International News Writer
Europe is facing the most daunting refugee and immigration crisis in recent history. An estimated 11 million people that have seen a nightmare unfold in the Middle East have been displaced from their livelihoods.
Furthermore, as of Nov. 3, the United Nations Refugee Agency reports that the total cumulative number of refugees fleeing Syria had surpassed a staggering 4.2 million.
The majority of those fleeing Syria have gone on to the neighboring countries of Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan, each of which have officially registered refugees totaling approximately 2.1 million, 1.1 million, and 630,000, respectively.
The rest, an estimated 700,000 in 2015 alone, have applied for asylum in the European Union, as reported by the BBC. However, this number does not include those who have not officially applied for asylum, nor does it include those who have not completed any paperwork since arriving in Europe.
Southern Europe, primarily Greece and Italy, has been the first stop for refugees seeking asylum in Europe, with refugees often camping in makeshift villages before registering to move northward. A majority of the refugees had seen footage of their compatriots arriving with warm welcome in Germany, making it the desired location for those wanting a new life.
However, the sheer number of refugees has led to an increasing number of difficulties in the countries involved. Registration centers have been trying to process as many migrants as possible, but are unable to keep up with the constant flow of people.
Even when the migrants are allowed through the first checkpoints into southern Europe, the inability of the next nations to manage the sheer amount of people either passing through or seeking asylum leaves many hurt and stranded in a bleak grey-zone: unable to move forward and unwilling to go back.
According to Al Jazeera those who have traversed the route into Germany and France are often still at risk of racist sentiments that have spawned such organizations as the “Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the Occident,” or PEGIDA, in Germany.
Germany has been bearing the brunt of the wave of asylum-seekers, claiming over 200,000 this year.
However, Hungary has taken six times more refugees in respect to their national population. This has put a tremendous strain on Hungary, causing its leaders to build a wall to keep refugees out.
In late September, Hungary enacted laws permitting their military to shoot refugees with rubber bullets and use tear gas to control the waves of asylum seekers.
Alongside Hungary, Slovenia is the only other European nation to introduce a physical border. Several other countries have installed border checks, among them Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Sweden, and The Netherlands.
In response to the crisis, the European Union has suggested imposing quotas for its member states for the number of refugees they must accept, as reported by USA Today.
This notion has been met with fervent opposition by a handful of member states, claiming that it will only encourage the perilous journey to Europe by those in war-torn countries.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, November 17th print edition.
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