Each year, millions of the world’s poor leave their homelands in search of security. Often, these individuals resort to dangerous methods of transportation in order to obtain freedom and safety.
92 bodies were found in the Sahara desert yesterday, believed to be the result of individuals fleeing lives of extreme poverty in Niger. The group mainly consisted of women and children whose deaths are believed to be the result of extreme dehydration.
Officials have reported that the group originally travelled by truck, which broke down during the trip across the desert to nearby Algeria. The migrants decided to walk the rest of the way. Their bodies were found only 6 miles from their destination.
This is the latest in a string of migrant deaths around the world. On October 12, 27 people drowned off the coasts of Sicily and Tunisia in an attempt to reach Europe from Africa. Earlier that week, another boat carrying migrants capsized in the same area, killing 345 people in an effort to reach Malta. The UN Refugee Agency (UNRA) estimates that over 30,000 individuals have tried to enter Europe through Italy this year alone.
In 2011, the Agency estimated that there were at least 12 million stateless individuals worldwide but the number could be significantly higher. Regions upset by violence and political instability tend to lack proper records and developed nations have struggled over the past several years to achieve an accurate count of illegal immigrants.
In the United States alone, there are an estimated 6 million undocumented Mexican workers as well as an increasing number of illegal immigrants from Central America. The Pew Research Center Hispanic Trends Project has determined that the greatest increase of migrants has occurred in southern states like Georgia and North Carolina.
Border states like Texas, Arizona and New Mexico have seen an increase in illegal immigrant deaths in the last couple of years. Nearly 200 bodies were recovered last year in a single Texas county as migrant paths continue to change in order to avoid Border Patrol sites.
Similar to the migrant deaths in Niger, illegal immigrants find themselves lost in the hot, dry fields of the southwestern United States. Death by dehydration has become a common occurrence for those unfamiliar with the area.
Immigration policy reform remains a highly controversial issue in America and abroad. Asylum advocates continue to campaign for inclusive immigration policies, while other groups support tighter border control. The UNRA argues that the despite legal infractions by migrants, their rights and well-being must be safeguarded at all times.
– Jasmine D. Smith