Europe experiences an increase in illegal migration, 59% more than in 2020 so far

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The European Union has seen a dramatic increase in illegal migration at its external borders in recent months, with a 59% increase from 2020 so far.

Frontex, the European Union’s border and coast guard agency, reported that there were 17,300 illegal border crossings in July, 33% more than in July 2020, and an slight increase from June, when 14,600 illegal crossings were detected.

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Overall, there were 82,000 illegal crossings in the first seven months of 2021, more than 59% more than the same period in 2020.

One of the biggest increases was seen on the Central Mediterranean route. While the 7,600 crossings in July were in line with July 2020, overall there were 30,000 crossings in 2021, a 96% increase over the same period last year. The majority of migrants came from Tunisia, Bangladesh and Egypt.

On the West African route, there were 7,350 crossings, an increase of 130% over last year, when most migrants came from sub-Saharan countries.

On the route to the Western Balkans, there were 3,600 detections in July, an increase of 67% compared to July last year and 90% compared to last year. The EU agency noted that the majority of these migrants came from Syria and Afghanistan.

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The only area where crossings have decreased is the Eastern Mediterranean, where there has been a 33% decrease in border crossings.

The continent was hit hard by a migration crisis in 2015, after a wave of migration from Syria and beyond, crushing resources and governments. The crisis ultimately led to an increase in border security measures across the continent and is believed to have contributed to the political victories of a number of right-wing parties and causes in the following years.

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Reuters reported this week that a number of EU states are concerned about the current crisis in Afghanistan, where the Taliban has captured large swathes of territory following the US withdrawal, and fear that this could lead to another wave of migration – and another migration crisis in Europe.

Such a wave would echo the crisis seen in the United States, where there has been a dramatic spike in encounters with migrants which has led the Biden administration to declare the number of people seen at the border to be “unsustainable.”

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