Let’s tackle irregular migration!

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Irregular migration is a topical issue in many developing countries including The Gambia. Lack of limited prospects and job opportunities is the main driver forcing thousands of youth in search of greener pastures in the West. Many died on the journey which takes them through the harsh climates of Sahara and then across the Southern Mediterranean.

Some who made it to their dream lands are left with lifetime trauma and horrendous tales encountered on the deadly journey.

As a government, it is high time The Gambia devise a new mechanism to stem the flow of youth attempting to embark on this deadly journey. Government should open up more viable centres to train youths on gainful skills that would better themselves and the nation at large. This, among other viable projects would encourage youths to stay and contribute to national development.

Parents should also discourage tempting their children or even stop sponsoring them to embark on the trip. Youth can make it here in The Gambia, and contribute positively to the country’s socio-economic development.

We should bear in mind that EU of recent has been struggling to deal with the influx of migrants from Africa and the Middle East.  Southern European countries, especially Italy and Malta, have spent heavily on rescuing people at sea and processing refugees. The job falls to them because of a controversial rule - the so called Dublin regulation- which says that asylum applications should generally be handled by the country of entry.

Though, the number of new arrivals especially has fallen sharply since the peak in 2015/16, but dealing with the consequences of earlier migration is still difficult.

Also, resentment of migrants and of the EU’s part in the problem is, if anything, still growing. It was decisive in propelling the League, a right-wing xenophobic party, to its place in Italy’s government.

Elsewhere, in Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel has come under pressure from the Christian Social Union, a junior coalition partner, to restrict the movements of migrants within the EU. Migration is truly a challenge for Europe.

Let our Gambian youths remember that Rome was not built in a day and so is it the case that Rome was built by none but the Romans.

“Illegal immigration is a genuinely national issue, and resolving it requires a national commitment not just on health care but also border control, law enforcement and other resources.”

Jon Kyl