The CBC article headline reads, “Majority of Canadians against accepting more refugees, poll suggests.” It reports that, “the [poll] results come as no surprise to immigration experts and advocates, who point to a negative shift in tone on migration around the world, especially when it comes to refugees. They say that trend is stoked by media coverage in Canada of asylum seekers crossing the country’s border with the U.S.”

Alemayehu Beyene, an Ethiopian who arrived in Canada with his family 2.5 years ago after spending around 20 years in a refugee camp in Sudan told CBC, “Maybe they don’t understand why we came here. [...] Nobody wants to be a refugee. Somebody push[es] you to go into refuge.” So, where do refugees come from? And as a rich and advanced industrial country, why does the government of Canada have a duty and human obligation to welcome and support hundreds of thousands more refugees and migrants?

Today there are over 70.8 million people around the world who have been forcibly displaced from their homes, as reported by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR). People whose homes have become so unliveable due to war, occupation, extreme poverty, and the climate crisis that they have left everything that they have ever known in search of somewhere safe to live.

The Mediterranean Sea continues to be the deadliest crossing for migrants, who climb into small boats that have little chance of meeting the shores of Greece, Italy, or Spain. Between 2014 and 2018, more than 17,900 people were found drowned or went missing in the Mediterranean (International Organization for Migration-IOM).

From Central America, thousands of people also die as they travel through Mexico, with nearly 2,000 people dying at the U.S.-Mexico border in the last five years (IOM). Some of the people dying at the border have already spent months walking, in some cases, over 2,250 kilometres in search of safety in the United States.

With many bodies left unidentifiable and unrecoverable, these numbers are only an estimate of the immense human tragedy that is forced migration.

Since the US/Canada/NATO invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, the world has been engulfed by a new era characterized by ongoing imperialist wars and occupations. The U.S.-led warpath has crossed from North Africa to the Middle East, through Latin America, and into the Caribbean – and with each passing moment threatens another developing country in another corner of the globe. There is of course, an obvious and direct correlation between war and refugees. As one example, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reported that, as of June 2019, 57 percent percent of refugees come from just three countries in North Africa and the Middle East, the epicentre of U.S.-led wars: Syria, Afghanistan, and South Sudan.

For the last 18 years, since the new era of war and occupation began, there has been no end to the war, violence, and economic devastation imposed on people from Afghanistan to Iraq; Syria to Yemen; and Haiti to Libya by imperialist governments like the US, Canada, and the countries of the European Union. These military interventions and sanctions have destroyed infrastructure, housing, hospitals, schools, and completely torn apart the social fabric of many countries. With no end to the war in sight, people have been forced to flee, first their homes, then their countries, and then ultimately the region entirely.

Imperialist governments are also responsible for the economic devastation imposed on colonial and semi-colonial countries around the world. The plunder and exploitation of these countries continues to line the pockets of the ultra-rich while destroying the living conditions and environments of the so-called “third-world”.

Excerpted from: ‘Imperialist Made Crisis of Migrants and Refugees’.