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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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Coping with Migrants at the English Channel Tunnel

One of the many ramifications of undocumented migration from Africa and the Middle East to Europe has been the encampment of people near Calais, France, trying to slip into the UK via the English Channel Tunnel. BBCNews reports that France and the UK have reached an agreement to try to cope with the problem. A centerpiece of the agreement is the pledge of money by both governments to go after the human traffickers that are largely responsible for the migrants having made it there in the first place.
The UK and France have signed an agreement on new measures including a "control and command centre", to help alleviate the migrant crisis in Calais. The centre will be jointly run by British and French police and will "relentlessly pursue" people-smuggling gangs, Home Secretary Theresa May said...She said the new command centre would "relentlessly pursue and disrupt the callous criminal gangs that facilitate and profit from the smuggling of vulnerable people, often with total disregard for their lives".
Other measures include funding more police to better protect the entrance to the tunnel, money to airlift undocumented migrants back to their country of origin (a practice also employed by the U.S.), and measures to help other countries, especially Greece and Italy, who are already dealing with vastly more migrants than they can handle, since the UK-France agreement will likely shift more migrants their way. Indeed, the BBC article notes the scale of the problem:
The situation in Calais is part of a wider migration crisis in Europe - caused largely by people fleeing war and oppression in countries such as Syria, Afghanistan and Eritrea
More than 240,000 migrants have crossed the Mediterranean already this year, arriving on the shores of Greece and Italy. [And this doesn't include the hundreds who have died trying...]
Most European nations--like most nations--are already relatively averse to taking in many legal migrants, so their reaction to the flow of undocumented immigrants has mirrored much of the negative talk that circulates in the U.S. regarding undocumented immigrants.

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