Europe’s most fortified border is in Africa

Europe’s most fortified border is in Africa


If you zoom in to Morocco, you’ll see a
tiny wedge of land that stands out from its surroundings. This little bit of land
is surrounded by one of the most fortified borders on the planet. Right outside the border you’ll find makeshift forest camps, where people spend their
days and nights evading the police and preparing to rush the border, usually in
large groups, with hopes of jumping over and stepping foot on this land. This peculiar scene plays out because
this piece of land, while in the continent of Africa, is actually a piece
of Europe. This small piece of land is called Melilla.
It’s one of two Spanish enclaves in Morocco, marking the only borders that
Europe shares with the continent of Africa. Spain conquered Melilla in the late
1400s as part of its rapid global expansion. This region of northern Africa
changed hands many times over the following decades, but Spain kept hold of
Melilla. Even in 1956, when the colonial period was winding down and great powers
were ceding their colonies, Morocco had just declared independence, but even then
Spain held onto its enclave. Today, around 86,000 people live in Melilla
and when you’re there you might as well be in mainland Spain. The city is
designed with the distinctive Spanish architectural style and residents speak
Spanish. They pay in Euros. You’re only reminded that you’re not in mainland
Europe when you walk to the peripheries of this city, to find one of the most
fortified border walls on the planet. A seven mile barrier with layers of
protection The first layer is a 20-foot metal fence,
followed by a second fence with a flexible top, which makes it harder to
climb. Below this second fence you have barbed wire netting, strong and dense
webs, then comes another taller fence with a flexible top section and more
barbed wire. Then you’re on the Moroccan side where, you have a 6.5
foot ditch and then a double fence with you guessed it, more barbed wire. There
are lookout posts and every inch of the border is monitored by video
surveillance. To understand why this barrier exists, you have to cross over
into the Moroccan town of Nador and then into the forest in the hills
surrounding the enclave. These migrants are mostly from
sub-Saharan Africa and they all have different motives for leaving their
homelands. They gather in these camps and plan for the day when they’ll try to
cross into Melilla. In response to this intense security, the migrants have developed a technique that relies on
overpowering the border guards with strength of numbers. The groups range in
size, but are nearly always in the hundreds. Most get caught right away on
the Moroccan side where they face border agents who are not shy about using force.
Those who make it past the first few layers, onto the Spanish section of the
barrier are also thrown back immediately or detained, but because of their large
numbers a few will inevitably slip past the guards. As soon as they put their
feet on the ground in Melilla, they are technically in Europe and are guaranteed
certain protections under European Union law. But they still have to run a hundred
meters to an immigration center, where they can be taken in and given
protection from immediate deportation. Arrivals to these enclaves came to a
head in 2014, when Spain decided it was finally time to double down on its
effort to fortify this border. This was mainly in response to the influx of
migrants attempting to get into Europe, fleeing from conflicts in Africa and the
Middle East. “Biggest wave refugees in modern history” “hundreds of thousands of refugees” “fleeing brutal violence in the Middle
East” “cross over European borders by the
hundreds of thousands” “in overcrowded boats, many drowning along the way” Spain’s response to this migration crisis was to focus on the borders of
its enclaves in Africa, redoubling the efforts to keep migrants out of this
little slice of Europe. The year after the 2014 migration crisis, attempts to
jump the fence dropped by 67%. Spain didn’t make these numbers drop on their
own. One of the things you’ll notice when you look at this wall, is that Moroccan
military and police are also guarding this border. The year of the migration
crisis, Morocco built these two extra layers of barbed wire fencing. “But authorities say dense new anticlimb mesh stopped the latest to make the attempt
in their tracks” So why would Morocco take the responsibility of building a
barrier and standing guard at Spain’s border? Turns out they have real
incentives to do so. Morocco has what’s called advanced status partnership with
Europe, which gives them economic and political advantages in trade and
political affairs. The European Union accounts for more than half of Morocco’s
international trade and the EU also provides Morocco with billions of Euros
in aid for security and development, so the Moroccans in an effort to stay on
good terms with their northern neighbor, take on the job of protecting Spain’s
border. And they take their job very seriously. Migrants had always had their forest camps right here,
right outside the city on this hill. This was their camp for years and this
is the place where they used to regroup and prepare a jump, until just a few
months ago when the Moroccan military set up an outpost up here. Now the migrants can’t return and they have gone to find another refuge, which is on a
hill 12 kilometers from here. Moroccan authorities have started routinely raiding the camps. But they don’t deport them from
Morocco, they have other less resource-intensive ways of keeping these
migrants from coordinating a large enough group for a jump. The police were
here for three hours this morning, they basically came in and stole a bunch of
stuff, they kind of disrupted these tents and messed with these people’s houses.
They harassed the women in violent ways. They basically came here just to flex
their muscles and say you know we’re in charge, make sure you remember that. About once a month the Moroccan authorities round up the migrants and send them to
other parts of Morocco that are far away from Melillah, preventing them from
gathering in a sufficient group to blitz the fence. The Moroccan authorities are not concerned with keeping these migrants out of Morocco, they’re trying
to keep them from getting to Europe. They do in many respects, a lot of Spain’s and
Europe’s dirty work, with respect to blocking people whose interest is to
cross. Another thing you’ll notice is that everyone in these camps is from
sub-Saharan Africa, basically countries below this line. All migrants face extreme difficulties in their journey to Europe, but migrants from places like
Syria have a much easier time just walking up to the border and asking for
asylum the proper way. It’s not an exaggeration to say that hardly any
sub-Saharan African is able to do that. They do have to resort to very
dangerous methods, like scaling the fences or hiding in vehicles or taking
to the sea. Spain did build a new office to handle the influx of migrants,
but not migrants from sub-Saharan Africa. You might say well that’s reasonable right? Everybody knows there’s a war in Syria, so of
course it makes sense to presume that Syrians are fleeing the war and
they’re refugees, they need protection. But the flip side of that, the
presumption that people from countries where there isn’t like a live war, that
you are reading about in the newspapers, the presumption that people from those
countries are not in need of international protection, is a very
dangerous presumption. The world is experiencing a record number of refugees
and displaced people. While some countries have opened their doors to let
these people in, many are responding by building walls, but this won’t stop them
from coming. No matter how dangerous the journey, the people in these camps will
keep trying. That’s the six episode of Borders, I hope
you’ve enjoyed this series. Today we also launched the on-site experience for all
six of the Borders stories, with graphs and charts and visualizations to kind of
go a little bit further into some of these stories. I’m gonna leave a link
here where you can go see that and thank you for being a part of this journey.

