Seeing double? How the EU miscounts migrants arriving at its borders

Postcards from ...

Nando Sigona, University of Birmingham

Frontex, the border agency charged with European external border management, has released data claiming 710,000 migrants entered the EU between January and September this year.

According to the agency, this represents an “unprecedented inflow of people”, offering as a comparison data from last year, when 282,000 entries were recorded in total.

I found out about the data release via Twitter. Alarms bells immediately rang.

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The numbers thrown out by Frontex are not only a noticeable increase on 2014 figures. They are also significantly higher than data published recently by the UN and the International Organization for Migration on the number of people entering the EU irregularly by the sea. These showed 590,000 estimated arrivals.

These figures are immensely important. They have a profound impact on the public debate about the refugee and migration crisis. They are quickly picked up by the…

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