Central Baptist Church's affiliation with the Philadelphia New Sanctuary Movement is a renewal of CBC's prophetic engagement in the original Sanctuary Movement, declared in a congregational vote in 1984. This reaffirmation today of our historic commitment is grounded in our congregation's vision of “justice rooted in spirituality” and “making a difference in community.”-Congregational Meeting April 25th, 2010.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Are Migrant Workers from North Africa Threatening the European Union?

As migrant workers from Africa and poor areas of the Middle East throng to leave Libya where they have worked in construction, the oil fields, and the military as paid soldiers, many are seeking to enter Europe where they hope to find security and work. Often their documents have been seized by employers in Libya, they have been robbed by both sides in the current violence, and there is little promise for them "at home."

In addition, many Tunisian refugees fleeing turmoil in their country are hoping to settle in Europe.

Italy is the point of entrance, but many migrants, especially the French speaking, want to continue on to France. The Italian govenment is both trying to limit access to their ports and to argue that this is a European problem, not an Italian problem. France is acting to tighten their borders with Italy.

This is both a humanitarian and a political crisis. How can Europe support protest in Northern Africa and refuse to accept refugees created by the turmoil? How can Europe claim to be a Union and not share the burden of migration? Read on.

The website for the International Organization for Migration (http://www.iom.int/), currently running rescue boats out of Misrata, has constant updates.

The New York Times is staying current as well. On April 13 they published an article -- "Fears about Immigrants Deepen Divisions in Europe" -- recording divisions in the European Union over the flood of immigrants feeling the unrest in North Africa. Read the article.

They followed this with an article on April 15 -- "Libyan Port City Brims with Migrants Desperate to Flee Seige" -- narrating the story of hundreds of migrant workers clustered at the port of Misrata awaiting rescue. Read the article.

An article on April 20 -- "On Journey to New Lives, Young Tunisians Need Only a Final Destination" -- concentrates on Tunisian refugees seeking to settle in France, but being caught in the political struggle over immigration between Italy and France. Read the article.

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