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100 Replies to “Europe’s most fortified border is in Africa”

  1. That's it. Vox Borders is done, and I can't believe it. Thank you all so so much for being a part of this journey. I know for a fact your participation and feedback made it better.

    If you're interested in the behind-the-scenes of Vox Borders, don't forget to check it out on our website: http://bit.ly/vox-borders.

    – Johnny

  2. I DOUBT YOU WERE EVEN THERE WHEN THE MOROCCAN POLICE CAME, LET ALONE KNOWING THAT THEY HAVE HARRASSED THE WOMEN. IS THIS A DOCUMENTARY OR A REPORT? SECOND, IF MOROCCAN AUTHORITIES WERE REALLY "SELECTIVE" OR "RACIST" IN THEIR WAYS, THEN YOU HAVE A STATEMENT BY A SUB-SAHARIAN GUY IN THE VIDEO WHO SAID THAT WHEN THEY TAKE THEM FROM THE CAMPS NEAR MELLILLA, THEY DROP THEM IN CASABLANCA OR WHEREVER, NOT OUTSIDE OF THE COUNTRY. YOU SHOULD ALSO NOTICE THAT MOROCCO GRANTS THEM NATIONALITY NOW AND THERE ARE EFFORTS TO INTEGRATE THEM. THIS IS A POLITICAL REPORT NOT A DOCUMENTARY.

  3. Unfortunately mass immigration doesn’t usually work as many countries are not ready to care for the large influx of people. So the best way forward is to make they’re own country or the neighbouring country if at war? And try and honestly get over the border without so much violence.

  4. Yes that is what we want angry 20-30 yo African men coming to Europe! Of course white liberal left winged women want some black D.

  5. Why don't they settle in Morocco? What issues are there in Morocco that make it undesirable or at least insufficient?

    It seems to me that if Morocco worked on improving living conditions there, then maybe those people would simply join that country properly, like jobs and homes, families etc. if Morocco helped provide some of these.

