Wednesday, December 06, 2023

Opinion

Rajesh Kumar Singh

October 17, 2023 9:08 AM IST

Global migrant crisis is acquiring alarming proportion

When in recent days thousands of fresh migrants crossed into America with many more continuously reaching Mexican border towns with a hope to enter their dream location, Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis reiterating at the continuing UNGA meet, that his country is at the forefront of the global migration crisis, Pope Francis putting migrant issue on the top of the agenda of his visit to Marsheille on September 22-23, 2023, Italy having received more than 127,000 migrants so far in 2023, which is more than double the number over the same period last year, one can easily fathom the seriousness of the global migration crisis.

Europe has been reeling for years under the effects of this crisis. In 2021, The pope had rightly referred to the Mediterranean as becoming Europe’s largest cemetery since growing numbers of people have continuously been trying to migrate from north Africa and the Middle-East to Europe, and many lose their lives on their perilous journey. In recent days, a tiny island named Lampedusa has emerged as the living symbol of how big the migrant problem has become.

In fact, Humanity has been on the move since time immemorial in search of a better livelihood, safer life, to escape social and political conflicts, persecutions and then economic opportunities. But, for a few years, migration has also been happening in response to civil wars like situations, terrorism, human rights violations, calamitous impacts of climate change, natural disasters and other environmental factors.

In the US, the dramatic increase along the border – notably in San Diego, California, and the Texan cities of El Paso and Eagle Pass – marks a turning point after numbers had plummeted in recent months, and could create fresh political challenges for U.S. President Joe Biden heading into election season.

Experts say the U.S. lacks the capacity to detain and process migrants at the border, often making it impossible for the administration to carry out the harsh penalties it announced in May. As a result, some asylum seekers who cross illegally are being released into the U.S. with a future court date, rather than being deported – becoming success stories repeated back to migrants still en route.

In the meantime, hundreds of migrants who crossed without appointments have been forced to wait between two border walls. In Ciudad Juarez, opposite El Paso, hundreds of migrants squeezed past barbed wire to cross the Rio Grande river into the U.S., forming a line next to the border while awaiting processing by U.S. officials.

More than 3,000 migrants have been dropped off over the last week at a San Diego, California transit center after they crossed the U.S-Mexico border, according to organizations offering them assistance. U.S. Border Patrol agents have been processing migrants from all over the world who were waiting between the two metal border barriers on the southern border, in scenes reminiscent of the large numbers of migrants who gathered there in May.

Meanwhile, Europe is under serious stress owing to this increasing migrant crisis, which is affecting the livelihoods, job and growth prospects, healthcare, sanitation and other things in countries where migrants in huge number reside.

If United Nations reports are to be believed, today more people than ever live in a country other than the one they were born in. The IOM World Migration Report 2020, suggests, as of June 2019 the number of international migrants was estimated to be almost 272 million globally, which is 51 million more than in 2010. Out of the total number, nearly two-thirds are labour migrants. In this way, International migrants comprise around 3.5% of the global population in 2019.

In 2013, a boat carrying the migrants to the island, had caught fire and sank. In the tragic incident, dead bodies of 368 people were recovered. Despite these troubles, Greece has said at the UN, that it is always an open and welcoming country for those fleeing persecution and violence, as well as those economic migrants who, however, seek a new future by accessing legal pathways. (Some imputs from Reuters)

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