What, then, is the solution? First, Schengen needs to go. The Euro-fanatics have done enough damage in their pursuit of political integration.
The restoration of sovereign borders would mean the authorities of each country no longer had an incentive to wave migrants through, knowing they would become someone else’s responsibility.
Second, we need to follow Australia’s example. Faced with a surge of seaborne migration, it towed ships to an island and processed claims offshore.
Since then, there has not been a single death through drowning and far fewer people attempt the journey.
To emulate Australia, though, we would have to stop interpreting the 1951 Refugee Convention in a way that obliges us to allow every asylum-seeker to remain in the EU while their claim is assessed.
That charter was designed in a very different age. Its authors were understandably haunted by the memory of the Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany in the 1930s who had been turned away from safe countries.
They could not have dreamed of an era of cheap travel, when perhaps two billion people could theoretically claim to be victims of oppression.
To do what the Australians have done, the EU would have to abandon a great many accords, starting with its Charter of Fundamental Rights.
That, though, is unlikely to happen. So if Britain wants to control its borders, it will have to do so unilaterally, by leaving the EU.
Ministers are tying themselves in knots trying to avoid this conclusion.
But all the schemes they propose – tightening benefits, requiring evidence of a job – fail to address the huge, clunking fact that, as long as we are in the EU, we cannot control who settles here or in what numbers.
Eventually, our hand may be forced. With no let-up in the numbers reaching Italy across the Mediterranean, there will come a point when the Rome government, tired of carrying the burden for other EU states, gives identity documents to all those migrants who want to move on and settle in Germany or Britain or Sweden.
The only question is whether this moment comes before or after Britain’s referendum.
If it comes before, no force on Earth will persuade people to remain in.
If it comes after we’ve voted to stay, it will be too late to change our minds."