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TOP 10 MIGRATION ISSUES OF 2005
Issue #7: Extreme Measures: What Migrants Are Willing to Do to Get in and What Governments Will Do to Stop Them
An injured African migrant waits in line for breakfast at the Short Stay Immigrant Center (CETI) in the Spanish enclave of Melilla in Morocco.
There's nothing new about migrants taking risks to enter a country where they
believe a better life awaits them. But with some countries narrowing their
legal immigration channels, raising the bar for asylum (see
Issue #9), and increasing security measures at airports and land borders (see
Issue #2) in part to show they are in "control," migrants took unprecedented — and
deadly — risks that captured headlines in 2005.
In the United States, where concerns about security have led to increased
border policing, a record 464 migrants died in the summer of 2005 crossing
the US-Mexico border, more than half (260) in the Arizona desert. The
464 deaths represent a 41 percent increase over the 330 border deaths in 2004.
Officials attributed the increased deaths to more than 30 straight days of
100-degree-plus temperatures in parts of Arizona and to better record-keeping.
On the African continent, hundreds of sub-Saharan Africans who had survived
the journey across the Sahara stormed the razor-wire fences surrounding the
Spanish enclave of Ceuta in Morocco in late September; at least five people
died and several were injured. A similar attempt to enter the Spanish enclave
of Melilla in early October resulted in a reported six deaths. The Moroccan government has said that because of the violent attack, security forces were forced to shoot migrants in self-defense.
Before these events, Spain regularly transported illegal migrants from the
enclaves to the Spanish mainland for interviews with immigration officials.
From there, the migrants could flee into the rest of the EU. Morocco has stepped
up its security and has already implemented a policy of mass deportations.
Amnesty International has accused both Spain and Morocco of violating migrants'
According to the Europe-based nonprofit United for Intercultural Action, over
6,000 migrants died attempting to enter the European Union between 1993
and April 2005 (275 between January and April this year). The majority of them
perished attempting to cross the Mediterranean from North Africa in rickety
boats in hopes of landing on the shores of Italy, Spain, Greece, and, more
recently, new Member State Malta.
The small Italian island of Lampedusa, just southwest of Sicily, has been
overwhelmed with migrants arriving by boat — as many as 10,000 this year
as of October, according to the Italian interior ministry. In an article for
an Italian weekly newspaper, an undercover journalist posing as a Kurdish refugee
says he witnessed a number of human rights violations at the island's
migrant holding center. His allegations have set in motion a government investigation.
The situations in the Spanish enclaves and along southern Europe's coast prompted
EU Justice and Security Commissioner Franco Frattini to propose creating an
EU coast guard to patrol the Mediterranean. The Spanish government has already
expressed its support.
Since 2001, when Australia implemented its tough policy on intercepted boats,
the country has seen a marked decline in the number of such incidents. Australia's
approach includes detaining people on island territories declared to be outside
of the country's migration zone.
Increasing enforcement at the border, though a smart political move in the
United States and Europe, clearly has consequences.
For more information, please see the following articles:
• The Global Struggle with Illegal Migration: No End in Sight
• Troubled Waters: Rescue of Asylum Seekers and Refugees at Sea
• The Changing Mosaic of Mediterranean Migrations
• Belgium's Undocumented Hold Lessons for EU
• Trafficking, Smuggling, and Human Rights
• Evaluating Enhanced US Border Enforcement
• The Mexico Factor in US Immigration Reform
• Undocumented Immigration Haunts Italy's Ruling Coalition
• A New Century: Immigration and the US
• Italy's Southern Exposure
• Morocco: From Emigration Country to Africa's Migration Passage to
• Australia's Continuing Transformation
• Twilight Statuses: A Closer Examination of the Unauthorized Population
Brief –The "Regularization" Option
in Managing Illegal Migration More Effectively: A Comparative Perspective
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