How European Governments Keep Thousands of Refugee Families Separated

Ali al-Mardoud fled the Syrian city of Deir Ezzor with his eldest son in July 2015 because he was afraid that ISIS would hurt his family. His plan was to smuggle across sea and land borders into Europe, seek asylum with German authorities, get refugee protection status, and then request family reunification visas for his wife and three youngest children so they could come to Germany via a safe and legal migration route.

Ali’s plan was not far-fetched. Back then many thousands of people were making similar…