Why you should care
This year has seen more migrants and refugees than any other in history.
Happy holidays from OZY! We’re pleased to bring you some of this year’s coverage of immigrants around the world.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock in 2015 (if you have, we envy you), it’s the one subject that you must have heard of on the news: migration. From Donald Trump’s promise to build a Mexico-sponsored wall across America’s southern border to Canada’s new prime minister Justin Trudeau’s pledge to welcome Syrian refugees, everyone seems to have an opinion on how to handle the unprecedented flow of people from other countries.
According to the United Nations, this year has seen the largest number of people moving from one country to another in, like … ever. Sadly, the same can be said for refugees. More than a million of them have made their way into Europe in 2015 from war-torn Middle Eastern countries like Syria or human rights hell holes like Eritrea. And the human tide shows no signs of stopping — some 6,000 more keep arriving daily in Greece.
This sudden influx of asylum seekers has been met with equally passionate reactions from the pro-migration and anti-migration camps. On one side, you’ve got people like Guisy Nicolini, the mayor of the tiny island of Lampedusa who is begging the European Union to open its borders and create safe passages to avoid the regular sight of shipwrecks off the island’s coasts. Or Obama, who has promised to resettle 85,000 refugees into the U.S. in the upcoming year. (We actually got to spend some time with asylum seekers celebrating their very first Thanksgiving in American soil.)
But not everyone has been so quick to welcome the newcomers, especially after the tragic Paris attacks. Right-wing politicians like the Czech Tomio Okamura or Marine Le Pen of the National Front in France have long been saying immigrants are a threat to national identity. Now the world wonders, could they be a threat to national security too? Spain certainly fears so. Nudged between Europe and North Africa, the country is afraid of becoming a jihadi corridor to the rest of the continent.
Most of the Syrian refugees continue to live in nearby countries like Turkey, where our reporter Leslie Nguyen-Okwu says the street food has improved drastically since the arrival of the country’s falafel-loving neighbors. Meanwhile, other nations brace for their arrival. As the eastern Balkans start to close borders, Albania could be the last route left to Germany for thousands of people, so one of Europe’s poorest nations is torn between its desire to help and the fear of refugees straining its few resources and fueling a human trafficking bonanza.
Of course, this will all be over as soon as we fulfill our geopolitical resolutions for 2016 and fix the causes behind this human exodus — from drought to ISIS. Anyone got any suggestions?