Belgian Senator and former Secretary-General of Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) Alain Destexhe has slammed “elites” for their handling of mass migration and the lack of debate on the long-term effects of migration.
The veteran Belgian politician, who was first elected in 1995, released a book entitled Immigration and Integration: Before It’s Too Late… last month, which sounds the alarm on integration problems and other issues stemming from the migrant crisis. Dr Destexhe discussed his book and explained his concerns in a recent interview with French newspaper Le Figaro.
Destexhe claims that Belgium, along with other countries like France, has “lost control” of immigration, saying: “About three-quarters of immigration, in Belgium as in France, is beyond the control of the country’s administrative authorities.
“This immigration, over which we have almost no control, comes either through family reunion [chain migration], through an asylum application, or illegally.”
“A large part of the immigrant population is not integrated, neither economically (it depends strongly on the social system), nor culturally, which is even more serious: they live according to value systems that are sometimes incompatible with our laws, our history, and our traditions,” he added.
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“Family reunion” is one of the major concerns for Destexhe, who noted that chain migration accounted for around half of the total immigration into Belgium. He also singled out Belgium’s formerly lax naturalisation laws that were changed in 2012, saying that they led to Brussels being nearly one-third “new Belgians”.
“I think it’s a world record,” he said.
On the topic of the “right of asylum,” Destexhe referred to the asylum process as a new “Eldorado” for migrants: “In Belgium, you have a system of free care, free education, a guaranteed income for society, effective police and justice: I use the word Eldorado.”
Focusing the blame for the 2015 migrant crisis solely on German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Destexhe said: “During the refugee crisis, I made a trip to Iran and Iraqi Kurdistan: the lives of refugees were not threatened! They lived in difficult conditions, it’s true, but they were not in danger.”
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“To say that they had to be welcomed because their life was threatened was a form of manipulation. We had to help them, it’s a certainty! But we had to do it on the spot, we did not have to let them come to Europe,” he explained.
Destexhe’s views are a stark contrast to the current leadership of Médecins Sans Frontières, which has been at the forefront of migrant ferry activity in the Mediterranean Sea and only cancelled their operations last month due to pressure from the populist Italian government and others.
The interview is also not the first time Destexhe has spoken out about mass migration. Last year, writing for Le Figaro, he again slammed the elites, saying they concealed demographic trends and changes, and blaming “the multiculturalist lobby which dominates universities, NGOs, public institutions and the media.”