African migrants make Immigration Debate more complicated

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Ethan Rowley

The recent influx of African migrants into Europe has led to a crisis among European nations regarding how to deal with them.

Southern Europe has been slammed with an influx of African refugees, and conflicting opinions have placed migrants in political limbo.

Recent unrest in Africa has caused a large exodus to Europe due to increased conflicts in countries like Senegal, Eritrea, Syria, and Somalia, according to various media sources.

In 2014, Italy alone rescued 170,000 migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea by boat to Europe, a 277 percent increase from 2013. A total of 280,000 illegal border crossings were discovered in 2014 throughout the EU, said Frontex, the EU’s border control agency.

Europe is not the only place flooded with migrants: Israel recently deported a large portion of the 50,000 migrants living there to Rwanda in return for economic benefits, according to the Guardian, a newspaper based in the UK.

The problem is that Europe has nowhere for these immigrants to go. Once they reach European shores, European nations have nowhere to put them. The Wall Street Journal quoted António Guterres, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, saying “Europe is a continent of asylum. But the problem is that the European asylum system is very dysfunctional,”

Many migrants do not even make it to Europe, with many being captured and held in North African countries like Libya, where they may be held for months on end by the local authorities, said Reuters.

“If you are looking to prevent immigration, then you need to look at the push factors, like civil war and food insecurity,” said Mr. Burke, a 9th grade Global Perspectives teacher. “People see other immigrants who have left Africa for Europe and built a better life for themselves, and they want to do the same. It’s all about push-pull factors.”

One of the main reasons Africa has been left so unstable is its European colonial past. When many European nations left the continent and the indigenous peoples to govern themselves, this led to many weak and unstable governments. The results were not always good.

While refugees from Syria receive much more attention in the media and from the European Union, these African migrants are different: they are not escaping civil war but seeking a better life.

While this certainly cannot be said about some African nations, such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan, where there are civil wars, most of these migrants escape poverty and inequality.

Other examples of some of these “push factors” are civil war and unrest, most notably the Islamic insurgencies in Nigeria and Somalia, which are fighting the groups Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab, the later of which has been associated with Al-Qaeda, according to NBC .

Fr. Thomas Meehan, 9th grade theology teacher, believes that the immigrants should be welcomed regardless of the country’s’ space. “After his death, Jesus appeared to Peter and said ‘when the door knocks, leave the door open to all’.”

“That’s the religious aspect. Now the social aspect is, can these countries maintain the people coming in?” said Meehan.