The Mediterranean Migrant Crisis: Risking Everything for a Chance at a Better Life

People from impoverished and war-torn countries in Africa, the Middle East, and Central and South Asia continue to flee their homes in huge numbers, making perilous journeys to Europe in search of security, opportunity, and a new home. The United Nations estimates that 60,000 migrants have already made the journey across the Mediterranean Sea this year, landing in Southern Europe, while another 1,800 attempted the crossing but did not survive. After making deals with traffickers and traveling overland to Turkey or the near-anarchy of Libya, suffering at the hands of smugglers, and dodging war zones and government checkpoints, these people are crammed onto tiny or antiquated vessels and launched into the Mediterranean. Often, distress calls are sounded soon after they depart, and they then must rely on European rescue vessels to pick them up, gambling that they will be reached before their boats capsize. The European Commission is now proposing EU member nations take in the rising wave of migrants based on a quota scheme, while the European Union has proposed conducting search-and-destroy operations against empty Libyan smuggling boats.
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