When it comes to illegal mass migration, it is almost impossible to successfully protect a thin border line stretching for hundreds and thousands of miles. Thousands of people—concentrating their efforts on short border sections—can easily overrun the equipment and guards, as has happened from the Spanish exclave of Ceuta to the small city of Yuma, Arizona.
Neighboring states are reluctant to deter people from crossing because they do not want to serve as a “parking lot” for illegal migrants, as Serbian president Aleksandar Vučić has said. It is much simpler for transit countries to simply let people go—a win-win situation both for the migrants and the transit country.
Similar patterns are visible not only in Europe, but also in Mexico, which—after the end of pressure and threats from the Trump administration—has begun refusing to permit Customs and Border Protection to expel families with children under the age of seven, citing a new law relating to the treatment of migrant children since the Biden administration took office.
Yet it is not only the “carrot and stick” policy—which does not save transit countries from becoming parking lots—that can bear fruit for both transit and destination countries. Providing support for transit countries’ own border protection to prevent aliens from entering can be more beneficial for all participants, likely in a cheaper manner than pure—and costly—blackmailing and bargaining. . . .