    How do they know what part of Africa someone is from? Skin color?

  6. Mass immigration is just a short term solution for the immigrants, with terrible consequences for Europe. Without development in Africa, this will keep on going forever. Neo colonialism and corruption is the problem, and as soon as those two things are gone, protected borders won't be as necessary.

  7. My Country is near with Australia..and My country is not a rich country…but my people..they dont want cross to Australia….I feel sorry to see them..

  8. Why not electrify the fence? Is this just a game for some groups sick entertainment? — balanced with the reward for escaping third worldism?

    We could have engineered chain saw flying drones, with titanium alloy teeth to hone in on advancing primates.

  9. 1:19 That's false. Europe also shares borders with the continent of Africa on the following islands: Europa Island, Réunion, Mayotte, Glorioso Islands, Juan de Nova Island, Bassas da India, Tromelin Island

  10. Europe is (an u.k)
    England Spain Portugual France Germany Italy Greece Ireland Amsredam Finland Scotland Finland Ireland britian

  11. They should build the wall double the size with barbed wire nets between the walls. If they really wanted to keep them out they would just put acid and poison on the barbed wire.

  12. Need to stop this illegal immigration. It`s ridiculous, why they wanna come to europe? Because we became soft, we support anything and anyone for nothing if they are from outside. Just do like the russians, shoot illegal border jumpers and they won`t be coming back. Me as a european i have to work for everything, then they use my tax money to sort refugees out. If i could chose where my money goes, i`d vote for the wall.

  13. Australia and the U.S should be given back to its people! Europe will be full of people? There won’t be jobs! Crimes rate will go up! Poverty will stretch!… Europe would be like Africa now. My point is they are trying to do exactly the same thing Europeans did a long time ago in a poor helpless way. Do you agree?

  14. What do you want us to do? Let them in and give them things paid with our taxes? To all of them? You know in Spain we have an economic crisis right now don't you?

  15. I'm From Spain and we are just defending our country's borders there is nothing wrong with that, Melilla is not that big we can't just let thousands and thousands of ilegal inmigrants enter every day it would collapse the Economy of Melilla and que quality of life.

  16. We do not need people "What others can do for me?" but people "What can I do for MY country?". From the first type of people we have already too much from our own and we don't need additional welfare immigrants. Africa should face on countries like Rwanda, a world wide respected bright star.

  17. "There's no work for me here"… I can probably name a few hundred jobs you could be doing right now but instead you want to invade someone else's land. Take a look at your country and think: What do we need to make our country worth living in? And your answer should be "better houses, clean water, air conditioning, garbage disposal, better crime enforcement, schools, hospitals, gyms, parks, roads, etc.", but all you can think of is "I need to get over that fence". How about you take a look at whats on the other side of the fence, study what they have that you don't, and try to implement those differences into your own country? Just a bunch of lazy bums pulling the race card looking for a free ticket into a work-free paradise.

  18. Good, keep those disgusting animals out. If they want to live in a country where they feel comfortable, they should do what all the European countries did (with MUCH harsher climates) and elevate themselves. It's a shame Hillary Clinton had Gaddafi killed, he did an incredible job keeping these feral beings inside of Africa.

  19. Stealing is illegal, attacking is illegal,… and can and will be punished, but if they cross the border illegally somehow for some people it is not illegal. Illegal is illegal and should be punished and deported back to their country of origin, and never in their entire life be able to travel to europe anymore. Don't get me wrong refugees of war should always be helped in their own region with some aid of europe, but economic refugees NEVER.

  20. Ofcourse the king of Morocco is going to protect the border if EU pays him to, but what y’all don’t understand is that even in Morocco people can’t live life as they want. Many people are unemployed bc there is no work and the king doesn’t do ish about it. He brings sub saharan africana to the country, but what can they do there? People that graduated university and have their diploma can’t find work let alone those africans. So it’s not that weird that they try to cross the border, even moroccans try to do so every day. It’s time the government in these countries will do their job, because Europe isn’t always the answer!

  21. I wouldnt mind immigrants if they could actually behave normally and try to fit in , and adapt to the country they were given a home from. Sadly they dont seem to be capable of doing that

  22. Why doesn’t this lady take 300 of them home ? I’m sure her daughters would benefit from the company. The hypocrisy of these people are without end.

