The deadly shipwrecks of migrant boats in the Mediterranean brought international attention to the plight of migrants in the mid-2010s but the focus soon shifted from humanitarian assistance to capturing smugglers and preventing migrants from reaching the shores of Europe. The step towards a humane migration policy was a short-lived diversion from the project of “Fortress Europe” undertaken since the passing of the Schengen Convention. This project seeks to harden the external borders of Europe and prevent refugees from accessing the asylum system by enlisting neighboring non-European states to prevent migration at the point of departure. Deals such as the EU-Turkey deal of 2016 and the Spanish-Moroccan deals have resulted in migrants being funneled into increasingly dangerous corridors, such as Libya, as the safest and shortest paths are cut off. Although these deals are problematic in their own right, they pale in comparison to the egregious Italy-Libya Memorandum of 2017, which in practice enables Libyan militias to enforce Italy’s migration policy within the Libyan “rescue zone.” The human rights abuses perpetrated by these Libyan mercenaries in makeshift detention centers and on the Mediterranean are well documented, yet the Italian government continues to renew the deal and continue supplying these criminal groups. This literature review examines the issue of European border externalization in the Mediterranean and its impact on the internationally recognized rights of migrants and the stability of African governments. Using a systematic review of existing research, I analyze the key themes and trends that have emerged in the literature on this topic, including the legal and ethical implications of border externalization policies, the impact on African economies and governments, and the human rights implications for migrants. The review concludes that international courts are becoming increasingly ineffective in enforcing the rights of refugees and recommends a reform of the international refugee protection regime to favor autonomous movement.