June 6, 2007

Migrants Face Dangerous Waters and a Cold Shoulder

If they survive the voyage, Africans fleeing to Europe on wooden boats do not always get a warm welcome.

Malta took 25 shipwrecked Somalis ashore last week, but only after coming under fire late May when a Maltese fishing boat refused to rescue a another group of migrants, and left the task to Spain.

A Maltese ship has since found 18 other bodies floating in the Mediterranean; while 233 migrants were brought ashore in the last week alone, the Times of Malta reports.

In response to the surge, the European Union is boosting patrols off the coast of Africa to intercept migrant boats.

Hundreds of protestors at an E.U. immigration summit in Greece called for a different solution that includes legalization and ending war and poverty in Africa.

European officials are struggling to agree on immigration policy, from hard-to-enforce guest worker program, visas for skilled workers, or investing in jobs in Africa, The Economist reports.

E.U. citizens have their own thoughts on the subject: a recent poll found that 60 per cent of respondents in Italy, 59 per cent in Britain and 54 per cent in Germany would like to see all illegal immigrants deported.

Sources:

“Rescued migrants brought ashore”
Times of Malta, June 1, 2007

“French ship finds 18 bodies in sea”
Associated Press, June 1, 2007

“Immigrants protest in Greece ahead of EU-Mediterranean meeting”
Associated Press, May 31, 2007

“In search of an immigration policy”
Economist, May 31, 2007

“Italians more likely to expel illegal immigrants”
Angus Reid Global Monitor (Canada), May 31, 2007

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