The Human Face of Migration: Recent West African Migrants in Western Europe
This paper is the second part of my research exploring the recent migration of West Africans in Europe without the benefit of legal work papers. At the ASWAD Conference in October, 2007, I shared the formal and institutional reactions to the subject—reactions from the European Union and its related bodies like Frontex, the individual receiving countries as well as the nascent reactions from sending countries. The current paper stresses the human impact of migration. In Part 1, I provide a general overview of the subject: characteristics of the migrants, including the communities that often send them; the reaction of the general populous in the receiving countries; and the ever-changing routes of migrations. In Part 2, I delve into specific points of analysis, contrasting the current situation in Spain and Italy as case studies. In the former, patterns of West African migration are still emerging. In the latter, one notes an established community of West African immigrants, notably Senegalese. This research is partly based on initial interviews I will carry out in the winter months with recent migrants—both those who achieved their migration goals and those who failed. By comparing the two migration choices, along with research already conducted on the institutional side of the issue, I further the discussion on the immediate impact of migration on the families and on both the sending and receiving nations.
Keywords: Human Factors, Institutional Reactions, Push-Pull Factors, Sending Nations, Receiving Nations, West Africa, Western Europe
Dr. Yvonne Captain
Associate Professor, Dept of Romance, German, Slavic, Languages and Literatures