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Illegal migration gets more acute

Update: 28-09-2022 | 16:16:01

Illegal migration, which was already complex, has now become even more acute with a series of tragic incidents occurring in the Middle East and the Americas. Many measures have been implemented, but the wave of migrants has not shown any signs of abating.

Bodies of 53 people have been found after a boat carrying refugees and migrants capsized off the Syrian coast. The Syrian transport ministry cited survivors as saying the boat left from the Lebanon's northern Minyeh region with between 120 and 150 people onboard.

 

At the same time,153 migrants were found crammed together and abandoned in a truck in the southern Mexican municipality of Chiapa de Corzo. The victims were all from poor areas of Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador.

 

These cases have raised alarm bells for those who are intending to find the promised land illegally, because they may have to pay for it with their own lives. Over 50 people died after being trapped in a sweltering tractor-trailer found near Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, the US, in late June 2022. At least 31 migrants bound for Britain died when their boat sank in the English Channel at the end of 2021.

 

In December 2021, 56 people were killed and dozens were injured when a truck packed with migrants flipped over in southern Mexico. Earlier this month, nine migrants drowned and dozens of others were rescued after attempting to cross the Rio Grande from Mexico into the US. According to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), about 6,430 people have died or gone missing while migrating to the US since 2014.

 

Central America and Mexico are countries with hundreds of thousands of illegal migrants, acting as transit points for migrants in many countries around the world seeking the "American dream". The region is witnessing a massive influx of migrants from Central and South America into the US, as demonstrated by the formation of caravans walking hundreds of kilometres from southern Mexico to the northern border, despite extreme weather conditions and lack of food, drink and essential items. Every year, thousands of people die or go missing during illegal migration in Central America.

 

According to a study by the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) and the World Food Programme (WFP), poverty, food insecurity, violence and climate change have pushed an estimated 378,000 people in Central America to make their way to the United States every year for the past five years. Meanwhile, Mexico deported more than 114,000 illegal immigrants in 2021, and detained 115,379 between January 1 and April 13 of this year alone, according to the Immigration Policy Unit of the Ministry of the Interior. The number of migrants detained by US authorities at the border with Mexico from October 1, 2020, to September 30, 2021, reached more than 1.7 million.

 

From 2018 to August 2022, Mexican authorities rescued nearly 77,500 foreign migrants who were victims of human trafficking gangs. According to figures from the Mexican Attorney General's Office (FGR), the number of people rescued was only 533 people in 2018, but skyrocketed to 22,200 people in 2019, 28,804 people in 2021, and nearly 20,000 from the beginning of 2022 until now. The FGR has opened 4,707 investigations related to the trafficking of migrants, resulting in 2,286 people being prosecuted and 2,031 people being arrested. Since the start of fiscal year 2022 (which began October 2021), US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has intercepted more than 1.7 million migrants.

 

In the context that the US-Mexico border area has long been a hotbed of illegal migration, in addition to security patrols, Washington also implemented flexible and long-term measures. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has just announced a new humanitarian aid package worth 200 million USD for Mexico and Central America to help combat the migrant crisis. This financial package aims to support and protect the rights of asylum-seekers and refugees as well as migrants and local persons at risk. As such, US humanitarian aid to Mexico and Central America has amounted to 594 million USD since 2018.

 

No one wants to leave their traditional lands and livelihoods, so it is necessary to tackle the root of illegal migration. It is necessary to end conflict and violence, and create livelihoods and income for the poor.

 

NDO

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