In this contribution I argue that the asylum and migration control policies of the EU are usefully analysed as an expression of liberal thought. I will show how the roots of these policies go all the way back to the creation of the Union in the 50s and illustrate how this heritage affects the prevailing rules in the areas of migration and asylum. I shall also highlight how this order was paradoxically strengthened during the crisis of 2015 and 2016. I will explain why the concept of solidarity in EU law is poorly constructed and map possible solutions. If the EU is serious about its liberal identity it cannot completely deny the rationality and free will of the asylum seeker. The question is if there is a reformist alternative: a complement to the present protectionist system which acknowledges the rationality and free will of the asylum seeker without demanding utopian or revolutionary wonders of the Union in its present form. I test whether humanitarian visas could constitute such a complement, where the asylum seeker and the EU Member State meet in a rational discourse before the asylum seeker has decided to travel to Europe. As the Court of Justice of the EU has practically written off this option, I inquire whether this might tell us something of how the particular form of liberalism that the EU represents can be articulated.