Sunday, December 30, 2018

Is the UK Facing a New Migrant Crisis?

Rather than sneaking into the UK perilously hidden underneath lorries, some desperate migrants have taken to boats. 220 or so people have attempted the crossing in small boats since November and the Home Secretary Sajid Javid has described it as  "major incident". While the Bishop of Dover urges compassion, many are demanding that the might of the Royal Navy is deployed to turn back those little boats.
Maurice Wren, head of the Refugee Council, said: “The fact that people are boarding flimsy boats to cross one of the world’s busiest and most dangerous shipping lanes highlights the sense of fear and hopelessness that is gripping so many of the people stuck in northern France. Recent reports suggest that armed police are forcibly clearing and levelling the makeshift camps along the French coast, with the entirely predictable consequence that desperate people are again turning to smugglers who they see as offering their only hope of reaching safety.”
Leonard Doyle, spokesperson for the International Organisation for Migration, said: “People seem to criticise migration because it’s easy to do and it’s easy to stir up passions but, actually, these are really small numbers if you compare them to what other European countries are going through.”
An estimated 5,000 people pack up and leave every day, to flee Venezuela's economic collapse. Venezuela's crisis continues to affect all of South America.
We are talking about people who are leaving not because of a natural disaster, not because of a war," says Claudia Vargas Ribas, a migration expert at the Simón Bolívar University in Caracas.
President Maduro blames "imperialists" - the likes of the US and Europe - for waging "economic war" against Venezuela. But others say it is economic mismanagement.
More than 3 million people have fled Venezuela in recent years and that number is expected to rise to more than 5 million by the end of 2019. The vast majority of Venezuelans travel to other parts of South America. More than a million Venezuelans have chosen neighbouring Colombia as their new home, with half a million more travelling through it on their way further south to Ecuador, Peru and the countries beyond.
"The countries in the region are developing countries, we can't forget that," says Claudia Vargas Ribas. "So receiving this quantity of people has made their internal affairs more complicated."
"If you compare what Latin America has done with what Europe has done with its migrants - Europe which has better conditions and is more economically developed - the example that Latin America is showing is enormous," says sociologist Tomás Páez, who co-ordinates the Global Project of the Venezuelan Diaspora. Nevertheless, Paez cautions that with more and more Venezuelans arriving countries could tighten their immigration rules. "If they put brakes on it, what will grow is irregularity," says Mr Páez, adding that drug-trafficking, prostitution, and illegal industries will grow.
Experts believe what international aid has been promised so far is a drop in the bucket compared to what is needed. Promises on paper are not enough.

 Our nationality is after all an accident of birth.  Let’s welcome newcomers and wish for them what we hope for ourselves, a happy and prosperous new year.

No comments: