Germany Closes Borders as Refugee Flood Continues
Germany is closing its borders to migrants, apparently overwhelmed by the crush of people who have flooded into the country since it said that migrants and refugees were welcome.
The country is using emergency powers to again close its border with Austria to the south after 12,200 people entered the city of Munich on Saturday alone, according to The New York Times. Germany had previously relaxed its border controls in an effort to help the human flood seeking refuge from conflict and chaos in the Middle East and Africa.
Germany's Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière said that Germany, the richest country in Europe, could not host all of the migrants who are entering Europe, and he also said the refugees cannot just choose where they will live and will have to be settled throughout Europe by European governments.
The European Union is currently in the midst of efforts to rework how it handles dispensing responsibility for migrants. The old system said that whatever country a migrant or refugee lands in must take responsibility for the migrant. This put a disproportionate amount of the responsibility on countries that make up the boundaries of Europe, like Italy and Greece, which are already struggling with economic difficulties.
The flow of people shows no sign of slowing, with 7,000 people crossing through an Austrian border town by 3 p.m. local time Sunday, and a police spokesman saying that it is the busiest day of migration they have seen so far.
The move to restrict the borders come after a seeming shift of heart in Europe, with massive rallies in support of migrants and prominent football clubs displaying signs saying things like "Refugees Welcome." Pope Francis has also asked that all of Europe's Catholic churches and institutions open their arms, facilities, and wallets to help shelter the migrants.