  23. The border guards do their jobs, but when using nails in sticks and stabbing with broken bottles is another thing.

  24. It's good to be aware of people's problems and bad living conditions, and try to help, but to me this video seems too unbalanced to be called good journalism. The makers of the video don't explain what would happen if Europe opened it's borders to everyone who wanted to seek asylum. I think it's somewhat hypocritical to present fences as a cruel thing and not explain what would follow if they were removed; how the society would be affected politically, economically and culturally.

    In reality, almost all people would want the borders eventually closed. Some just would want that to happen a little later than others, and because of that delay think they are better people. Actually they are just more unrealistic (and perhaps also more emphatic, which is a good thing).

    People who suffer should be helped, but not by bringing them to Europe (with some exceptions) and at the same time emptying their countries of capable people. That doesn't make their home country better at all, and the problem causing people to leave persists. Because new people keep being born, the stream of incoming people would never end.

    To really help these people, the cause of the suffering must be removed. If the cause is a cruel dictator, remove him. If the cause is a famine, help to make the land arable again (which has recently been made with great success in parts of China and Africa, and can to large part be done by local people, when the knowledge is given to them). These things may be very difficult to do, especially political changes, but people who seriously want to help those who suffer (I do) should support such efforts. One problem with such efforts is that the helpers main goal is often to gain something economically or strategically for itself, not to help those who suffer. Those who gain most are often the businesses of the “help giving” country and corrupt leaders of the receiving country.

  25. I would reccomend Applying for amnesty at an embassy. They have embassies in Morroco that give out refugee status to them.

  26. Arabs tell European Jews to go and leave their lands, he gets called a racist terrorist. White European tells refugee to go back, they are called patriots.

  27. Europe being destroyed by liberal globalists.

    So sad to see. The people of Europe are losing their homeland and their culture so rich liberals can feel morally superior to you.

  28. I'm not against immigration or helping refugees, but this is not the way. This is utterly disrespecting our European sovereignty and the borders that we have put, for example this Spanish-Moroccan border at Melilla. If you want to get to Europe, do it in a legal and respecting way. Not by trying to overpower others.
    Furthermore, these people want safety. Morocco is a safe area, so why be there illegally? Why not apply for asylum in a safe country outside of where you are from? You are a refugee, so anything else is a better situation and Morocco is safe.

  29. Why don't they get the message and attempt to enter Europe over and over again. Europe can't handle any more uneducated and unskilled refugees. They should stop this madness and try to improve their corrupt and undeveloped hellholes.

  30. You know why these people flee to.europe its because of the dictators in their land. And the dictators are supported by european countrys

  31. That's it. Just keep filling Western Europe with these grungy foreigners. Yes ! Send them to Germany, or better yet Sweden. What could possibly go wrong ?

  32. this is one of the main reason why we need to boost NASAs budget from 0.5% to 10% due to satellites like the ones that help with crops

  33. As much as I genuinely genuinely feel sorry for these people (am simultaneously grateful that I randomly was born into a decent country), we can't let everyone in, so the only viable solution is to fix the countries where immigrants are coming from.

  34. It's shameful how Africans (or who-ever) are always seeking out somewhere to go to. Then when they get there feel as if they have every right in the world to be there.

  35. Okay, I get fleeing from war, or terrorism, but running away from your country's economic issues will solve nothing. While I'll relent that due to colonialism, some African nation's aren't as advanced as the rest of the world, it's citizens definitely aren't helping their own cause. I live in Ghana (I'm American) and all around me I see people glowing with pride because they're independent, but then talk of wanting to move to Europe or the Americas because they'll 'make more money' or of 'how rich they'll be once they leave'. They hold the rest of the world to this golden standard, then scoff at their leaders for the poor condition of their country (Taxes, in Ghana for what I've seen, are super low. Correct me if I'm wrong) and flee at the first chance. It's disheartening to see the potential for good squandered due to lack of responsibility, both personal and general.

  36. One quick way to STOP this fence jumping……. ELECTRIFY THE FENCE……….. no one will try anymore unless they want to fry

  37. These "refugees" should put the effort into fixing their country instead of trying to bring their countries problems everywhere else.

  38. When Spain, France, England and Netherlands invaded countries without permission, now they don't want those people where they indaved, occupied, exploited and murdered. Ironic, uh?

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