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"Thank God for Immigrants" shot in "Texas Joe's BBQ" in London during Covid-19 lockdown by FairPlanet

The pandemic has put migration on the backburner

2020 is coming to an end in 13 days. Can you believe it? All of us, no doubt will remember this year as the year that woke us all up. It shook our belief in our global economy's stability to the very core – it reminded us once again that we have lost track of what a globalised economy should provide (the idea that anyone on our planet can thrive in a fair economy), and showed us that our world and its systems operate for the benefits of the few not the many. And amidst it all, it seems that one of the biggest 'issues' of our current time – migration – has been put on the back burner.

However, despite the fact that most of us spent 2020 standing still, in our own homes and in our countries of residence, the flow of people from one country to another in the search of safety, food, shelter and a better life has not ceased.

At FairPlanet, migration has always taken centre-stage when it comes to our coverage – like in our creative collaboration Beyond Borders or many stories from our reporters around the globe. The human nature of movement and the human right of living a life of dignity is what drives our journalism; our cause.

Today, December 18 marks International Migrants Day, and in this week's roundup, we'll be focusing on just that.

Welcome back. Read, Debate: Engage.

The good

migration is the heart of humanity: let's reimagine human mobility

On this International Migrants Day, let us seize the opportunity of the recovery from the pandemic to implement the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, reimagine human mobility, enable migrants to reignite economies at home and abroad and build more inclusive and resilient societies.” Said UN Secretary-General António Guterres in light of this International Day.

It is time we reimagine what 'migration' means; what the stamp 'migrants' brings to an individual's life. As stated, so accurately, by the United Nations, "During the past months, migrants have been at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19. Their work in health, transportation and food services made our lives under lockdown more bearable."

It is during the hardest of times, the world over, that the jobs taken on by migrants have been the very lifeline of our survival. The food that kept being stocked on shelves during the panic of March and early April. The work taken on by first responders, rail workers, delivery drivers, health service staff.

It's time that we change our perception of migration and that we collectively shape a new narrative around migrants. "Migration should be a choice, not a necessity. On #MigrantsDay, let’s reaffirm our commitment to safe and dignified migration for all." — the UN.

Refugee children from the camp Elpida. Still from our series "Beyond Borders", shot in Greece by Noaz Deshe
The bad

covid-19 has inflated stigma around migration

In a world that favours power and profit, those who are living on the margins of our societies, many of which are migrants, have found themselves disproportionately impacted by the many affects of COVID-19 – this has been seen across job losses, evictions and discrimination, as well as a higher proportion of infections and deaths amongst migrant communities. As a result, the UN has reported of millions of migrants who have been left stranded in their countries of migration, oftentimes without income or a home, unable to return home due to COVID-19 mobility restrictions.

It is essential that the current global crisis isn't used as an opportunity to rollback years of work around global and local commitments to promote and protect the rights of migrants in their current countries of residence, regardless of their status. "It cannot become an excuse for the increased use of detention, often in overcrowded conditions, and the forced return of migrants to their countries of origin without due process, in many cases in violation of international law" the UN reports.

We must protect our migrants. We must value and treasure human rights laws. We must not let a global crisis such as this allow us to be blindsided by the progress we've made in the right direction.

Migration on FairPlanet

Provide humanitarian assistance to Central American migrants

by Yair Oded

Kino Border Initiative is a non-profit NGO providing humanitarian support to migrants and promoting just immigration policies in the US and Mexico.

Breach of human rights in UK’s migrant camps

by Federica Tedeschi

‘A man attempted to take his life at Napier Barracks in Folkestone yesterday’, reads a report recently published by AVID, a network of voluntary organisations providing support for people in detention (20 November 2020).

The deportation of children from Trinidad and Tobago

by Ellen Nemitz

The intention of a group of people, among them 16 children, to flee the violence and poverty of Venezuela ended up in a dangerous journey.

Unbearable burden of the question: Where are you from?

by Katarina Panić

"Ever since I can remember myself, I've been asked this question almost every time I say my last name."
refugee mexico usa

U.S. gov’t ‘dumps’ migrants in Mexican border towns

by Yair Oded

Citing coronavirus as an excuse, the U.S. gov't has accelerated its practice of dumping migrants in border towns where they face hunger and gang violence.
Country focus

Mexico is situated at the gate of Central and South America and North America. The country has the second largest economy in Latin America, with oil and produce exports dominating its economy. The country is renowned for its colourful and revitalising culture, food and natural produce. It is also known for its abject poverty alongside incredible wealth, and the violent cartels that control the trafficking of drugs from South American countries into the U.S. and Canada.

In recent years Mexico has seen both a mass migration of its citizens into the US, while at the same time, major cities like Mexico City and Guadalajara have become tech, innovation, and culture hubs, attracting people from all over the world to migrate into the country. 98 per cent of all Mexican migrants reside in the United States, which accounts to more than 12 million (documented and undocumented) migrants. Estimates on the number of Mexican emigrants of indigenous origin in the US range between 50 per cent and 90 per cent of the entire immigrant population.