African immigrants are increasingly finding themselves in hostile, unwelcome environments across the globe as racist, xenophobic, populist movements thrive, especially in Europe and parts of the Middle East.
That point was made crystal clear in Italy over the weekend when a neo-Nazi pulled a drive-by shooting aimed at a group of six Africans. The shooting, which was apparently done out of hatred in response to the European country’s growing number of immigrants, came days after a Nigerian was accused of killing an Italian, according to the BBC.
Anti-immigrant sentiment has spread throughout Europe for the past few years, mostly because of the migrant crisis that has many times involved Africans using flimsy dinghies to navigate the Mediterranean Sea on their way to Italy, which is closest to North African disembarking points.
Other Africans fleeing rampant violence of their native countries in hopes of finding humanitarian hospitality have landed in nearby Israel to a similarly racist reception as the one in Europe. Not only has Israel reacted by detaining many of the African migrants, a new tax was imposed on them starting this past summer.
According to USA Today, African migrants in Israel (whom Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called “infiltrators”) have just two choices: “Stay in Israel, where they are safe but with limited freedom, or agree to Israel’s relocation program that sends refugees to Rwanda or Uganda to face more persecution and danger.”
The irony that Jews – whose ancestors (read: migrants) fled deadly violence in Europe to found Israel – have refused to accept any migrants, let alone Africans, was not lost on human rights groups.
“The entire world is dealing with millions of refugees. It’s baseless for Israel, a developed country, to claim that it cannot take its part in carrying the burden,” Dror Sadot, of the group Hotline for Refugees and Migrants, told USA Today.
As many Americans can attest, this phenomenon is far from exclusive to Europe and the Middle East. The U.S. has its own fear mongering president who was elected in part because of his staunch racist, xenophobic masked as nationalist pride. His election has been credited for the rise in hate crimes committed against immigrants and he has vowed to build a wall along the U.S., southern border to keep Mexican “rapists” out.
In fact, he was tweeting about the very topic Tuesday in response to finding out that the drunk driver who killed an NFL player over the weekend was a twice deported Mexican national in the country illegally.
To make matters worse, the program put in pace by former President Barack Obama to provide a legal path to citizenship for young immigrants is being threatened by the current presidents and his fellow Republicans, casting uncertainty over the future of hundreds of thousands of Black and brown people in America.