Refugees Without Borders: Legal Implications of the Refugee Crisis in the Schengen Zone

This Note will first examine current practices utilized by Member States and their strategic partners outside the Zone to manage flows of third-country nationals from the Middle East and North Africa. It will then explore how these practices are not compatible with principles of protection from degrading and inhuman treatment, non-refoulement, and non-discrimination as codified in the Schengen Borders Code, European Convention on Human Rights, and the Refugee Convention, among others. Finally, this Note will propose targeted reforms for the Schengen Zone’s internal and external border management aimed at protecting the human rights of displaced persons and modifying incentive structures to promote harmonized Member State accountability, while still recognizing crucial national security interests.