Catholic official says illegal immigration in Europe is due to climate change

According to a Catholic official, the majority of those leaving Africa for Europe are not economic migrants, but climate migrants.

Climate change, according to Tapfuma Murove, Zimbabwe’s country representative for Catholic Relief Services, the United States bishops’ overseas development arm, is the number one driver of African migration.

“There are many reasons for why people make the decision to migrate, whether that is to escape conflict, to seek higher education, or to find a job,” Murove declared. “However, the main driver of migration in Africa right now is climate change.”

“In East Africa, we are seeing prolonged droughts. In Southern Africa, stronger and more frequent storms are causing intense flooding,” Murove said. 

“In West Africa, sea level rise is causing coastal erosion in major cities. All of these things are pushing people to leave their homes and forcing them to move to safer places where the weather is more predictable.”

More than 75,000 people are expected to migrate from Africa to Europe in 2022, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Frontex, the European agency in charge of border control in the EU, has proposed that promises from human traffickers and stories of welfare benefits for all entice African migrants to attempt the perilous journey to Europe.

“Migrants and refugees, encouraged by the stories of those who have successfully made the crossing in the past, attempt the perilous crossing because they are aware of and rely on humanitarian assistance to reach the EU,” Frontex said in a report released in 2017, at the height of Europe’s migrant crisis.

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