Happening in the World: News outside of Piedmont


Contributing Writer

Around the world, headlines about the migrant crisis in Europe have been popping up. With the large death count, the issue has become international in coverage, especially after a recent photo emerged showing a drowned four-year-old Syrian boy.

This can be attributed to the large number of refugees going through illegal ways to travel, because expensive smugglers have become their only option. In 2015 alone, almost 3,000 migrants and refugees have perished on this passage, according to the Washington Post. 

The European migrant crisis is not an unprecedented event. But, while this isn’t the only time that there have been this many people fleeing to Europe claiming asylum, there are now far more migrants dying on this journey across the Mediterranean. 

Because the journey to Europe for asylum and escape from conflict has proven so deadly, it has become a major humanitarian crisis. Approximately 62 percent of these migrants are coming from countries of conflict like Syria, Afghanistan and Eritrea, which are all countries with dangerous wars and conflicts, according to the Washington Post. When adding other countries with conflict, at least 70 percent of these migrants are fleeing conflict rather than escaping poverty. Although European countries like Germany, Britain and Hungary may think they are receiving the bulk of the migrants, they are not, according to the Washington Post. The majority of these refugees will end up in neighboring countries such as Lebanon, a country of 4.5 million, who is now hosting 1.5 million Syrians, or in camps run by the United Nations’ High Commissioner for Refugees. 

According to the Washington Post, one reason that Europeans are so skeptical of the large amount of migrants arriving is because of the countries that they are coming from. Assistant Professor of History Ryan Franklin explained how some people see the migrant crisis as a Trojan Horse for terrorist groups like ISIS to infiltrate the West by posing as migrants fleeing into European countries. 

“The most immediate issue facing European leaders is whether or not their systems can handle the influx of huge migration and whether or not these governments can successfully assimilate the migrants into these societies,” Franklin said. 

With all of these migrants coming to Europe at a time when European countries are also facing hardships, it leaves many Europeans both unhappy and worried about the future, according to the Washington Post. One thing that people do not realize is that the small number of migrants from the overall amount that are heading to Europe aren’t doing so to take the easy route. 

Many of them are choosing countries like Britain because they have communities there and the right language skills to help them excel most there. These refugees are choosing their destinations based on who has been most welcoming in the past. 

While the United States has not yet faced the same struggles European countries have with this crisis, the U.S. soon will have some of these refugees heading its way, because the U.S. is believed to be a country that welcomes refugees. 

According to Associate Professor of Political Science Tony Frye, this will most likely not be as big of a political issue in the United States as it has been in Europe– since the numbers of refugees and asylum seekers are so high there– but immigration has certainly become a topical issue here during the past few years. 

 “The biggest unresolved issue remains to end these conflicts and build something like a sustainable peace in the areas from where these refugees fled,” Frye said.