Statelessness and rightlessness is the most challenging question of 21st century and Hannah Arendt was more than right in her analysis which may be found in the Origins of Totalitarianism the chapter on Perplexities of the Rights of Man. She wrote: “Their plight is not they are not equal before law, but that no law exists for them; not that they are oppressed but nobody wants to oppress them.“
How this applies to the current situation and especially to US and EU immigration policies and why there is a substantive difference between both.
Trump is ultrapopulist and that is clear. The latest executive ban on immigration portrayed that. Trump signed and promoted this ban, even though knowing or at least the circle around him being aware that this can undergo judicial review and thus might be halted. In that sense, US is still democracy because has judiciary with integrity who can place under scrutiny the decisions of the President himself. Despite the fact that this ban is discriminatory and arbitrary to its core, the judiciary had a saying on its apparently illegal and illegitimate nature, thus suspending it temporarily while other legal measures are being examined for preventing this ultrapopulist step.
However, on the other side of the Atlantic things aren’t smooth at all. For more than four years now I claim that EU is becoming more and more xenophobic and nationalistic. I find more hypocritical and therefore dangerous of Trump’s ultrapopulism EU’s conduct in relation to the growing number of refugees. Why I say this?
The utmost danger with EU is that it hasn’t introduced such a ban overtly but covertly, while acting under cover and pretext of values and ideals of unity and etc. The other day I had an argument with the AFP editor for Central America. He was with fiercely claiming that EU is still based on solidarity and values. On the other hand, I was with intense reluctance claiming that EU is xenophobic and nationalistic like never before. And I will point out why.
The most obvious example is the EU-Turkey agreement on resettlement of irregular migrants (no definition what this entails) which was agreed in March 2016 behind closed doors. Basically EU is paying to Turkey to settle the so-called “irregular migrants”. There two very problematic aspects of this agreement. One in terms of legal qualifications, and second the context itself which reinforces its illegality and illegitimacy.
This agreement exists in form of a statement which is very unclear and obscure in terms of legal criteria and timeline of application. Apart of i illegality of such an agreement, taking into consideration the overall context makes it not only illegal but illegitimate as well. Turkey reperesents de facto and de jure autocracy (with indeterminate derogation of minimum human rights guarantees), this was apparent even when the agreement was agreed upon, and nowadays even more clear. Turkey or its government is constantly oppressing and suppressing its own citizens through various measures and actions. This in continuity entails arbitrary curtailment of right to life, illegal detentions, torture, severe restrictions of freedom of speech and movement and many others serious and massive violations of human rights. In that sense, how the “irregular migrants” find safety or safe haven in Turkey when the whole country and majority of its citizens (pro-democratic) is in terror and control is not quite clear. Is it EU outright financing the most apparent autocracy and is EU breaching the absolute principle of “non-refoulment”, is something that European Court of Justice or European Court on Human Rights should answer but they are all silent.