Armed Forces of Malta (AFM) personnel involved in search and rescue operations involving irregular migrants say that while most of the migrants who arrive in Malta usually want to reach Italy, they have noticed a new trend that Somalis are heading for Malta hoping that from here they would be sent to the United States through the US Refugee Settlement Program (USRRP).
This programme has been very helpful for Malta to deal with the challenge of irregular migration. The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) says that it is “aware of Malta's limited capacity to receive and host large numbers of migrants and refugees. Irregular migration is a global phenomenon affecting many countries around the world. The UN refugee agency has advocated for countries like Malta to be helped in dealing with this phenomenon within a spirit of solidarity and responsibility-sharing among EU countries.”
On Wednesday 12 persons from Somalia and Eritrea all of whom are single adult men granted subsidiary protection in Malta left to start a new life in the United States, under the USRRP.
This latest departure brings the total of beneficiaries of international protection who were resettled to the United States from Malta since 2007 to 1,056 migrants. Since the start of the USRRP in 2008, the number of beneficiaries of protection resettled to the United States amounts to 1,028.
245 migrants have been resettled from Malta to the United States of America since the beginning of 2012. More beneficiaries of international protection are expected to leave to the United States in the coming weeks.
In all 1,715 refugees and beneficiaries of international protection have been relocated or resettled to various other developed countries since 2005 – 325 of these since the beginning of the current year.
(Photo of Somalis leaving Malta on their way to a new life in the US).