Crossing the border to get to the United States has always been dangerous. Things are even riskier in the crossing the sea from Libya to Italy.
Migrants from countries in Africa are trying to escape violence. They are coming to violent ends. Recently, 400 people drowned in the Mediterranean Sea on the way from Libya to Italy. There were 150 survivors.
The number of migrants dying at sea on the way to Italy now stands at almost 1,000 people from the beginning of the year. Just in the last week, more than 8,000 migrants have been rescued from boats.
Thousands of migrants also are fleeing from Syria.
All told, more than 170,000 migrants reached Italy last year.
Smugglers who traffic in human beings are using the anarchy in Libya. They load migrants onto boats to get them into Italy. Sometimes the migrants are forced onto boats at gunpoint. A satellite phone with the Italian Coast Guard number is given to those on the boat to force Italy to rescue them.
The Italian government is trying help save the migrants. It does not have enough resources to handle the problem. The European Union does not have a real policy of dealing with such a large number of migrants.
The Italian rescue operation was named Mare Nostrum. Anti-immigrant groups opposed it. Operation Trident replaced it. This effort does not have enough money or resources.
Violence in the Middle East and some countries in Africa is driving thousands to flee their homelands and seek refuge. Europe, like the U.S., has groups opposed to foreigners coming to their shores.
If migrants make it to Italy, they try to migrate to other European countries, such as Germany. The European Union has rules that make it easy to cross the border from one European country to another.
Experts say more people are taking their chances on the high seas. Things are getting worse.
Source: The Wall Street Journal April 14, 2015