Author: Margherita Maurich
Publication date: 23.10.2023
Clandestine immigration, often referred to as illegal immigration or undocumented migration, is a phenomenon that has gripped the world’s attention for decades. In particular, it involves individuals or groups of people crossing national borders without proper authorization. They try to evade immigration controls and settle in a foreign country without legal status. It is essential to delve deeper into the complex realities surrounding clandestine immigration to foster a more informed discussion.
The Driving Forces
Clandestine immigration is primarily driven by a variety of factors, including economic, social, and political motivations. People from impoverished regions may seek better job opportunities and living conditions in more affluent countries. Others flee conflict, persecution, or human rights abuses, hoping to find safety and security elsewhere. In some cases, family reunification drives individuals to take the risky path of clandestine immigration. This action aims to join loved ones who have already settled abroad.
The paths taken by clandestine immigrants are often perilous and unpredictable. Actually, they may involve long journeys by land, sea, or air, with migrants relying on human smugglers or traffickers. The latter charge exorbitant fees for their services. These routes are fraught with dangers, including treacherous terrain, harsh weather conditions, and the constant threat of violence. Tragically, many lose their lives in the pursuit of a better future.
Living in the Shadows
Once clandestine immigrants arrive in their destination country, they often live in the shadows. Without legal status, they are vulnerable to exploitation, discrimination, and abuse. They may work in low-paying jobs, under substandard conditions, and without access to basic labour protections. Lastly, the fear of deportation looms over their heads, making them reluctant to report crimes or seek assistance when needed.
Legal and Ethical Quandaries
The issue of clandestine immigration raises important legal and ethical questions. Some argue that individuals have a fundamental right to seek safety and a better life, irrespective of borders and immigration laws. Others say that countries have the right to control their borders and reinforce an anti-immigration policy. Yet it’s hard to find a balance between these two forces.
The island of Lampedusa is a Sicilian island of about 5,800 inhabitants. Main destination of the African and Middle Eastern migratory landings, it is facing an emergency situation due to the many boats arriving. Migrants arrived in Lampedusa between 11 and 17 September are 11,560. The island found itself managing a situation of overcrowding, having 400 seats provided by the Italian Red Cross.
The current government has declared that it wants to fight the smugglers and immediately summoned the president of the European commission. The situation is highly unstable: the president Meloni emphasises that this is not an exclusively Italian problem but European. At the moment Paris, Vienna and Warsaw are not willing to accept the relocation of migrants within countries.
Clandestine Immigration: factors and results
Clandestine immigration is complex. This is because it is driven by a multitude of factors, and the paths taken by migrants are often fraught with danger. Once in a destination country, clandestine immigrants face numerous challenges, from exploitation to integration difficulties. Therefore, the debate over immigration policies and the treatment of clandestine immigrants is ongoing. In fact, it reflects a broader struggle to balance national sovereignty and human rights.