This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 13th (it will be out in January 2020), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Friday, December 23, 2011

The Continuing Dangers of Illegal Migration

The desperation of people is exhibited as brightly as possible in the dangers faced by migrating without documentation to a richer country where they hope something better awaits them. The latest tragedy played out off the coast Indonesia as a boat loaded (actually, overloaded) with "asylum seekers" headed to Australia sank. As the Associated Press reports:

Nearly 250 people fleeing economic and political hardship in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and Turkey were trying to reach Australia in search of a better life when they ran into a powerful storm 20 miles (32 kilometers) off Java's southern coast on Saturday.
After being slammed by a 15-foot- (3-meter-) high wave, the fiberglass ship — carrying more than twice its capacity — broke apart, survivors said, disappearing tail first into the dark waters.
Many risk a dangerous journey on rickety boats in hopes of getting to Australia, where they face years in crowded, prison-like detention facilities. Australia's harsh immigration policy has loosened up in recent months, however.
Those on the ship that sank Saturday had passed through Indonesia's capital, Jakarta, days earlier without any legal immigration documents, according to police.
An unidentified group loaded them onto four buses and took them to a port, promising to get them to Australia's tiny Christmas Island.
As is so often the case with people smugglers, the smugglers themselves got out fast at the first sign of danger. Reuters reports that:
The crew and captain of an Indonesian boat packed with illegal immigrants grabbed life vests and swam away as it sank during a heavy storm, leaving more than 200 passengers missing, Australian media reported on Monday.

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