Fortress Europe: Dispatches from a Gated Continent

Matthew Carr, Author
Matthew Carr. New Press (Perseus, dist.), $27.95 (304p) ISBN 978-1-59558-685-8
Reviewed on: 05/21/2012
Release date: 09/01/2012
Hardcover - 256 pages - 978-1-84904-253-6
Open Ebook - 305 pages - 978-1-59558-839-5
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In this exposé of European immigration policy and its devastating effects, British journalist Carr (Blood and Faith: The Purging of Muslim Spain) investigates the “contradictory character” of the 1985 Schengen Agreement, which opened borders between 25 European states with the idealistic aim of transforming the European Union into a common “‘area of freedom, security, and justice.’” However, according to Carr, Schengen required countries on the outer edge to seal their borders against unwanted visitors and enforce the E.U.’s immigration restrictions to address concerns about national security. The grimly ironic result for undocumented immigrants, refugees, and victims of human trafficking has been people “drowning in the Mediterranean, shot trying to cross border fences, mutilating themselves in detention centers, or reduced to destitution.” Carr travels to remote borderlands of Poland, Spain, Greece, and Malta; Schengen-bordering countries like Turkey and Morocco that collaborate in enforcement; and the heart of western Europe and Britain to meet immigrants stuck in remote detention centers or “living rough” on city streets for years, as well as temporary workers and sex slaves abused by their handlers and abandoned by governments. But Carr also depicts ordinary Europeans who have gone to great lengths to help these stranded travelers. This disturbing but hopeful book humanizes the face of 21st-century immigration. Agent: George Lucas, Inkwell Management. (Sept.)
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