Podcast: European Lessons for America’s Mass Migration Crisis

Parsing Immigration Policy, Episode 140

By Mark Krikorian and Todd Bensman on February 1, 2024

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This Week's episode of the Parsing Immigration Podcast offers key findings from a European field-research trip by Todd Bensman, the Center’s national security fellow. Bensman was a visiting fellow at the Budapest-based Migration Research Institute, and examined borders in Hungary, Slovenia, Poland, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Kosovo, North Macedonia, and Greece.

Bensman’s research revealed a resurgence of illegal human traffic along the “Western Balkan Route”, reminiscent of the 2015-2016 crisis. The 380,000 migrant detections in Europe during 2023 are merely suggestive of much larger undetected flows indicated by the nearly one million asylum claims also filed during that year. The trip also revealed the intense political debates among the European Union’s 27 members as they consider how to handle the rising challenge. Unfortunately, these debates have received little attention in the United States, where a U.S. border crisis is now entering its fourth year featuring many similar dynamics and policy factors. 

Conversely, Europe could learn from the U.S. experience. For example, the New Pact on Migration and Asylum, approved in December by EU members and the European Parliament, but not yet ratified, includes a regulation which would allow in all illegal-alien family units and unaccompanied minors almost without exception. This is the current policy in the U.S. under the Biden administration, and it has resulted in a strong pull factor attracting migrants to the southern border. 


Mark Krikorian is the Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies.


Todd Bensman is the Senior National Security Fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies.


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Intro Montage

Voices in the opening montage:

  • Sen. Barack Obama at a 2005 press conference.
  • Sen. John McCain in a 2010 election ad.
  • President Lyndon Johnson, upon signing the 1965 Immigration Act.
  • Booker T. Washington, reading in 1908 from his 1895 Atlanta Exposition speech.
  • Laraine Newman as a "Conehead" on SNL in 1977.
  • Hillary Clinton in a 2003 radio interview.
  • Cesar Chavez in a 1974 interview.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaking to reporters in 2019.
  • Prof. George Borjas in a 2016 C-SPAN appearance.
  • Sen. Jeff Sessions in 2008 comments on the Senate floor.
  • Charlton Heston in "Planet of the Apes".