Borders are in the news as never before. After millions of young, Muslim, and mostly male refugees flooded into the European Union last year from the war-torn Middle East, a popular revolt arose against the so-called Schengen Area agreements, which give free rights of movement within Europe. The concurrent suspension of most E.U. external controls on immigration and asylum rendered the open-borders pact suddenly unworkable. The European masses are not racists, but they now apparently wish to accept Middle Eastern immigrants only to the degree that these newcomers arrive legally and promise to become European in values and outlook—protocols that the E.U. essentially discarded decades ago as intolerant. Europeans are relearning that the continent’s external borders mark off very different approaches to culture and society from what prevails in North Africa or the Middle East.
A similar crisis plays out in the United States, where President Barack Obama has renounced his former opposition to open borders and executive-order amnesties. Since 2012, the U.S. has basically ceased policing its southern border. The populist pushback against the opening of the border with Mexico gave rise to the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump—predicated on the candidate’s promise to build an impenetrable border wall—much as the flood of migrants into Germany fueled opposition to Chancellor Angela Merkel. Read more →