The Evolution of Moroccan Immigration: a Lesson for All Countries

By Lahcen Elyasmini
MARRAKECH, Morocco, Dec 13 2018 (IPS)

One of the reasons Morocco embraced hosting the Global Compact on Migration is because it is country in which the story of immigration is deeply embedded.

The evolution of the Moroccan immigration phenomenon occurred during the second half of the 20th century. The first waves of migrants began at the end of the 1950s and at the beginning of the ‘60s, heading toward Europe—France, in particular.

During this period, France, like many European countries, was re-constructing itself in the wake of the Second World War, and it also needed a boost to its workforce because of huge human losses during the war—hence the appeal of foreign labourers.

Morocco was particularly well placed to provide, both literally, due to its proximity to the southern shore of Spain—which lies but 15 kilometres from Morocco’s coast at the narrowest point of the Strait of Gibraltar waterway between them—and culturally and historically. Between 1912 – 1956, Morocco was a French and Spanish protectorate, during which French policy meant a Moroccan could travel freely to France without a visa, a far cry from the situation now in Europe, hence there already was a Moroccan footprint established in the country. 

Come the late 1960s and into the 1970s, Moroccans kept immigrating to France, many to work in the agricultural as well as industrial sectors. This wave continued until the 1973 Oil Crisis around the world, after which the weakened French economy could not absorb more immigrants. Furthermore, unemployment had hit much of the French population, leading to increased racism and xenophobia.

As a result, the attention of Moroccan immigrants turned toward other European countries such as Holland, Belgium, Germany and Scandinavian countries. But many of these potential destination countries had by this stage restrictive entry measures, introducing visas since the ‘80s. As a result, more southern-placed European countries such as Spain and Italy became destination countries for migrants, after they arrived but could not continue northward.

During the last twenty years, Morocco has received its own big immigration wave of Africans, who have arrived, dreaming of reaching Europe. But the strong security measures now established by almost all European countries, including Spain, have turned Morocco into a destination country, with many of these migrants choosing to settle in Morocco, the coast of Spain visible but unreachable on the horizon.

This migratory evolution means that Morocco knows all about being a country of origin, of transit and of destination, leaving an indelible print on the nation’s psyche. Hence it increasingly seeks to cooperate with European countries on the matter, having learned through experience and realising—perhaps more than most others—how immigration is a structural phenomenon that can’t be resolved only by security measures. The Global Compact on Migration is what Morocco has been looking for. But how many other countries will follow through with this new vision on how to handle migration?

The post The Evolution of Moroccan Immigration: a Lesson for All Countries appeared first on Inter Press Service.

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Tired of Losing in Court, Trump Administration Amplifies Attack on Science

Tired of Losing in Court, Trump Administration Amplifies Attack on Science

The Trump administration is acutely aware of science’s role in pushing for effective government regulation, so it’s instituted a sneak attack on science.

Participants in the 2017 March for Science in Washington, DC., protested the Trump administration's anti-science attacks.

Participants in the 2017 March for Science in Washington, DC., protested the Trump administration’s anti-science attacks.

Molly Adams/Flickr

Several years ago, researchers studying environmental causes of childhood autism found a link to chlorpyrifos, a pesticide widely used across the U.S. on staple crops like corn, wheat, and citrus.

That study and others that followed led the EPA to ban the use of chlorpyrifos for most indoor applications, but agricultural use continued, poisoning farmworkers and others. Thanks to a series of Earthjustice lawsuits, the EPA finally proposed banning this brain-damaging pesticide in 2015. But as soon as President Trump took office, the chemical industry lobbied successfully to derail the ban. We sued, invoking the wealth of scientific data showing there is no safe level of exposure to chlorpyrifos. And in August, we won a resounding court order requiring regulators to finalize the proposed ban.  

This victory is just one of several wins Earthjustice has racked up against the Trump administration. We also had another recent court win to protect grizzly bears in Yellowstone National Park from being hunted.

The results in these two cases, as in many of our cases, hinged on years of painstaking work by independent scientists. These wins prove facts still matter in court. They also underscore how much we depend on sound science to protect our health and environment. 

Acting EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler

Acting EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler has attempted to exclude consideration of sound science from EPA decisions.
Cliff Owen / AP

The Trump administration and its allies are acutely aware of science’s role in pushing for effective government regulation — which is why they’ve instituted a sneak attack on science. Their effort to disregard or disqualify any scientific finding that threatens corporate bottom lines has been glaringly apparent in the chlorpyrifos fight as the EPA continues to drag its feet. More sweepingly, last year former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt kicked independent scientists off key advisory boards, and acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler has initiated new actions to exclude consideration of sound science altogether.

The administration’s other anti-science attacks include suppressing a report on formaldehyde’s health effects and halting a study on coal’s health risks. Recently, the president ignored findings by the world’s top climate experts, who warned we have less than 20 years to prevent a climate catastrophe. He also denied his own administration’s most recent climate assessment, which details debilitating consequences to our planet and ourselves unless we dramatically cut carbon pollution.

Just as fossil fuel interests have attacked good science to delay climate action, the chemical industry is trying to undermine and eliminate science that keeps us safe. Good science is the foundation on which our legal work stands, as well as the underpinning of our strongest environmental laws. We are taking every opportunity to defend the role of science in the courts. And, in the new Congress, we will be pressing for robust investigations of this administration’s unfounded attacks.

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