calais where they gathered picked up the unfortunate name, “The Jungle.” The British and French, working with the humanitarian relief organizations, are now in the process of resolving the problem, to their credit. The British will admit hundreds of unaccompanied minors — that is to say, children who have fled without their parents. The French will take the rest, at least for consideration to be granted asylum status.

The French are in the process of busing this much larger group from Calais to more than 80 points across France, in order not to burden any one French city or region with a disproportionate number of migrants, a wise policy in terms of integrating them successfully.

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The American government’s response has been less inspiring — slower, and less generous in the number of migrants Washington has agreed to take. The U.S. has taken this dilatory approach in the name of security, in spite of the fact that the wars driving the migration are in no small part products of American military intervention, in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.

— Pittsburgh Post-Gazette