Immigration is now a major issue on both sides of the Atlantic. But there is no comparison in the seriousness of the situation here and over there.

Here in Europe, people, children, mothers, families, are dying. In the US, there's a lot of talk. The image of the Turkish soldier bearing the body of a dead 3-year old migrant who died at sea has caused massive reaction over here in Europe.

In the US, mainly due to Donald Trump, immigration has become a significant issue in the race for the Republican nomination. In some very disjointed, almost incoherent speeches carried on TV here, “The Donald" has suggested that America is facing an immigration crisis. It isn't.

Yes, significant numbers of illegals are still crossing into the U.S. from Mexico, as they have been for years. A small minority of them are criminals and a handful of those have been responsible for very serious crimes in the US like rape and murder.

But despite the efforts of Trump to give the impression that these few characterize most immigrants and the situation constitutes a crisis, the reality is that the vast majority of immigrants are just poor people in search of a better life. They're economic migrants.

It may be annoying for Americans in the border states as illegals are caught, sent back and then make repeated attempts to return until they are successful. And it clearly carries significant costs which the local economies have to bear.

But it isn't a crisis. People are not dying on a large scale. Unlike in Europe.

If Trump wants to know what a real immigration crisis is, then all he has to do is look at what has been happening in Europe this year when over 300,000 migrants have come in so far and over 2,500 have died in the attempt.

In the past week alone when there were two shocking incidents. The first was the discovery of the bodies of 71 people in the back of a freezer truck abandoned on the side of a motorway in eastern Austria. They had been locked into the container on the truck and suffocated as they were driven from Hungary or further back on the so-called Balkan trail, the overland migrant route to northern Europe.

3 arrested after 71 bodies found in abandoned truck in Austria.

— CNN (@CNN) August 28, 2015
This route starts in Greece, which has a border with Turkey, which has a border with Syria. So it is possible for those fleeing the conflict in Syria to travel overland to Greece, although it is highly dangerous and many prefer to get there by sea, which can be even more dangerous.

However they get there, migrants who have gotten as far as Greece don't want to stay because the country is in economic meltdown. From Greece they cross into Macedonia and then Serbia, which has a border with Hungary. If they can get into Hungary, which has been an EU member since 2004, many then cross into Austria and after that Germany, which is regarded as the land of opportunity.

You will have seen harrowing pictures on TV of long lines of these people walking for hundreds of miles in the heat, sleeping in the open, and massing at borders as they pass through these countries. By the time they get this far many don't have money left, but those that do pay traffickers to get them further on. Which is what the 71 unfortunate people who lost their lives in the truck in Austria last week had done.

The truck had been on the side of the motorway for a day before it was examined, and Austrian police believe that those inside may have been dead for a couple of days before that given the advanced state of decomposition of the bodies. The gruesome find was made as some Balkan leaders and Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel were meeting in Vienna, less than 50 miles away, to discuss the migrant crisis. Understandably, Merkel was visibly shocked and upset when she appeared at a press conference.

The other way migrants are coming into Europe is by sea, directly across the Mediterranean from Libya to either mainland Italy or Greece or their islands. Most of the 2,500 migrants who have died so far this year have been drowned, making this hazardous crossing in the smugglers' overcrowded rickety boats. Within a day of the truck discovery, two boats carrying up to 500 migrants capsized off the Libyan coast and many of those on board were lost.

These were not the only tragic incidents involving migrants trying to get into Europe last week. And that is just one week. This has been going on every week for most of the last two years, and the numbers are increasing all the time.

That is a real immigration crisis, not what is happening on the U.S. border with Mexico, no matter how much Donald Trump wants Americans to get worked up about it.

Hungary's PM to meet European leaders for talks on migrant crisis

— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) September 3, 2015
Like along the U.S. border, a criminal industry has now grown up on both sides of the Mediterranean based on smuggling immigrants. Those involved are vicious thugs who extract everything they can from the migrants and don't care about their safety. Three Bulgarians now under arrest are thought to have been at the center of a Hungarian/Bulgarian trafficking gang running the freezer truck.

Around 3,000 trucks a day use the motorway where the vehicle with the bodies was found, and Austrian police can only do spot checks on a few. And that is just one incident on one motorway in one country in a Europe with a maze of motorways.

