This week, we’re continuing our coverage of ongoing migrant and refugee crises – but widening our lens a bit. Last week, we explored how to the language we use to talk about this crisis has become politicized, the way that Germany’s history of guest worker programs informs how it receives immigrants today, and how the war in Syria and its economic devastation are driving millions to leave that country.
This week, we ask how Great Britain’s reactions to the crisis have been driven by unfounded fears. We speak to sociologist Hannah Jones about her findings in a recent study that links these fears to “tough on immigration” campaigns lead by the British government. Hannah Jones is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Warwick, and author of the recent piece, “Public opinion on the refugee crisis is changing fast – and for the better.” [2:10]
We also look into another sending country, Eritrea, a northern African nation where forced military conscription and state repression are causing Eritreans to flee in droves – but not just to Europe and the Middle East. We speak to expert Dan Connell about encountering these migrants in an unlikely place: the southern Mexican town of Tapachula. Dan Connell is a founder of the organization Grassroots International, a Visiting Scholar at Boston University’s African Studies Center. His piece “Eritrean Refugees’ Trek Through the Americas,” was published in this summer’s issue of the Middle East Report. [20:07]
And we bring the attention back to migrants arriving from even closer, revisiting the conditions in El Salvador that continue to cause families to send their children north, toward the United States, to escape escalating violence. We speak to the Guardian’s Jonathan Watts, who recently reported on how a brutal conflict between rival gangs and state security forces is driving El Salvador’s skyrocketing murder rate – and how that’s driving its children from home. [40:10]
Originally aired on WBAI on September 07, 2015. Listen to the full episode here: