Groups of illegal immigrants in Belgium have resorted to hunger strikes because their applications for residency have not been granted. A doctor warned the condition of many was now entering a serious stage. The immigrants come from a wide range of the world including African nations, Brazil, and Iran. Many of them are either waiting to hear about their request for residency or have been rejected and face deportation to possible dangerous situations. On Tuesday, seventy immigrants accepted a deal under which they secured ninety day visas in return for ending the hunger strikes. Their protests have spurred church organizations and human rights groups to urge the Belgium government to grant a blanket immunity and allow them to obtain a visa. Belgium last granted such an amnesty in 2000.
As always in these situations, right wing groups want firm action and accuse the government of being soft on illegal immigrants whom they consider to be criminals. The world is witnessing a vast migration of people and the situation will become even more prevalent as European nations age and lack young people to do the work necessary in modern societies.