Brooklyn Journal of International Law


This Note examines the current refugee crisis occurring in the European Union, where over a million refugees have entered the region since the beginning of 2015, and proposes that the EU implement a two-step permanent emergency framework for dealing with mass migration crises. It first looks at the major bodies of international refugee law, including a historical overview of its foundations, the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, and the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees. Next, it will explore the legal mechanisms that are in force throughout the EU, including the EU’s asylum laws and European human rights law, which both guide how Member States should treat refugees generally. Then, this Note will provide an overview of the European refugee crisis by examining its root causes and the circumstances that led to the deluge of people in Europe’s most prominent refugee-producing countries. Additionally, it will discuss Member States disjointed responses to the crisis and the EU’s most recent agreed-upon measure to relocate asylum applicants through a quota system. Finally, this Note will propose that the EU implement a two-step approach in establishing a permanent framework for addressing migration crisis. The first step of this approach should be implemented immediately and would delineate the scope of the emergency framework, including whom the emergency system applies to and the criteria for triggering the emergency mechanism—mainly, the conditions constituting a migration crisis--among other factors. The second part of this approach, which comes into effect if the criteria has been met for establishing a migration crisis, will provide the procedural framework to ensure Member States’ responses to migration crises are uniform and that refugees’ right to seek asylum is protected (i.e., through mandatory and enforceable quotas)