This essay explores the impact of N.D. and N.T. v. Spain on the ECHR system. The case deals with the immediate return of aliens at Melilla's border fence. Based on conceptual analysis, the author submits to critical scrutiny the arguments developed by the ECtHR. The Court's reasoning is framed within the riveting interdisciplinary debate on external border control. The Grand Chamber's final decision reduces the scope of the protection offered by Article 4 Protocol 4, for it introduces a highly indeterminate exception to the prohibition of summary returns at the border. The author suggests that this solution might favor non-entrée strategies and promote the current trend of externalizing the asylum procedures. Introducing broad exceptions to the prohibition of collective expulsion, especially if coupled with strong presumptions in favor of States, increases the effectiveness of border walls qua accountability waivers.
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