We are in the midst of what many are calling the worst refugee crisis since World War II, yet refugees and asylum seekers around the world are facing increasingly harsh restrictions. The latest crackdown: German leaders have now announced plans to build a series of migrant detention camps (excuse me, “transit centers”) along its border with Austria.
Germany’s beleaguered chancellor Angela Merkel has faced a revolt from conservative and far-right nationalist parties over her relatively welcoming migration policies, and the border camps are part of a compromise hashed out to preserve her fragile governing coalition. Per the New York Times, “Newly arriving migrants would be screened in the centers, and any determined to have already applied for asylum elsewhere in the European Union would be turned back.”
It’s a far cry from 2015, when Germany welcomed more than one million asylum seekers, including hundreds of thousands of Syrians fleeing their war-torn homeland.
With the Trump administration having already slashed refugee admissions to record lows, far-right parties in Europe gaining traction by demonizing migrants, and even countries like South Korea now protesting the entry of relatively small numbers of asylum seekers, it’s clear that for those seeking refuge, doors that were once open are quickly closing.