Migrants

All in the Same Boat

PaperBoats

Paper boats in memory of Mediterranean migrants, Enki Photo / Shutterstock 

SINCE JANUARY, more than 1,750 migrants have died or gone missing in the Mediterranean Sea. That is more than 30 times higher than during the same period last year, according to the International Organization for Migration. The United Nations estimated that, as of the end of May, 90,000 migrants had come across the Mediterranean into Europe so far in 2015.

Last summer, Christian Peacemaker Teams, an international NGO that places unarmed intervention teams in situations of conflict to reduce violence, launched CPT-Mediterranean on the Greek island of Lesbos to support migrants arriving by sea. I served with that team and heard survivors’ stories firsthand. So what is going on?

Eleven million people were displaced by violence last year, according to The New York Times, most driven out of Syria, Iraq, Ukraine, and Afghanistan. However, tens of thousands are also pushed north from sub-Saharan Africa, fleeing desperate poverty and violence. It’s the worst migration crisis since World War II, according to the United Nations.

In the past, most migrants into the European Union came by land. In Greece, they entered along the border with Turkey. In 2012, Greece built a fence along the Turkish border to stop migrants and refugees from coming into the country. This forced migrants to enter Europe along Greece’s border with Bulgaria. In 2014, a fence was erected there too, effectively cutting off a primary land route into the European Union. 

Read the Full Article

​You've reached the end of our free magazine preview. For full digital access to Sojourners articles for as little as $2.95, please subscribe now. Your subscription allows us to pay authors fairly for their terrific work!
Subscribe Now!

Pope Francis: Seek Forgiveness for Shutting Out Refugees

Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi

Three hundred sub-Saharan Africans sit onboard a boat during a rescue operation. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi

Pope Francis on Wednesday said people who shut out refugees should seek forgiveness, after clashes on Italy’s borders as European countries try to push back against a wave of migrants fleeing by boat from Libya.

Addressing crowds in St. Peter’s Square, Francis drew his followers’ attention to the U.N.’s World Refugee Day this Saturday.

Pope Francis Decries ‘Globalization of Indifference’

Photo courtesy RNS.

Pope Francis waves from the pope-mobile during his inauguration Mass at St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican. Photo courtesy RNS.

In his first official trip outside Rome since his election, Pope Francis visited the tiny island of Lampedusa off the coast of Sicily on Monday, hoping to show solidarity to African migrants who risk their lives trying to immigrate to Europe.

Set only 70 miles from Tunisia, the Italian island of Lampedusa is the first port of safety for the thousands of undocumented migrants and asylum seekers who risk their lives every summer trying to reach Europe on small, rickety boats.

Francis said the frequent news reports on the deaths of the people who were trying to make the crossing had been like “a thorn in the heart” for him, and called on society to overcome what he called “the globalization of indifference.”

News: Quick Links

Baby steppin': Economy grew 2.5 percent in the third quarter. Democrats first offer: $3 trillion for debt. Immigration is a faith issue. Harsh rhetoric to derail the GOP? The canon of St. Paul's Cathedral in London resigns over plans to evict Occupy London protesters. Elizabeth Warren and the #OccupyWallStreet election test.

BREAKING NEWS: Report Says Abuse is Part of "Institutional Culture" of U.S. Border Patrol


Sojourners statement regarding "No More Deaths" report on U.S. Border Patrol abuses: "As a Christian organization, Sojourners believe that all people, regardless of national origin, are made in the "image of God" and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. We also believe that immigrants are our neighbors and that all life is a sacred gift from God. No More Deaths' report on abuse of immigrants in short-term custody is a chilling reminder that we have a long way to go to affirm a consistent ethic of life in our nation. The overcrowding, physical and psychological abuse, exposure to unsanitary conditions, and denial of food and water to immigrants held in custody of the U.S. Border Patrol must end. As Christians, we insist that all immigrants should be treated fairly and with respect, no matter what side of the border they live on. There are no excuses for such practices to continue, and we call on the Obama Administration to seek accountability for every documented case of abuse by the Border Patrol. The United States should lead by example in all measures of human rights. These numbers offer a stark contrast between the nation we claim to be, built and made better by immigrants, and the nation we are."

ICE Follies: 'Silent' Raids are Worse Than Useless

There are no whirring helicopters, law enforcement vehicles, or hundreds of federal agents swooping down on businesses as in days of old. Instead, such immigration raids have been replaced by a less overtly brutal approach: "silent" raids, or audits of work eligibility I-9 forms.

But the fear remains.

At the first whisper of an employer receiving notice from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that employees' eligibility records are about to be checked, pulses rise. Legal workers worry about being erroneously bounced out of work; unauthorized employees fear being kicked out of the country and separated from their families. Communities are shaken, business operations are disrupted, and jobs are lost. The anemic economy takes another hit.

Alabama Clergy Sue to Stop Anti-Immigrant Law

When the Alabama legislature passed their infamous, anti-immigrant law (HB 56), the religious community in the state immediately cried foul. Jim Wallis and other national leaders condemned the law as unjust and immoral.

HB 56, which will go into effect September 1, attacks virtually every aspect of immigrants' lives. Among many punitive measures, it authorizes police to detain anyone they suspect is undocumented, mandates criminal penalties for those who transport undocumented migrants, and demands that public schools determine the immigration status of all students.

Pages

Subscribe