There are migrants that Europe never sees: Africans stranded in the wastelands of southern Algeria, stuck midpoint on the long and treacherous journey in search of a better life. Deep in the Sahara desert, the city of Tamanrasset teems with thousands of migrants who live amid rocks and rubble on the edge of town and wonder. Should they admit defeat and return home, or should they try finding work in the desert where there is no work? They are stranded in limbo. European governments confront hostile voters who fear immigrants.
In Tamanrasset the Algerian police round up the migrants, place them in trucks and dump them in a tent city at Tin Zaouatin, which lies across the border in Mali. It is estimated at any one time about 3,000 migrants are passing through these towns headed north in a desperate attempt to get to Europe. Many head north to Morocco and try a perilous boat trip to the Canary Islands, others seek out Libya which is now booming, while others try to get to Malta and from there to Sicily.
As one migrant told a reporter, “Even if you have a paper the police tell you they don’t read English or French—only Arabic, and at the end you find yourself locked up.” Many are deported home, but immediately pack up and try the trip again. The population of Tamanrasset has now grown to over 100,000. Fortunately for some, Algeria is experiencing an oil boom and there are some jobs. Police complain about crime, drugs, criminals who pester the local population and just dislike of the migrants. Algeria has no intention of offering any form of welcome or settlement to these migrants.
The world is witnessing a massive movement of population. It is estimated about 200,000,000 people are presently living and working in another country. This 21st century migration certainly rivals in importance what has happened over the past 500 years. Isn’t it about time we approached this global problem through a global lens? This is a topic the UN should be addressing and seeking long term solutions.
Information from Jordan Times