A policy brief by Sanchez and Achilli
Anecdotally, those of us working on the ground in forced migration contexts have noticed the immense consequences of COVID-19 on regular and irregular migration as "the closure of borders and other state-imposed mobility restrictions are effectively and intentionally redirecting migrants into more perilous landscapes where humanitarian support and rescue are often unavailable." We tend to dozens of distress calls a week as people are subjected to police brutality, illegal pushbacks, rejection to asylum cases, and exploitation as a result of limited resources and safe migration pathways.
Suspension of services has sparked mental health crises as people are forced to wait even longer for asylum decisions while being confined to horrific conditions in refugee camps. Closed borders have further limited the already scarce safe migration pathways for those forced to flee their homes and as mentioned by Sanchez and Achilli, those being forced into more dangerous irregular pathways are out of reach of those of us trying to keep them safe. Authoritarianism in the name of population health is rampant with marginalized populations bearing the brunt of the consequences.
"Any solutions to contain the reliance on irregular migration facilitation and to contribute to migrants' safety under COVID-19 or any other future crisis must recognize the systematic decrease of paths for safe, orderly, and regular migration that motivate the demand for smuggling services, and the ways migration and border controls have systemically put migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees and their communities at risk, leaving the structural reasons leading to the emergence of smuggling unattended."
It is vital for all of those involved in migration issues to understand the intricacies of irregular migration and the consequences the pandemic is having on this process.
Read the full article here: https://cadmus.eui.eu/handle/1814/67069