Within the first month of 2017, Greece and Italy received more than 5,000 refugee arrivals.
The majority of migrants come from conflict-ridden African countries
According to UNHCR’s latest estimates for 2016, 21 percent of sea arrivals to Italy came from Nigeria.
Widespread violence and lack of vital supplies, such as food and water, have caused Nigerians to seek a safe haven in a new country.
“My parents immigrated from South Sudan, they left because at the time South Sudan was going through a fifty year war,” sophomore Telly Mounto said.
Italy has become a beacon for migrants. Monthly refugee arrivals have not dipped below 3,000. In October, the peak of the 2016 migrant influx, more than 27,000 people were flooding into Italy, according to UNHCR data.
“I think it’s important for these refugees to find a place to relocate to. I wouldn’t have my parents, aunts or cousins [without immigration],” Mounto said.
Italy and Greece are working with the European Union to move refugees from the Mediterranean to other European countries.
“Europe doesn’t have cooperation and coordination,” Social Studies and French teacher Mrs. Katy Salzman said.
Although entering the United States is a lengthy and arduous process, there were more than 25,000 arrivals in the 2016 Fiscal Year, according to breitbart.com.
In Omaha, there were about 150 family arrivals in 2016. Operation Welcome, a club that focuses on welcoming and settling refugee families, met on Dec. 16 to make blankets and welcome cards for families.
These blankets were made for families that visit Lutheran Family Services, the largest refugee center for all of Nebraska and Council Bluffs, located on 24th street in Omaha. “We took them down to Lutheran Family Services to put them in their food pantry,” Salzman said.
Refugee families that come to LFS can shop in their food pantry and pick up a blanket made specially by Marian girls.
Marian families can get involved in helping refugees outside of Operation Welcome.
The Teen Literacy Center, ran by OPS, provides opportunities to tutor teens that came from refugee camps and are a few years behind in education.
Similarly, the Yates Community Center offers possibilities to help teach English.
Perhaps the best thing a family can do is to sponsor a family.
“Encourage your church or community group to sponsor a family,” Salzman said. This can include setting up an apartment or house for the refugees or mentoring the family.
Future move-in dates organized by the club are subject to change due to an Executive Order signed by President Trump. Citizens from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia and Libya will not be permitted entrance into the United States for 90 days.