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This Challenge Has No Easy Solution

July 9, 2019
Plain English Version

Syrian refugees arrive after crossing from Turkey to the island of Lesbos, Greece. Photo Credit: AP/Petros Giannakouris, File)

Migrants are people who leave their homelands in search of a better life. Most of them are in search of jobs. Mexicans crossing the border into the U.S. are an example. A new type of migrant is arriving. Most of the Central Americans amassing on the American border say they are fleeing crime.

It is a fine line between the two groups.

Refugees are fleeing wars. Conflicts in Syria and Iraq drove hundreds of thousands of people out. Many headed to Turkey. Poverty and violence in Africa caused thousands to try to reach Europe.

In other words, massive numbers of people are on the move. If you are looking for the worst treatment of people you should look to Libya. The country is war-torn. Dozens of refugees recently died in a camp from a bombing. Factions in that country want to control the Libyan city of Tripoli. War traps refugees in the cross-fire.

Italy supports the Libyan coast guard. Its job is to keep African refugees from escaping to Europe. Last week Eighty refugees set out for Italy. Most drowned when their boat capsized.

Smuggling industries flourish all over the world. People will pay any amount to criminal gangs. They are willing to suffer robbery, assaults, and rape to restart their lives.

The United States faces a massive flow of migrants. They are coming from the ‘Northern Triangle’ (Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador). President Donald Trump thinks that the harsh treatment of the migrants will discourage them. Trump is pressing Mexico to help him slow down or resettle the “caravans” heading north.

The U.S. is a rich country that can afford to treat people in distress in a decent way. Many observers say conditions at the border should offend everyone. Most of the refugees are applying for political asylum. They cite violence as the reason. But the requests are piling up and creating a backlog.

Wealthy nations can do much better in the way they treat people who are arriving on their borders. The underlying problem is violence and poverty in the home countries. Experts call that the “push.” For Africa and the Middle East, there is no quick answer.

In Central America, the U.S. can do a great deal to make life better and safer in those countries. Trump seems to want to punish these countries for creating migrants. That approach is unlikely to stem the flow of people.

So far, there are no political solutions to deal with this global human traffic.

Resource: The New York Times July 5, 2019


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