8.1 & 8.2 Contemporary Migrations

In the two articles and/or the forum  articles assigned this week, what are the different pushes and pulls to migration across the Mediterranean? What are the bridges and barriers to migration?

4 thoughts on “8.1 & 8.2 Contemporary Migrations

  1. Migration across the Mediterranean has been steadily increasing in the 21st century especially as the situation in Syria worsens. There is great push and pull for Middle Easterners and North Africans to brave the migration across the sea to seek a potentially safer future in Europe, and while there are many helpful bridges along the way they are also faced with many hard barriers.
    As for Ghaith from Syria, there is safety and asylum waiting for him in Europe. In the article he is a law student preparing to graduate and once he does so his name will be added to the list of soldiers to bring to war. Fleeing to Lebanon, Turkey, or Northern Europe is the safest route for him to take in order to avoid being drafted and likely being killed (or as he says what would be worse- becoming a killer). It’s difficult for these refugees like Ghaith to leave behind family and spouses but he has the hope of bringing his wife to Sweden with him inevitably. As for Blessing from Nigeria in the second article, the author writes: “Women were sending word back of well-compensated employment as hairdressers, dressmakers, housekeepers, nannies, and maids, but the actual nature of their work in Italy remained hidden, and so parents urged their daughters to take out loans to travel to Europe and lift the family out of poverty”. The main push and pull at work is the promise of a better life.
    There is much aid in refugees seeking asylum like smugglers who help you fake a passport (for an exorbitant amount of money nonetheless), and Facebook groups like Asylum and Immigration Without Smugglers that Ghaith mentions which share information about refugee-friendly hostels, untrustworthy smugglers, and the latest weather and sea conditions. However there are many barriers in place to stop refugees from reaching their destinations. The Dublin Regulation passed by the EU in 1990 requires refugees seeking asylum to be registered and fingerprinted in the first country they arrive in, which makes it difficult for refugees to travel where they want without being caught by authorities. Beyond the legal acts in place to hinder escapees from the Middle East and North Africa, they have to face environmental issues. Faking a passport to fly is difficult as proven by Ghaith’s horrifying encounter with airport security. This means sailing across the sea is the next best option. In both articles with Ghaith and with Blessing they both face problematic weather/sea conditions that make it almost impossible to reach their destinations.
    Once they do reach their destinations they are met with even more barriers from hostile anti-refugee citizens of any country they’re in. Migration in the Mediterranean in 2019 seems shockingly perilous, however there are helpful and kind people that reach them regardless.


  2. The readings this week were really insightful into what refugees have to deal with when trying to migrate to another another. Some of the pushes that would make them want to leave their own country would include war or being drafted into the military, not having job or educational opportunities, starvation or other diseases, and other things that would make them no longer want to live in their own countries. The pulls to make them desire to go to other countries include things like a better life and more opportunities, for both employment and education, no threat of drafting or dying or being thrown into jail for not complying with their government’s policies. When the Syrian refugee wanted to join his brother in Sweden, there were many obstacles, or barriers, in the way of him reaching his destination like the immigration police from every country between Syria and Sweden, not to mention the threat of imprisonment and/or deportation. There was always the constant fear of being ‘ripped off’ and being stranded in a country other than intended. Because of their genders, the girl in the second article had to fear the threat of being raped, harassed, or trafficked to another country than the intended one, but being forced into prostitution was the number one fear once leaving their homeland. The bridges that did help them were some of the countries were the smugglers that helped the refugees to leave their countries and the waiting assistance from the countries willing to help fleeing refugees. Plus, there are forums and websites that assist that immigration of refugees across Europe that extend the length of the Mediterranean.


  3. The pushes and pulls of migration in the Mediterranean include many factors. The “pushes” to migrate are factors that force people to leave their homelands. War, starvation, disease, extreme poverty are among these. In the New Yorker article about Blessing’s journey, it shows why many Nigerians migrate. They are pushed to migrate due to extreme poverty. Many Nigerians follow in the same footsteps of Blessing. Many Nigerians women and girls try to make it to Italy to find work but most of the time end of becoming “sex workers”. Although this practice is unethical it does provide remittance money to these girls’ families and bring an increased level of prosperity back home to Nigeria. Extreme poverty pushed these people to leave their home country, and the chance of work in Italy was a pull factor of migration that brought them to there. A bridge to migration is a factor that encourages migration. Laws that allow for migration are a bridge. A barrier would be a factor that prohibits migrations. An example provided in the reading were the EU attempts to prohibit migration through certain policies. It is also mentioned in the New Yorker article that rescue boats from EU countries transitioned into anti smuggling boats that would arrest those operating the boats.


  4. The first thing to consider when discussing the factors that go into why people need to migrate to other countries is the state of the country of origin. The absolute wreck-of-a state that Syria is absolutely validates why it’s a center for migration outwards. An essentially immovable dictator, who’s militant position is based solely around a platform of taking down rebels, is a big push for people trying to get out of the country who are caught in the middle trying to live regular lives. In Ghaith’s case specifically, his big push was his fear of being soon-drafted into the military after graduating from university (on top of every other reason refugees migrate). Reflecting his reasoning for wanting to migrate, he was the main provider for his mother and wife, the other main reason he held in back while longing to leave.
    The benefits of leaving to migrants were endless. Between descriptions such as ‘hundreds of nightmares a night’ and the commonality of having to duck on the trek to university to avoid sniper shots from afar from rebels, bombs going off near places of heavy residents, etc.; endless. Taking residence, in time, citizenship in a country like Germany would offer job opportunities with proper pay, language and broader education, and offers programs such as family replacement.

    What most migrants describe as being the easiest part of the smuggling/migration process would be the need for (usually) thousands of dollars in order to be illegally transported by one way or another. The initial pay gap, along with the higher than usual chance of dying along the way, and the possibility of being scammed were the initial barriers at the start of the process. The constant state of fleeing in the process(from authorities and just in general) incites physical and emotional breakage that are in every way, shape and form scaring. As told in Ghaith’s story, the locals that helped him along the way played a big factor in both the speed of his migration in the form of the couple driving him miles to a refugee camp and the efficiency in the form of people such as Abu Amar being able to offer advice and help that otherwise would have gone unknown.


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