Trying to contain the situation that Europe faces, much less find a solution to it, is a daunting task. It is far more complicated than trying to deal with illegal immigration from Mexico into the U.S.

The big difference is that most of those trying to get into Europe are fleeing conflict zones, mainly in Syria and Libya. The US is dealing with economic migrants who can be sent back, perhaps to poverty but not to death. What does Europe do with people who are genuinely fleeing from places where the chances of being killed are high?

The situation in Europe is further complicated by the fact that many of those trying to enter illegally are economic migrants. The bodies washed up on the shores of Libya last week after the latest sinkings included people from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and sub-Saharan Africa. Most of these were economic migrants.

This trend has been evident for some time now. These migrants are coming from countries where life can be poor, tough and violent, but where there isn't a war. You can't blame them for wanting to better their lives, but their presence among genuine asylum seekers who are fleeing in fear of their lives is making it far more difficult for Europe.

The image of crying migrant father Laith Majid has gone viral #RefugeesWelcome

— DJ Rubiconski (@Rubiconski) August 22, 2015
Another problem is that the majority of the migrants arriving in Europe are young men in their twenties from various countries in Africa and Asia rather than desperate families of all ages from the war zones in Syria and Libya. This is clearly visible in the pictures from various rescues in the Med.

Many of these young men have come from countries like Nigeria or Ethiopia or Bangladesh and have the street smarts and the money to pay the traffickers. They are using the chaos in Libya and the cover of genuine asylum seekers to try to get into Europe.

Political correctness prevents much discussion of this here. Instead the reality is studiously ignored.

One Irish paper recently had an emotive account of the journeys endured by migrants who were said to be fleeing terror, including some who said they were from Ethiopia. Yet on the same day in the travel section of the same paper, another writer was discussing the direct flights from Dublin to the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa which began this year, and what a wonderful place Ethiopia is for the adventurous Irish tourist!

Europe faces two essential problems in dealing with the situation. The first is separating genuine asylum seekers from economic migrants. The second is trying to agree on what to do with asylum seekers who are genuinely fleeing terror, mainly in Syria. Even if the economic migrants can be separated and sent back – and that's a big if – there are huge numbers of asylum seekers to be helped.

There are at least five million Syrians displaced by the war there and most of them are in the surrounding countries, mainly in Lebanon and Turkey. Only a fraction so far have tried to get into Europe.

The dilemma faced by Europe is that the more they do to help, the more migrants will come. It is likely, for example, that the rescues by the Irish navy and other EU navies of migrants adrift in packed, flimsy boats in the Med is making the problem there worse rather than better.

So far, EU leaders have been unable to come up with an agreed policy to deal with the crisis. The most generous reaction has come from Germany, which has said it will accept 800,000 migrants this year.

To match this, Ireland would have to be taking in 40,000 migrants this year. What we have agreed to do is take in 600 over two years.

Although they won't say so in public, the Irish government is very wary of the reaction of voters here to any large influx. They seem to feel much like the British who are saying they cannot take in migrants because they already have a very high level of immigration from Eastern Europe.

The British home secretary has said that migrants rescued on the Med should be given food, clothing and medical attention on board and then immediately returned to where they came from. Many people here feel she has a point, if we really want to stop the drownings in the Med. If we don't want to bring them back to ports in Libya, it should be possible to work out a deal with nearby countries in North Africa to take them.

Meanwhile, Hungary has just finished building a razor wire fence along its border with Serbia to try to stop the overland flow of migrants coming in there turning into a flood. The Hungarian prime minister is unapologetic and has been warning that the idea of distributing migrants around the EU countries is madness and will lead to mass migration of millions from North Africa which will change Europe forever.

Added to all this, of course, are fears raised by the fact that the vast majority of migrants coming in are Muslim. It has even been suggested in the media that Islamic State are already using the migrant flow into Europe, although so far there is no concrete evidence of this.

But the fears are real. Slovakia, for example, has insisted that any migrants it takes in must be Christian.

Last week Merkel openly criticized Ireland for not doing enough in terms of accepting migrants. Here, safe on the edge of Europe and far away from the problem, the Irish government is keeping its head down.

This is the biggest crisis Europe has faced since the last war. And there is no solution in sight.

That's a real immigration crisis, not Donald Trump's version of what is going on at the U.S. border with Mexico.